The five best ice fishing lures

Making a list of the five best ice fishing lures wasn’t easy. It wasn’t that difficult either. Some lures like the Jigging Rap are almost included automatically. Others were more difficult to decide on. Do you list an old classic that has been steadily catching fish for years or a new innovative lure that has already proven itself? At least I can count on avid ice anglers to weigh in if they think I made any major mistakes.

It won’t be long before waters across the northern United States start freezing over. Well, those of us who like ice fishing hope so anyway. The ice was rather disappointing last year in much of the country even though the immediately proceeding years had some of the coldest and longest winters in recent memory.

Whenever and wherever the ice comes, you can be sure that lots of savvy anglers will be using the following lures to catch fish all season long. It’s almost impossible to go wrong with any of the entries on this list of best ice fishing lures.

Note: The Angler’s Notebook may receive compensation for purchases made at participating retailers linked on this site. This compensation does not affect what products are mentioned here.

Jigging Rap

Jigging Rap

It doesn’t look like much but the Rapala Jigging Rap catches fish. Every serious ice anglers knows this lure, and for good reason. When you jig your rod tip up and down, it shoots from side to side and covers a wide area under the ice. Everything from crappies to perch to lake trout will hit this lure. You don’t even need to tip the hooks with anything.

Like all Rapala lures, the Jigging Rap comes in a variety of colors. The best shades for most situations are black, silver, gold and hot pink.

Slender Spoon

slender spoon

The Slender Spoon by Custom Jigs is much newer than the Jigging Rap, but it’s already making waves. This light and thin spoon flutters like no other when jigged under the ice. It has an uncanny ability to bring in fish from a distance, even when it is sitting stationary!

Available in many colors, the various gold tones seem to do best in most conditions. The Slender Spoon works especially well when tipped with a maggot or two. The hooks at the bottom of the lure are sharp, small, and able to catch anything from puny panfish to lunker lake trout.

Tumbler Spoon

Tumbler Spoon

The Tumbler Spoon, which is certainly not to be confused with Tumblr, is another killer ice fishing spoon. Rapala owns VMC so you know you’re getting a quality lure.

The Tumbler Spoon is thicker and heavier than the Slender Spoon so it works better in deeper water, especially when there is a current. You can jig the Slender Spoon hard to work it gently depending on the conditions.

I like the Tumbler Spoon most for nothern pike and pickerel, but it also works well for perch and even bass. Blue and silver is a hot color on this spoon and the similar but more active Tingler Spoon.

Ultralight Rippin’ Rap

Ultralight Rippin Rap for ice fishing

It is no coincidence that three Rapala related lures appear on this list. Ever since the original floating Rapala came on the scene, the company has been producing one effective lure after another.

The Ultralight Rippin’ Rap is deadly under the ice for crappies and walleyes. It will also catch bass on occasion. It has a crankbait like action that is hard to find in any ice fishing lure. It also has some rattles inside to call fish in from far away.

Pink Tiger is one of the better colors this lure comes in. It works well in a lot of conditions and catches both crappie and walleye. The UV finish probably has something to do with that. Rippin’ Raps in old standby colors like Fire Tiger work well too.

Ice jigs

Ice fishing jigs

Ice jigs have long been the go to lure for ice fishermen. They come in countless colors, shapes and sizes. You can fish them with a slight twitch, work them like a madman, or “dead stick” and hold the motionless in the water. Every approach catches fish in the right circumstance.

Some like the Marmooska have became very well known among ice fisherman. Truth be told, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to get a nice supply of very effective ice fishing jigs. Sure Clam Epoxy Drop Jigs work wonders, but some of the generics work very well too!

This 25-pack of tungsten jigs is excellent and doesn’t cost nearly as much as the purchase of 25 individually wrapped name brand ice jigs would. Tipped with maggots these jigs catch fish like any other.

Great colors for ice fishing jigs include gold, silver and chartreuse. Black, pink and fire tiger patterns also work wonders for everything from rainbow trout to pumpkinseed.

What do you think of this list? Do you use these lures? What are your favorite ice fishing lures?

Leave a Reply