With ice fishing season upon us, Wired2fish’s Nick Dumke shares his 6 favorite ice fishing lures for walleye and when to use them. Dumke presents them from most to least aggressive, which is how he fishes these lures when he reaches a new body of water. This approach, he explains, maximizes efficiency by allowing you to take advantage of the most aggressive fish first. Dumke’s commentary is combined with the underwater video of each presentation to clearly show what each one looks like and how they work from a walleye’s point of view.
Top 6 Lures for Ice Fishing
Lipless crankbait (the most aggressive)
A crankbait without a lip that steps on makes the most sound and vibration of any lure on the list. Lipless crankbaits come in a variety of sizes and colors and are also offered in non-growing varieties. Its larger profile, along with the flash, sound and vibration, often triggers a larger class of walleyes in many lakes, but is often too aggressive for neutral to negative fish. Walleyes are also prone to conditioning quickly to bait in pressurized lakes.
Gliding or swimming jigs like the Rapala Jigging Rap are perhaps the most versatile and effective rigs on the market thanks to their ability to fish aggressively with a wide sweeping action or subtly with a gentle rise and fall and jumping on the your place Unlike the lipless crankbait, biting this bait is common when dealing with tough bites by downsizing and fishing more gently, especially with a jig head off the sharp belly bud. Slide jigs are available in a variety of colors and sizes and are a must-have for any ice fishing box.
Spoons are simple pieces of metal formed into different shapes to achieve unique profiles and actions. They all emit a bit of flash and vibration that mimics baitfish or some other life form. Rattle spoons add a rattle chamber to make noise, like lipless crankbaits. Sound can be a powerful mechanism for attracting walleyes to your location, which is especially useful when ice fishing when mobility is limited. But like ringing lipless lures, the sound can sometimes be a drawback, leading Dumke to list fluttering spoons.
As the name suggests, flutter spoons are designed to flutter either on the rise, fall or both. Its seductive flapping action produces flash and vibration with great visual appeal to walleyes without making too much sound. These lures are excellent for aggressive and finicky walleyes and can be catered to each by changing the trigger you work the lure with.
These soundless, flutter-free spoons still provide walleyes with a realistic profile that, similar to a do-nothing Ned rig, triggers wayward walleyes when nothing else will. Tip the sharp hook with a fish head to add scent and visual appeal.
Many times an animated fish mounted on a hook and a feather produces anything else. A fixed line, whether it’s a pool on a shot, a dead pole or suspended below a float, gives walleyes the real food supply. Many states allow ice anglers to fish two lines, and a live fish makes an excellent second line when paired with a jigging setup. A more active jigging presentation often brings the walleyes to your locations, while the fish seal the deal.