While there are numerous ways to catch pike through the ice, one of the most exciting is jigging. Jigging with lures is something almost anyone can do. This method doesn’t require advanced equipment, expensive live bait, or sitting around watching tip-ups.
Jigging for pike is the best way to target their predatory nature. The best pike ice fishing lures dart and flutter erratically, mimicking small baitfish. The strikes these lures elicit can be ferocious, and needless to say the action can be incredibly fun.
What Types of Ice Lures Catch Pike?
While there are plenty of lures that will catch pike around the country, there are certain types that work best for the job.
- Spoons – Spoons are the gold standard for targeting pike under the ice. Their numerous shapes, colors, and sizes allow anglers to tailor this lure to the local forage. Flutter spoons are the best option. They fall at a relatively slow rate while dancing the entire way down. To a northern pike, they look like dying baitfish and easy prey. Those who want to fish in deeper water should try to use solid spoons, which allow the user to control the lure as it falls through the water column.
- Rattle Baits – Rattle baits are also known as lipless crankbaits. These hard baits wobble and shimmy as they fall, which gets the attention of the pike. They can be aggressively ripped up and down to trigger strikes. They do not dart and weave in the same manner as spoons, so they are a good alternative when the spoon bite is off.
- Blade Baits – Blade baits create vibrations throughout the water to attract pike that might be lurking nearby. Try to snap jig the blade bait as it drifts through the water. Make every effort to keep it vertical as it falls. Think of blade baits as a cross between spoons and rattle baits, and another tool in your tackle box.
- Airplane Jigs – Airplane jigs have wings on the side that help them catch the water as they fall. This causing them to bob and weave as they fall; however, they still don’t provide the same amount of movement as flutter spoons or solid spoons. While airplane jigs can work in certain situations, they still aren’t as effective as the alternatives.
Now that you know the main pike ice fishing lures, let’s talk about with models you need to add to your tackle box this winter.
The Sebile Vibrato constantly vibrates as it moves throughout the water, getting the attention of any pike that might be nearby. At the same time, it has a relatively slow flutter rate as it falls through the water, helping the user control its flash and disturbance. There are also two stout treble hooks attached to the lure that ensure the user will never miss a single hookset.
In addition, the Sebile Vibrato comes in a range of sizes, ranging from 1.5 inches and 1/8 oz to 2.625 inches and 1 oz. It has a compressed body with a thin back and wide belly, creating that constant vibration that drives pike nuts. The center of gravity is perfect, providing that outstanding action no matter how you fish it.
The Jigging Rap is one of the most popular ice fishing lures of all time. This lure swims in circles as it falls, helping to stir up any pike that might be nearby. It also has a balanced design with the profile of a baitfish, which northern pike are always looking for. The Jigging Rap comes in dozens of colors, so you’ll have no problem matching your local forage.
The Rapala Jigging Rap has a center treble, and two fixed single hooks, one on the nose and one reversed on the tail. This combination provides consistent hookups. Finally, this lure also comes in five different weights, the larger sizes being great options for pike.
The Chubby Darter is the original vertical wobbler. It has been designed to have a slow sink but kicks out a tremendous vibrational force on the lift. It darts and weaves throughout the water, making it ideal for northern pike.
The Chubby Darter is a finely built lure with plenty of strength to handle large pike. It also is extremely versatile as far as depths, allowing outstanding coverage of the water column. This lure has inspired numerous imitations; however, there is only one true Salmo Chubby Darter!
The Slender Spoon is a smaller spoon, but its thin, curved body creates such erratic action that fish can’t resist. The spoon is slow to fall, but once it is at depth it can be ripped up and watch it shimmy to the side like a dying baitfish.
The Slender Spoon has a small snap for tying your line and allows for freedom of motion. There is one light wire treble hook that can be fished plain or tipped with minnow heads. A great all-species lure for ice fishing, the Slender Spoon is one you need in your tackle box this winter.
The Thumper Jig is an underspin jig that is great for fishing with soft plastics or live bait. With either choice, simply thread the bait up the hook and the wire keeper holds it in place. The vertical line tie lets the lure hold horizontal while you work the lure.
The blade is a hammered Colorado style, which provides the “thump”. Colorado blades have a wider spin than other blades, which is ideal for vertical fishing during the winter. At 3/8oz the Thumper is not the heaviest jig around, but when tipped with bait or soft plastics it is more than enough to get down to the weed beds where pike roam.
The Bay de Noc Swedish Pimple has been one of the most reliable lures on the market for decades. It provides outstanding results in a variety of ways, including when fishing for pike. It provides a sharp, vertical jig motion that will mimic an erratic, injured fish. It works well either plain or tipped.
The Swedish Pimple comes in a variety of sizes and colors. It provides outstanding movement and will attract any nearby prey. Finally, this lure also has a perfect center of gravity, which makes it easy for the user to control. Fishermen should be able to place this lure right where they want it and keep it in the strike zone.
The Rattlin Rap is a classic lure, not only for ice jigging but for open water casting as well. It comes in numerous natural colors and four sizes. The 2-3/4” and 3-1/8” sizes are perfect for pike fishing. This lure has a slenderer body compared to more recent rattle baits, which is a more natural shape.
To fish the Rattlin Rap, just drop the lure to the depth you are targeting and start jigging. You can use short hard rips, or long lift and fall motions. Either method will produce loud rattles and plenty of vibration, then all you need to do is to experiment to see what the fish want.
The Yo-Zuri 3DB Vibe is another lipless rattle bait that has become a popular ice fishing lure for pike. It has 3D internal prism technology that reflects light, using it to attract fish. In addition to the light reflection, the 3DB Vibe also has a ribbed belly that generates a strong vibration throughout the water to incite strikes.
The 3DB Vibe has a lifelike body and is fitted with a large eye that adds realism and a focal point for pike to strike. With black nickel split rings along with strong black nickel hooks, the 3DB Vibe is a solid pike lure for both summer and winter.
The Puppet Minnow is an airplane-style jig, much like the Jiggin Rap. Pick up the 2” 1/4oz size or bigger in Silver Shiner or any of the Glo colors for targeting northern pike. The Glo colors are great for low light conditions.
To work the Puppet Minnow, lift, pump, or rip up the lure and let it free fall. The plastic wings then send the Puppet Minnow gliding and flying to the side and even in circles. The action is fantastic for even the most non-aggressive fish.
Finally, the Eppinger Original Dardevle Spoon is a popular, proven, and deadly classic fishing lure. It is irresistible to nearly all fish, including northern pike. It has been built with a unique wobbling and wiggling action. It can also be cast or trolled in the summertime. This versatility makes the Dardevle Spoon a popular choice among both beginner and experienced pike fishermen.
While the Dardevle could be considered a classic, it remains as effective as other spoons available on the market. The Dardevle Spoon is easy to control, meaning that the fisherman will be able to make it bob and weave around fish-holding structures. All these factors add up to a proven ice fishing lure that simply catches pike.
Can’t get enough ice fishing tackle? Check out our guides to Perch ice fishing lures, Crappie ice jigs, Bluegill ice fishing lures, Lake Trout ice spoons, Walleye ice jigs, and Bass ice fishing lures.