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I like to group my gear as much as I can, especially when there are some things, like lures, that are great at catching more than one species of fish. By combining lures that are just as effective at catching walleye as they are at catching perch in a tackle box, I can switch tactics on the water and quickly target perch if the walleyes aren’t keen to bite, and vice versa, without wearing them. multiple tool boxes. That being said, the following list contains some of the best walleye ice fishing lures.
But if you’ve been thinking about consolidating your walleye ice fishing tackle box but don’t know where to start, consider these 10 rigs and lures that are also great for catching perch. Some are classics that continue to produce time and time again, and the rest will likely become classics in the years to come.
This timeless lure should be on any ice fishing lure list. While the larger sizes #5, #7 and #9 work great for walleye and other large fish, the smaller #2 and #3 work incredibly well for perch. When the walleye bite gives me a hard time, I size down to the small sizes for the perch, although I recommend modifying it with a larger treble hook than it comes from the factory. A larger hook seems to improve the number of hookups and decrease the number of lost fish. Another good trick is to place a small split ring on the attachment point to make changing hooks easier, create a little more action on a slanted treble and give the fish less leverage to throw the hook.
The key to being a good ice fisherman is not just catching fish, but catching high caliber fish. Although I notice when a school of perch move in and turn it on, it’s often easier said than done to hook the keepers and not the pullbacks. The Slab Rap has a much less aggressive swimming motion than its Jigging Rap cousin. The subtle action of this plastic lure is similar to other lures made from balsa and because the movement is so attractive to fish, you can use it without lures and the smaller fish seem to leave it alone. There are two pint size models available, a 1 ½ inch 1/8 ounce and a 2 inch ¼ ounce, and both work exceptionally well for catching walleye and keeper size perch.
The Rattle Streak is one of my go-to lures for walleye and Great Lakes perch whether I’m fishing open water or hard water. This jig has flatter sides than many other similar lures, and while sizes are available down to ¾ ounce, the smaller ¼ and 3/8 ounce models seem to be much more effective, especially if the depth and the current of the water allow you to see it on your electronics. The custom rattle attracts fish when it moves aggressively, but don’t be afraid to slow down sometimes and just fish it without any movement. Aim the hook with a fish head when the fish are size sensitive, or three full fish if you have trouble attracting fish. Apart from the seductive action caused by the thin and flat sides, it is available in dozens of attractive glosses, UV finishes and plating.
Tungsten has changed the way ice fishermen pan fish. It is denser than lead so you can use small baits when the fish are delicate and have enough weight to quickly return to a school of biting fish. This is one of the reasons I like the Clam XL and XXL. These jigs hang on the line at a 45 degree angle and have much larger hooks than anything else in the same class. This allows you to use larger live baits or plastics and still have enough hook space to get a solid connection. This lure is very popular with panfish and perch anglers, but is a stunner for even the most demanding hard water lucids. It is available in numerous sizes, shapes and finishes to suit almost any setting you find yourself in.
Named because its silhouette resembles a leech, the original leech spoon was released a few years ago and has been so successful that Clam developed the larger “super” series and the smaller “panfish” models. The original is still one of the best walleye ice fishing lures out there. The leech shape, zinc body and triple lead hook create an action that seems to drive new perch and walleyes. When the fish are aggressive, plumed jibes often allow them to be caught without bait and are just as effective as with bait. The leech spoon sinks like a stone and is available in 12 finishes that are either plated or gloss.
The Reef Runner Cicada is a unique lure with a curved design and a willow leaf body. It is available in sizes up to ¾ ounce, but the smaller 1/8 and ¼ ounce versions seem to be consistently the best for hardwater perch and walleye, and the size 1 /16 of an ounce is so small that it only holds one. hook You can tip the lure with everything from worms to moons, but don’t overload it as it can drastically change the action. Like most Reef Runner products, Cicadas are available in a wide range of finishes including Green Glow and Antifreeze, and also come coated with prismatic tape.
This jig is a compact spoon that has an exaggerated kick action when dropped in the water column on a loose line. The move is so hyperbolic that it actually jumps at a 45 degree angle without too much coercion. However, as with so many flutter spoons, the biggest mistake is overloading it with too much bait, which effectively kills the action. A small manger head or a few small worms are still enough to attract perch and walleye and not harm the flutter action. Personally, I’ve had better results with the smaller 1/16 and 1/8 ounce sizes, but when you’re fishing in a current, or fishing especially deep, the 5/16 ounce model produces better. It has the same footprint as the 1/8 ounce but the body is much thicker so you can fish it more aggressively and tip it with a bigger lure.
The Kastmaster is a long time producer of mine that will probably also be included in a list of ice fishing “classics”. It’s been so successful that in recent years Kastmaster has created new models with realistic finishes, and even designed a rattle system if you want to add sound. While these new models have been productive, the classic lures, with their simple paint schemes and duct tape finishes, work best. Sizes from 1/12 to 3/8 ounce have worked best when fished as a spoon, but don’t be afraid to also use it as an attractor by removing the treble hook and adding a chain hook. Then you can use the weight of the spoon for depth, and the movement and flash as an attractor. Shy perch or walleyes can hit the baited chain hook without feeling the weight of the bait long enough for you to set the hook.
The Z Viber is a newcomer that EuroTackle teases as a lipless crank and blade hybrid lure. The large sizes of this lure are very similar to traditional hardwater lipless cranks, but the smaller 1/16 ounce differs from the larger offerings and has gained popularity for its unique design of a hook, making it perfect for baitless fishing. Target it with a small plastic lure like a Maki Spiiki to give your presentation just the slightest bit of action, even when the lure is still, all without compromising the lure’s effectiveness. This can be an important adjustment when fish aren’t attracted to the aggressive action of a lipless crank and less movement seems to attract more strikes.
When you start a roundup of the best walleye lures and perch lures with a classic, it’s only fitting that you end with one as well. If I had a penny for every fish the Swedish grouse has caught through the ice, I wouldn’t have to work. The lure’s design hasn’t changed over time, though it’s now offered in dozens of fancy painted colors and prismatic tape finishes. While the #3 and #4 sizes seem to be the workhorse for both perch and gamefish, don’t be afraid to remove the treble hook and use a dropper chain like you would a Kastmaster.