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Fishing the ice for Pike can get crazy if you’re hooking up big. Fishing live and dead natural baits are pretty popular, but lures remain the go-to for many ice pike fans.
One thing we know for certain is that if you’re fishing the ice, you need lures that can be worked vertically.
Vibes, jigs, spoons, soft plastics, metal slices, and the like all come into their own when it comes to working a frozen hole for a monster pike.
A lot of variables must be taken into account when selecting the best ice fishing lures for pike, not the least of which is local knowledge.
Time of day, sunlight, appetite, and water temperature are just a few things that may have an impact on whether or not a pike will see your lure as suitable for dinner.
Let’s have a look at 5 good lures for catching pike.
Best Ice Fishing Lures for Pike
Last update on 2023-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Rapala makes beautiful lures, so you will not be surprised to see the significant representation below.
As ice requires vertical jigging, all the lures here can be worked in an ice hole with a simple up and down action.
There are three types we usually use: blades, jigging swimbaits or darters, and traditional spoons and metal slices.
You will note an absence of jig heads and soft plastics, and for good reason.
There are literally countless combinations of soft plastics and jig heads that will be ideal for ice fishing pike.
Even the unlikely profiles have proven productive at different times, locations, temperatures, and targets.
In general, the lures listed below are traditional, with the exception of darters, which are a relatively new but highly effective lure that’s taken hold in the ice fishing community.
Note that the Fregito lures are a bit of a generic inclusion.
In my experience, few brands stand taller than any other when it comes to spoons and metal slices.
Their basic construction and action means there is often very little separating efficacy, with value for money being the driving factor for purchase.
1. Rapala Slab Rap
The Rapala Slab Rap responds beautifully to rapid jerks of the rod tip. A snap of the rod produces an erratic action that mimics the distress of panic.
As you relax the rod, the lure flutters back to center with an enticing side-to-side action. The lift will entice, and you can expect the strike on the drop or on the pause.
Use the largest model, and the color is up to you, depending on matching the hatch or your local knowledge of effective colors.
Consider using the largest model, and choose a color depending on matching the hatch or your local knowledge of effective colors.
If in doubt, try a natural silver color, particularly on bright sunny days.
- VMC black nickel round bend hooks
- Designed to fish multiple techniques, ideal for vertical jigging
- Variable depth
2. Rapala Rippin’ Rap 06
Nicely weighted for sending it deep, the Rippin Rap looks like a combo of a vibe and a lipless crank.
I like this color for murkier waters, with the internal rattle working a charm to call fish from distance, therefore expanding your target zone – a bonus when fishing in a hole.
The build quality is superb, and it’s designed for enticing Pike of all sizes.
The hard vibration works in concert with the rattle to call fish from a distance, and entice a sluggish bite.
This is a good lure for dull, overcast days, and works particularly well when worked slowly, which is a necessity in the colder waters of deep winter.
This is a hardy body lure, ideal for handling the nasty choppers that typically tear soft baits to pieces.
- Tall, Skinny Body Shape
- Distinctive Loud BB Rattle System
- Lipless Design
- Hard Vibrating Action
- Versatile hook size for a variety of different size fish
3. Chubby Darter
If you browse the net and tackle stores you will definitely find imitations with exactly the same features and profile at cheaper prices.
I can’t vouch for the quality, but it’s worth the test if you’re looking to find extra value.
The slow fluttering sink is enticing enough, but the lift inspires a huge lash out with plenty of water disturbance and vibration to call fish from a distance.
At 1 inch (3cm and 4cm), it’s a little smaller, and perhaps the better option if the school you’ve hit isn’t populated by monsters.
Given the action, however, the Chubby will invite strikes from surprisingly large pike as the action on the lift gives it a bigger punch than its diminutive size might suggest.
Brilliant on a sunny day, there’s plenty of erratic reflection that shoots beams of light in all directions.
- Variable Depth
- Multiple colors
- 2 x treble hooks
- Holographic designs
4. Rapala Jigging Rap 09
This is definitely one of the best ice fishing lures for chasing a larger class of fish. The minnow profile and the 3.5-inch model are irresistible to big pike when worked properly.
The flat tail delivers an erratic movement on the lift and drop that sees the Rap mimic the classic wounded fish action so many fish can’t resist.
This is the lure to use if you’re happy to wait it out for the bigger class of fish without being attacked by smaller pike or attacks from smaller fish like small perch or walleye, which are a time killer if big pike is your target.
This is a classic case of big lures for big fish.
When you’re using the biggest rap, the quantity of the hit may diminish, but the quality will certainly increase.
Just keep in mind, even small pike will attack a surprisingly big lure. The treble/single hook configuration on the Rap 09 is ideal for big pike.
- Minnow Profile
- Balanced Design
- Environmental Zinc Weighted
- Standard and Glow Color
As mentioned earlier, the brand is no big deal with traditional metal slices, and this brand is just one example of many.
These value packs are a pretty cost-effective method for purchasing metal jigs, and there’s usually a selection of colors (not that I think it’s critical).
Like spinners and spoons, metal jigs, and flies, these are the traditional original lures.
They’re as basic as they get, they’re easy to work with, and they’re perfect when the sun is shining, delivering plenty of reflective excitement even at depth.
These are ideal for fishing at depth, as there’s plenty of weight in even the smaller lures to get to your preferred place in the water column easily.
The metal slice is genuinely old school, and most dedicated lure anglers will prefer other lures.
However, when a school is about and feeding, there’s nothing more effective, as big pike will bite first and ask questions later.
I love the simplicity of a metal slice, and if I’ve hit a school at depth, and they’re hungry, I’ll rig a slice and jig my heart out.
- Sizes: 3/4OZ / 21g
- 5 hard metal spinnerbaits of assorted color
- Wide application
- Simple operation
- Anti-corrosion coating
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Other Good Bait Options for Pike Ice Fishing
Any oily baitfish is a good option for ice fishing pike. If you’re using dead baits, it’s infinitely better to be using fresh baits instead of frozen baits.
If you’re limited to commercial frozen baits, check the packaging for dates, color, freezer burn, and other such information to ensure you get bait with the best presentation possible.
While fresh dead baits are very effective, the best way to attract trophy pike is to use live baits. If you’re seeking a mega-pike, use big baits.
Check out the mouth of a pike. They’re big, and chock- full of very nasty teeth. A pike will have a go at a duck the size of which would feed your family.
They’re aggressive feeders and will have a go at anything they think they can get in their mouths and digest.
Live baitfish of any type is preferable. Ask the locals or the local tackle shop how you can match the hatch, or locate the preferred feast of the local pike.
What Kind of Artificial Lures Work Well For Winter Pike
If you’re not limited by having to fish through an ice hole, the range of effective lures opens up considerably.
If you’re chasing big pike, and let’s face it, if you’re ice fishing for pike, you’re chasing the biggest you can get, I like big swimbaits.
Big pike will take anything from a spoon to a well-presented plug, but in my experience, you’ll do exceptionally well with a larger swimbait.
While the good swimbaits are expensive, they’re worth it, as they do an awesome job of attracting the biggest pike.
Which Natural Baits Attract Winter Pike
As stated earlier, any fish that’s oily is a great place to start when ice fishing for pike.
But if you’re looking for a staple, try smelt, alewives, small whitefish, chubs, sucker, etc.
If you want a monster fish, try a live crappie, just for fun!