When it comes to ice fishing there are many different lures and rigs to choose from. Ice fishing presents opportunities in which a wide variety of lures can be utilized. Depending on the species of fish you after the type of lure you use may vary. Today there are thousands of options when it comes to fishing lures. There are baits from jigs, blade baits, crankbaits, spoons, etc to choose from. A lot of what determines the bait to use depends on what time of year it is. During the cold weather months from late fall to ice up fish become sluggish and unwilling to chase baits due to the colder water temps. Of course, all fish species are different during cold water temps, for example, a trout. Trout are a cold water fish therefor they become more aggressive during the cold water months. Fish like bass and bluegill prefer warmer water temperatures so they will be less likely to hit a fast-moving lure come winter. Some of my favorite lure options for the cold water months consists of the following:
Blade baits offer a quick yet slow-moving presentation to cold water fish depending on how you fish it. With a blade bait, you can catch multipe species of freshwater fish from brown trout to crappies. this diverse bait also allows you the option to fish in deep water. these baits are usually dense and have a fast sink rate to trigger sluggish fish into biting. Blade baits also offer a strong vibration in the water that seems to drive fish crazy especially in cold water. I like to fish this lure on 14LB braid connected to about three foot of 10LB fluorocarbon leader.
Spoons are one of the most utilized baits during the cold water period and continue to catch fish in most cases. Spoons can be highly effective when the water gets cool due to its flash and subtle wiggle. Spoons present an opportunity for cold water fish that is hard to resist. I like to fish a spoon on a medium action rod rigged with 14LB Berkly Nanofill braid connected to a two-way swivel leading to a 10LB leader. This set up allows me to fish the blade bait smoothy while the lighter line keeps my bait deeper and in the strike zone for a longer period of time.
Finesse jigs are potentially the most popular jigs to use during the cold water months. Easy to use and consistent, jigs seem to catch fish in most situations. Jigs can be used from as small as a pencil eraser to as big as a foot depending on what your fishing for. A jig is also an extremely versatile lure and can be used during warm water temps as well for bass, trout etc. When it comes to ice fishing for panfish, jigs must be the most productive lure to use. I like to use 2LB line tied directly to a small tungsten jig tipped with a spike for winter panfish.