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Taking the Mystery Out Of Ice Fishing Lure Selection


It is always a bit of a challenge to decide, which is the best ice fishing lure to use in the various lakes. While there is no hard and fast science to lure selection there are some basic factors that anglers can keep in mind when deciding what type of ice fishing lure is likely to attract the most fish. The key in most cases is to have a good selection of the basic lures including spoons, hard bodies, plastic worms and bugs, and bait-type lures to allow you to be able to switch around. Jigs will be a key type of ice fishing lure no matter where you fish, but they may not be a great idea if the bottom is full of a lot of debris and vegetation.

Most seasoned ice fishermen and women will indicate that minnows and live bait is typically the best type of bait to use for the larger species such as pike and bass. If live minnows are too tough to work with in cold temperatures frozen minnows, worms or even bloodworms from bait stores can be very effective as an addition to a lure or as stand alone bait.

Most ice fishing is based on getting the fish in a mood to feed. In the colder, winter weather the fish move to the deeper parts of the lake to stay in the warmer waters. They move slower and have a greatly reduced metabolism which leads to a decrease in the amount that they will actually need to consume. Therefore ice anglers have to be concerned about making their lure look very attractive to the fish, as they will pass on lures and bait that don’t look good. Bright, shiny colors with reflection are often an excellent ice fishing lure quality, regardless if it is a spoon or hard-body. Many anglers prefer the brightly colored or even “glow in the dark” options of plastic worms, jigs and hard bodies lures to attract fish in the darker, clear waters.

Fishing in deep weedbeds and where there is a lot of debris requires a special ice fishing lure as well as a special jigging method. Basically a bright colored jig can be dropped into the center of the weedbed. Since hooks will naturally snag on vegetation try using plastic worms or larva on the hooks, and basically stop any jigging or up and down motion to avoid hanging up in the reeds, weeds and submerged logs and debris. The natural movement of the water will cause the jig, which should be floated at least three to six inches off the bottom, to mimic the movement of a minnow or bait fish in the water. Slowly falling spoons and tails do not work as well as an option for an ice fishing lure in weedy conditions as they may snag on the upper edges of the weeds, much higher in the water than the fish are feeding.


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