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Tips for Using Ice Fishing Jigs


Ice fishing jigs are undoubtedly one of the most important lures in a tackle box, and understanding the correct method of jigging for freshwater fish in lakes throughout the north is critical in catching the big fish. Incorrectly jigging will result in few if any bites, even if fish are present in the area.

One of the most important things to remember about using an ice fishing jig is that success will rely on the action of the lure, the bait used on the jig as well as action of the jig to attract the fish. Bait is an optional choice, but most ice fishermen use some kind of bait, a maggot, larva, pre-scented plastic bait or even a bit of fresh or frozen minnow if live is not available.

The next step is to find the jig action that seems to attract the fish. Ice fishing jigs are designed to mimic the action of a bait fishing moving up and down in the water, at about the level that fish are feeding. Depth finders and a fish locator can be ideal in helping to set the jig at the correct distance off the bottom. The jig should then be bounced about one to two feet off the bottom, with a lag of twenty to thirty seconds between jigs. The motion can be more or less pronounced and it is important to keep varying the ice fishing jig motion until you find the action that starts the fish feeding.

The jig can also be moved from side to side in a method called “thrumming”. To move the jig in a horizontal method rapidly move the end or the rod or the tip of the rod back and forth rapidly. By the end of the line this will result in a one to three inch sideways movement as well as an up and down bobbing motion. Ice fishing jigs that work well in this presentation are the hard bodied or contoured type jigs with a baited hook presentation.

Bobbers can be very effective for depth control of jigs. Once you have had a nibble or have landed a fish at one depth, try jigging one or two feet on either side of the jig to allow for maximum area coverage. Be sure to stay within the allowed number of lines for the body of water that you are fishing, and if you are using tip-ups follow the distance regulations. Most fishing regulations require that anglers must have a clear line of vision with all tip-ups in the water.


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