Hey fellow angler, if you’re on the hunt for the best ice fishing lures, you’re in the right place!
Walleye, smallmouth bass, perch, crappie, and lake trout. These are just a few of the species swimming around under the ice. To catch them all, no one lure is enough. Moreover, there are both sluggish and aggressive fish in the underwater world. And other times, the water may be murky and your target fish may have trouble seeing your lure. With so many situations to account for and so many types of lures for ice fishing, choosing the right lures to ice fish with is no mean feat.
Lucky for you, I’ve been fishing for 20 years now, and every winter, I spend countless days catching fish on the ice. These are the 15 best ice fishing lures that never fail to put fish in my cooler.
Out of these 15 ice lures, there’s one that can catch any fish. That lure is the Acme Kastmaster. It may take longer than another lure that’s better suited for the job, but it will eventually get any fish to bite.
But if that wasn’t quite what you’re looking for, fret not. You’ve got 14 other fishing lures of every type to choose from.
Let’s jump right into it!
Our Top 15 Picks
- Acme Kastmaster (Best Overall)
- Northland Tackle Buckshot Tackle Spoon (Best Ice Fishing Spoon)
- Clam Leech Flutter Spoon (Best Flutter Spoon)
- VMC Rattle Spoon (Best Vibration)
- Custom Jigs & Spins Slender Spoon (Best Action)
- Lindy Quiver Spoon (Best Flash)
- Northland Tackle Bro Bug (Best Spoon For Deep Waters)
- Clam Dave Genz Drop-Kick (Best For Sonar Units)
- Rapala Jigging Rap (Best Action)
- Bay De Noc Swedish Pimple (Best Flash)
- HT Enterprises Marmooska Jig (Best Jig For Deep Waters)
- Nils Master Hali Sukkula (Best For Perch)
- Salmo Chubby Darter (Best Wobbler)
- Live Target Golden Shiner (Best Vibration)
- Eagle Claw Glow Ice Kit (Best Ice Fishing Kit)
The 15 Best Ice Fishing Lures
In case it wasn’t clear from the summary of our top 15 picks, we sorted the lures by their type. Numbers 1-7 are ice fishing spoons, numbers 8-12 are ice fishing jigs, and the last three are stand-alone lure types. This is why you’ll see repeated picks like “Best Action” and “Best Flash” with each being for spoons and jigs respectively.
Starting the ball rolling is the most versatile lure in the world – the Acme Kastmaster.
Built from solid brass, this lure won’t break, bend, or corrode, even after repeated saltwater applications. As you can probably tell, it gives off lots of flash too. The streamlined body also allows for long casts.
Seasoned anglers would know the Acme Kastmaster will do the trick for any fish in the world. In other words, whatever you’re fishing for, you can use this lure. Whether it’s walleye anglers, perch anglers, or trout anglers, don’t be surprised to see this lure in all their tackle boxes.
And it’s not just for ice fishing. If you want to go surf fishing, the distance casting abilities are a huge plus too.
Best Ice Fishing Spoon
Next up is our best ice fishing spoon – the Northland Tackle Buckshot.
This spoon isn’t as versatile as the Acme Kastmaster, but no spoon can beat it when it comes to ice fishing. The Northland Tackle Buckshot has been around a long time, and likely snagged more fish on the ice than any other bait out there.
The incredibly lifelike minnow head and rattle it gives off are too much for most fishes to resist. We decided the Acme Kastmaster was a better lure overall, but for ice fishing, there’s no better spoon than this.
Best Flutter Spoon
On to our next spoon, the Clam Leech Flutter Spoon is not your typical ice fishing lure.
Flutter spoons are much lighter and don’t sink as fast as normal spoons. When you let your line go slack, flutter spoons, as the name suggests, flutter to the bottom. This gives off lots of flash and vibration.
This is one of my favourite ice fishing lures in clear water. It’s more of a visual lure so there isn’t much shaking and rattling. This isn’t an issue though, because fish sense and see this lure for a long way. I recommend using this on bigger fish because I’ve had better luck than with small fish. In fact, it’s more than likely that you’ll reel in a trophy fish with this lure.
Coming in at number 4, the VMC Rattle Spoon is the complete opposite of the Clam Leech Flutter Spoon. This lure depends heavily on its rattle.
With an unmatched resonance chamber made of brass and multiple beads, few, if any rattle spoons can match this one’s rattle.
You’ll also have a variety of options to choose from, from glowing options to holographic finishes.
Next on the list is the Custom Jigs Spender Spoon.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice that this slender spoon has a unique shape. The thin beveled shape produces plenty of action and flutter on the way down the water column. This ensures fishes won’t miss the Spins Slender Spoon and provokes them to strike.
Furthermore, there’s a wide range of holographic prism and glow accents to attract fish in any scenario.
If you’re looking for the spoon with the best action for ice fishing, this slender spoon is it.
Shiny and lightweight, this ice fishing spoon is deadly to walleyes, crappies, perch, and other gamefish alike.
The lightness of this spoon means it falls slowly, giving fishes much more time to notice it. The plated back further ensures fishes can’t fail to see it by giving off tons of flash. Then, just sit back and wait for your Lindy Quiver Spoon to bring in bites.
Best Spoon For Deep Waters
Designed to sink fast, this is the best ice fishing spoon for deep waters.
This lure’s slender, tapering profile translates to a super fast sink rate in the water column. Once you’ve got it where you want it, just let either the flash or the bulging eyes produce strikes, depending on which one you got.
With this lure, you’ll save a lot more time than waiting for slower lures to reach the bottom. Spend more time fishing, and less time waiting.
Best For Sonar Units
Moving on to ice fishing jigs, first up is the Clam Dave Genz Drop-Kick.
The reason why we chose this as the best lure for sonar units is the large flat surface. As a glance at the picture would tell you, it’s got a bigger surface area than other jigs. This makes it a lot easier to see on solar units.
On top of that, the bright colours and bigger hook gap are features that help bring in more fish too.
Few lures are more well-known among ice anglers than the Rapala Jigging Rap.
Whether it’s crappie, pike, perch, lake trout, or walleye, they all have one thing in common – they love minnows. That’s why the Rapala Jigging Rap is a favourite among ice fishermen.
The lifelike minnow head and body aside, the Jigging Rap, as with all Rapala lures, has irresistible action. This gives it the perfect combination of action and lifelikeness that anglers depend on in the winter months.
With the Jigging Rap’s ability to imitate minnows, it’s a must-have in your tackle box for ice fishing.
P.S. This lure is not to be confused with the Rapala Jigging Shad Rap. The Jigging Shad Rap falls more slowly and isn’t ideal for ice fishing.
This next Bay De Noc lure is all about flash.
Frankly, I can’t put it into words. The best I can do is put a picture of the Swedish Pimple here and let you see for yourself.
The solid brass shines brightly, even underwater. Flash is a proven fish trigger, so you can rest assured the Swedish Pimple will get the job done.
Best Jig For Deep Waters
Another lure meant for deep waters, the HT Enterprises Marmooska Jig is the best jig for deep water.
Crafted with a tungsten body, the HT Enterprises Marmooska Jig is heavy and sinks fast in the water column. The weight also means you can control the presentation really precisely.
For those who want maximum control over their presentation, this is the lure for you.
Best For Perch
The last jig on our list is widely regarded by many to be the best perch bait ever created – the Nils Master Hali Sukkula.
Perch are one of the most aggressive fish in the world. While generally frowned upon by humans, cannibalism is common among perch. The Nils Master Hali Sukkula mimics perch to entice other perch.
A small perch, to an adult perch, is a more filling meal than most of its other food sources. As such, rarely will a jumbo perch pass on a Hali Sukkula.
Lifelike is this lure’s middle name. I bet if I put this lure into a tank next to a perch, they’d start making out.
Jokes aside, the lifelikeness of the Salmo Chubby Darter is plain for all to see. This lure is an ice fishing legend. The distinctive shape imparts a slow swimming action to lure fish to strike. It’s become a staple among ice anglers across the Ice Belt because of its effectiveness on walleye, perch, bass, crappie, and pike.
A member of the lipless lures family, when it comes to vibration, the Live Target Golden Shiner is second to none.
I can’t tell what’s inside this lure, but it’s loud – very loud. I could hear its rattles from above the surface. Needless to say, you’ll have the attention of all the nearby fish. From there on, let the realistic design do its work.
Best Ice Fishing Kit
Last but not least, the Eagle Claw Glow Ice Kit is the best ice fishing kit on the market.
This ice fishing kit comes with 16 glow ice jigs, a line clipper, and a charger for the glowing ice jigs. While it doesn’t provide you with everything you need for ice fishing, it does provide a ton of value for the price. If you’re looking for an ice fishing kit, you could do a lot worse than the Eagle Claw Glow Ice Kit.
Tips And Tricks For Catching More Fish In The Ice
Now that you know which lures to use, here are some tips and tricks to land more fish on the ice.
Switch Up The Direction
If you’re an ice angler and you’re fishing with a jig, chances are, your first instinct is to jig it vertically. But why not try a horizontal jig?
After so many years of ice fishing, I’ve found that perch and crappie prefer a horizontal jigging motion.
Even if you’re not fishing for either of those fishes, if the fish just aren’t biting on vertical jigs, switching to horizontal jigs is worth a shot.
Use Different Sizes
When action slows, you may also want to use lures of a different size.
Smaller lures usually have more life-like action while larger lures tend to be more appealing if the fish are larger.
You can either try smaller or larger lures. After a while on the ice, my size 10 lures tend to stop being so effective. That’s when I’ll switch to my size 6 lures. Then, I’ll give the size 6 lures a while before finishing with my smaller size 12 lures.
Give Artificial Baits A Shot
Since you’re here, I assume you’re looking to make lures part of your ice fishing tackle box. But if you think artificial baits are just a backup option for when you run out of live bait, think again.
It might not seem like it, but panfish will eventually tire of live bait. That’s when you’ll want to whip out those artificial baits.
This isn’t something that ice fishermen often do, which is why fishes under the ice won’t be expecting it.
Take a few worms, minnows, or any kind of baitfish and mash them up. Then, try replacing what’s on your hook with this. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you feel a tug on your line.
Let The Rod Rest
Even with a jigging rod, sometimes, you can catch fish even quicker by setting your rod down. This allows your bait to be totally still.
Also, put your rod down even if you think you can hold it motionless in your hand. After all, you can’t be stiller than the ground.
Change To Superline
The more line you release, the harder it is to detect bites. Once you reach 20 feet, detecting light-biting fish becomes extremely tough, even with a really sensitive rod tip. This means you may not be able to set the hook in time if a panfish takes the bait.
To combat this, even the thinnest monofilament line won’t cut it. Instead, you’ll need superline. Superline doesn’t stretch and no other fishing line transmits information like it does.
At this point, we’ve covered all the lures you’ll need to catch fish on the ice and even given you some tips and tricks to go home with more fishes. So by now, you should be fully equipped to brave the freezing temperatures.
If you’re having trouble making up your mind, I suggest getting the Acme Kastmaster. With its versatility, you can go after any fish, so you really can’t go wrong with it.
Oh yes, and you can’t go ice fishing with just the lures, you’ll need other tackle too, like a rod and reel. Here are the best ice fishing reels (we haven’t gotten to the rods yet).