Best Ice Fishing Baits (That Actually Work)

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The winter season is approaching, and ice fishing is a great hobby to try. It’s a fun and inexpensive way to enjoy a day on the ice, and you never know what you’ll find.

Making an ice fishing bait is a lot of work to have, and it can be tough to find the best one.

Your ice fishing experience is only as good as your bait, and you want to make sure that you’re using the best ice fishing bait. This article will go over some of the best ice fishing lures and ice fishing tips for you.

ice fishing bait
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Best Ice Fishing Lures You Should Have 

Ice fishing lures are must-have items in your tackle boxes, especially during ice fishing season when the weather is cold.

These ice fishing baits will help you catch more fish on your next adventure. 

Rapala Jigging Rap

Rapala jigging rap is a gliding bait that can cover more water with its erratic and gliding motion. Its gliding action can cover up to three feet in all directions from where the Rapala is dropped vertically.

How does Rapala work?

When you lift it, the bait moves in a zigzag motion, attracting the fish. 

This ice-fishing lure has various shapes, sizes, and even colors that you can choose from, depending on the fish you plan to catch. Smaller sizes are great for panfish, while the larger ones are perfect for larger creatures such as pike, lake trout, and walleye. 

Different creatures also prefer different colors, so it would be nice to experiment and try various colors to know which ones are more suitable for different schools of fish. This also makes a great gift for people who love ice fishing.

Bay de Noc Lure Co. Swedish Pimples 

Bay de Noc Lure is a type of jigging spoon that has been proven to attract a lot of creatures underwater. Jigging spoons like this one resemble flutter spoons but without the flashing and wobbling.

This bait goes into darting action when thrown in the water, driving the fish to become wild and attack, eliciting a bite. 

If you constantly shake and move this artificial bait, this drives the fish to attack and commit a strike. For a more successful catch, you can put dead minnows at the tip of your spoon to attract fish more. 


Jigs are also great baits, and you certainly have to always have them in your tackle boxes. You can use jigs for both still mainline and ice fishing rods.

To be more efficient in catching fish, you can try many jigs and even hook different lures to it, such as minnows, wax worms, or soft plastic bait. 

Hair jig is a famous ice fishing jig because of its versatility to catch fish. It presents so many colors and shapes that you can choose from, and it is the perfect lure to use during a natural presentation.

You can snap, shake, or dead stick a hair jig, and it can still work on most fish. 


For many years, the Berkeley Alive Bait has been an artificial plastic bait staple in an angler’s tackle box for ice fishing.

The best part of artificial lures like this one is that they can imitate a lively minnow and come in different colors and styles. If you use this on the back of a typical jig, you are sure to have so many fish catches in any presentation. 

Another good plastic lure is the grub as it is the best bait for panfish. This one lure has different colors that you can use in different scenarios.

For instance, you can go for the brighter or darker color combinations if your fishing spot is murky and dirty water. For clearer water, you can go for the more naturally colored ones. 

If you are after a lake trout, you should have a tube jig. A tube jig is a perfect bait to imitate baitfish or crawfish because it’s available in most tackle shops. It also has different shapes and colors, and you can use tube jigs for the entire year.

Aside from trout, tube jigs are also successful in catching largemouth bass, pikes, and walleye.

Live Baits 

When you cannot decide on the artificial baits out there, it is always nice to go back to the basics — using live bait. Different live baits have proven to be effective ice fishing lures. 

Using ice fishing live bait as a lure is the best decision, especially when the fish feel pressured. With live lures, you are sure that the fish will never miss them for a meal.

The best live baits are live minnows, wax worms, nightcrawlers, mealworms, and spikes. Most ice anglers prefer using live bait because it entices other fish. 

Craziest Ice Fishing Lures Out There 

Aside from the usual lures you should know of, there are other crazy lures you can use on your next ice fishing trip.

The idea of using weird lures may sound strange, but they have also been tried and tested by most anglers and are proven to be effective in catching many fish. 

Dog Food 

If your pet dog hates his food, don’t worry. You can always use the leftovers to catch some fish. Dog food has also proven great success in the angling industry, as ice anglers use it as bait.

For a more successful catch, you can wrap the dog food in cheesecloth or mix it with cornstarch, water, and flour to create a more doughy consistency. 


Many fish species are addicted to sweets. Marshmallows and gummy worms are successful soft baits in catching trouts, bluegill, and other sunfish species because they resemble salmon eggs.

Sour worms are also popular because of their bright and enticing colors and also because this type of candy can mimic the real nightcrawlers and minnows. 


Ice anglers also suggest that hotdogs are effective lures for different fish species such as bluegills and catfish because they resemble surface plug lures. For catfish, chicken and turkey hotdogs are more effective compared to the beef counterpart. 


Throwing kernels of corn in a spawning area and creating a carp attack are good ways to reel in many trout, carp, yellow perch, and bluegills. Corn baits are effective to a rainbow trout who grew in hatcheries.


If you love bacon for breakfast, then you will also love it as bait. Many anglers agree that raw bacon is good stuff with fishing.

Because of the smelly odor of rawness, it attracts bigger fish to bite. Bacon fat is also attractive to bluegills, catfish, and crappies because of the oil in it. 

Peanut Butter Sandwich 

If you love peanut butter, you will fall even more in love with it as it can also serve as a lure to catch different types of fish. Peanut butter on stale bread is perfect for catching codfish, carp, bluegills, catfish, and other species.

Choose the Best Ice Fishing Bait for You

Winter fishing can be hard because you’ll feel extra cold and need extra outerwear to be more comfortable.

You need to have the best ice fishing baits for faster fish catching to make it easier for you to fish in cold water. The best ones will always depend on your preferences and fishing spot, so you must be familiar with your techniques and fishing habits. 

Consider the fishing lures we have mentioned and ensure that they become essential parts of your ice fishing tackle boxes. Enjoy fishing in the winter with the best baits and ice fishing gear for you!

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
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