What Bait Should I Use for Ice Fishing?

Ice fishing is a great way to spend your winter days, but it can be hard to know what bait to use. Different types of fish are attracted to different types of bait. Knowing the type of fish you’re Targeting will help you decide what bait will work best.

Ice fishing enthusiasts often turn to minnows as their go-to bait. Whether it’s live or artificial, these baits are versatile and effective for a variety of fish species including panfish, trout, walleye, and northern pike. Minnows can be employed at different depths in the water, either on the bottom or suspended. Worms are also a popular choice for ice fishing, mainly for smaller fish such as bluegill, crappie, perch, and even some bass. For larger fish like walleye or northern pike, bigger baits like night crawlers or leeches can be used with success. When targeting fish with worms, it’s best to fish them low in the water or at mid-depth. Jigs also make for a reliable ice fishing option. Available in multiple sizes and styles, jigs can be adorned with various baits such as minnows, worms, grubs, or even artificial lures like soft plastics and spinners. Like minnows and worms, jigs can be fished on the bottom or suspended at different depths depending on the target species. For those after larger fish like walleye and northern pike, spoons are the lure of choice. With various sizes and styles, spoons can be used with natural baits like minnows or worms, or paired with artificial lures like soft plastics and spinners. These lures have a larger profile, making them an ideal choice for fishing deeper water where these species tend to reside.


When deciding what bait to use for ice fishing it is important to consider the type of fish you’re Targeting as different baits will be more effective for certain species than others. Popular baits include minnows, worms, jigs and spoons which all have their own advantages depending on the situation. With so many options available it can be hard to choose which one is right for you but experimenting with different baits until you find one that works best is part of the fun!

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Lindsay Collins