22 Best Ice Fishing Lures for Hardwater Fishing Madness

Coty Perry

If you’re searching for the best ice fishing lures, you’ll likely choose between jigs, spoons, and soft plastics.

Those are the most common options fished by ice anglers all over the country.

I’ve used pretty much everything you can think of and that experience has helped me put together this comprehensive list of the best ice fishing tackle on the market today. 

The Rapala Jigging Shad Rap is by far one of my favorites.

As you brave the hardwater this year, be sure to have a few of these options in your tacklebox at all times.

Continue reading below for more.

When you’re on the quest for the top ice fishing lures, you’re going to encounter a lot of nonsense. There are so many lures on the market that it can become very difficult to choose one from the other. 

Of course, each of the lures listed in this article are not that expensive, but settling on a handful of them can be a challenge.

The goal here is to break each lure type down into its own individual section so you can understand how to present each of them based on the timing, temperature, and habits of the fish you’re targeting. 

Let’s dive into it. 

Best Ice Fishing Jigs

Jigging is considered one of the most popular ice fishing techniques out there. It’ll work in most conditions and you’ll be able to catch a variety of fish ranging from panfish to walleye.

That reason alone is why jigs are so popular. Here are some of my favorites. 

Rapala Jigging Rap

Rapala Jigging Rap

The Rapala is one of the most popular ice fishing baits ever created. This is what anglers turn to when everything starts to slow down in the winter months.

Suspending jigs will always work and there are few companies to do it as well as Rapala. 

You get a choice of about a million different colors as well as various sizes and weights.

The lure has a realistic presentation with the perfect minnow profile and zinc-weighted body for true action and balanced movements. 

Demon Jig

Demon Jig

The Demon Jig does a great job of combining two of the best performing ice fishing lures. That would be the spoon and the jig.

It has a curved by flat-profile design with an incredibly sharp gold hook which makes setting it easier.

This lure was originally designed to specifically fish panfish but it’s proven successful for bass and trout as well.

You’ll want to rig this with some type of live bait or powerbait and deadstick or use a tip-up for it.

The main torso of the lure also has a slight glow in the dark feature which makes it highly attractive in low-light situations.

Eagle Claw Glow Ice Jigs 

Eagle Claw Glow Ice Kit

You know I’m a big preacher of the weather. This is as true as can be when it comes to ice fishing as well.

When the sun isn’t shining at all or it’s completely blocked out by the clouds, you want to resort to something a bit more minimal and simplistic.

Eagle Claw Ice Jigs are a great option in this case and this kit comes with a wide variety of choices. 

You can pair them up with a soft plastic of your choice. I recommend going with something simple as you would expect and ensure that it’s colored according to the situation outside.

If it’s cloudy and overcast go with something natural like white, gray, or chartreuse. 

Acme Kastmaster

Acme Kastmaster Spoon

As most ice anglers know, spoons are a great option when it comes to ice fishing. The Kastmaster is something I like to consider a hybrid.

It has the appearance of a spoon but the action of a jig, that’s part of what makes it so powerful. 

It offers incredibly wild action thanks to its unique design.

It’s great for casting in winter fishing situations and it’s an awesome option for a variety of different species ranging from panfish to walleye. 

Hali Sukkula Jig 

Hali Sukkula Jig

Here we have another hybrid style jig option with a lifelike body, realistic-looking eyes, and a minnow design that a lot of fish find irresistible.

It’s a great choice for vertical jigging because it’s easy to work and it runs an enticing pattern that appeals to a more sluggish fish during the winter. 

I like to bait these with a live worm, larvae, or grub which honestly offers the appearance of a baitfish with a worm in its mouth.

Keep in mind that fish are opportunistic at this time and will see this as a great opportunity to get a two-for-one deal. 

Last Cast Tackle Diamond Jig

Last Cast Tackle Diamond Jig

A diamond jig is another great option that combines the elements of a spoon and a jig in one.

This reflective lure generates a lot of attention and creates a loud disturbance in the water as well.

I recommend tipping it with a highly contrasting colored soft plastic like a chartreuse or red.

This presentation stands out like a sore thumb in the middle of the clear water under the ice. It’s also a larger profile lure so it’s a great option for pulling some of the lunkers out of hiding.

If you’re trying to filter out smaller fish from taking your bait, hook up a diamond rig with your favorite soft plastic.

You could also use wax worms if you prefer something live.

Northland Tackle Bro Spoon

Northland Tackle Bro Spoon

This is probably one of the best lures for ice fishing I’ve ever seen; it checks all the boxes. It comes with bulging eyes, a slender body, and a tapering profile that moves quickly through the water column to draw attention and get down to the depth you want it. 

I’ve also heard from a lot of other anglers that this design is great for getting picked up on sonar so you’ll easily be able to tell the difference between the Tackle Bro Spoon and fish or vegetation in the water. 

Rapala Jigging Shad Rap

Rapala Jigging Shad Rap

The Jigging Shad Rap is only slightly different from the original rap. It’s a change so subtle that most people won’t even notice it.

The main advantage to this one is that it offers a slower spiraling presentation as it works its way down the water column.

It has a larger profile so it’s more visible to fish but the presentation makes it more inviting. 

Northland Whistler Jig 

Northland Whistler Jig

This is an interesting jig used most commonly for fishing panfish like crappie and bluegill. It offers a propeller spinning blade that creates a vibration in the water as it moves through the column.

Normally, I wouldn’t recommend something this intense because it can be intimidating and end up scaring more fish than it attracts. 

The advantage to this one is the sheer size of the lure itself. They only weigh 1/16 of an ounce and come with #4 hooks so these are very small.

I’d recommend using them on days when the sun is shining bright so you can get a little bit of light refraction off the ice. 

Best Spoons for Ice Fishing

As I’ve said in pretty much any article I’ve ever written about ice fishing, spoons are one of the most popular options. You can catch a wide variety of fish including walleye, jumbo perch, crappie, and other panfish. 

It’s important that you start smaller than you think. I recommend starting with an eighth of an ounce and going even smaller if you’re having trouble.

As for color, keep it simple.

Going with a brightly colored spoon isn’t always necessary because the shininess of the spoon itself creates the presentation to begin with; you don’t need to add more brightness on top of that. 

Let’s take a look at some of the best spoons for ice fishing. 

Swedish Pimple Spoon

Swedish Pimple Spoon

The Bay de Noc Swedish Pimple is the best choice to catch fish when fish are biting.

It’s a little bit too large for times when they’re not, but that’s okay because you have plenty of options here. Presentation is about as simple as it can get.

You let it drop, work it, twitch it, lift it up, and then let it drop again. It should fall vertically and then deadstick horizontally as you work it with your ice fishing rod.

Clam Leech Flutter Spoon 

Clam Leech Flutter Spoon

Now we’re down around the size we’re looking for. This spoon offers an incredible presentation as it flutters down through the column slowly but erratically.

This type of movement is nearly irresistible for passing fish.

It also has a unique appearance with polka dots and a feathered trailer to increase the realistic nature of the spoon. 

This spoon has a bright flash so it’s an ideal choice when you’re working in open water, free of any murkiness.

Williams Whitefish Spoon

Williams Whitefish Spoon

I get butterflies just writing about this bad boy. I’ve used these a few times at a few large reservoirs near my home. They’re an incredible option for pike and muskie.

If you’re planning to fish larger freshwater lakes and even lakes that haven’t frozen over yet, you’ll want to make sure you have a few of these with you.

The spoon maintains a stable and slow presentation with a bright flash that larger fish love. 

VMC Rattling Spoon

VMC Rattling Spoon

This is a ⅛ ounce solid brass spoon that serves as a great option for panfish, perch, bass and even lake trout.

The brightly colored exterior offers a bright presentation for murky and clear water and it contains beads that vibrate with every little movement it makes. 

The main concern is that it’ll spook fish but it has a short chamber which limits the amount of vibration created so it’s not overly intimidating.

This rattle spoon is a great option for a wide assortment of scenarios and species. 

PK Lures Flutter Fish

PK Lures Flutter Fish

This spoon is a bad boy in the jigging community. It offers a versatile double-bladed design designed to provide the most vibrant flash and vibration possible.

It also comes with realistic “glow in” glowing eyes in a variety of different colors.

This makes it highly visible in murky water so it’s a great option if you’re fishing towards the beginning of the season and near the thaw. 

Acme Sidewinder 

Acme Sidewinder

Simple, basic, and not overcomplicated. If you’re an ice fisherman, you’ve heard of this spoon and you know how effective it is.

It’s designed to imitate the action of a scared game fish or injured baitfish with a fluttering movement as it dives through the column. 

You’ll want to jerk this slowly and let it adjust itself before you do it again. The curved design will help it to rock as it moves down through the water column.

It also comes with a saltwater proof coating whether you buy it on Amazon, Cabelas, or BassPro.

I recommend fishing this without live bait and going with the smallest size you can find which would likely be the ⅓ ounce. 

Northland Forage Minnow

Northland Forage Minnow

This minnow head-designed spoon mimics the appearance of a perch and comes with a treble hook at the end.

It has semi-realistic eyes and a slightly curved design in the body. It’s super lightweight which is a great choice for most ice angling situations targeting panfish. 

I highly recommend getting a 1/24 ounce and using this one for scouting the water. If you’re using an ice fishing fish finder, it’ll be a great way to scope out the water and see what’s biting.

They offer an assortment of colors so pick up a few different options.

Lindy Quiver Spoon

Lindy Quiver Spoon

Slow is the name of the game and if that’s the case, this is the spoon you want to have in your tackle box.

It provides a more modest presentation and appearance without exactly standing out in any way. Sometimes that’s the right choice though. 

It offers a lightweight and slow presentation with a falling action and flash that catches attention as it drops through the water column.

It comes in sizes ranging from 1/16 to 1/4 so I recommend picking up at least two of the options so you can size down or up based on the day. 

Other Options

Just because jigs and spoons are considered the best ice fishing lures, doesn’t mean that you can’t use anything else.

Many lipless crankbaits and soft plastics are also used but it’s just important to understand why they’re not as common.

These lures are typically larger and provide a more aggressive diving presentation which can be intimidating for a sluggish fish during the winter months. 

If you can choose wisely and present properly, you can have success with almost anything. Here are some of my favorite sleeper choices. 

Live Target Golden Shiner 

Live Target Golden Shiner

The Golden Shiner is a necessity and one of the best ice fishing lures for bass. It offers a yo-yo style retrieve and it has a loud internal rattle so it’s a great option for when the fish are biting.

If you’re using it to try and catch walleye, it’s recommended that you use it with a vertical drop style and jig it under the ice. 

¼ ounce is about as small as you can get these but they come in a vast assortment of colors.

I suggest picking up a few of them so you have something bright and something more modest for when the sky is overcast. 

Rapala Rippin’ Rap Crankbait

Rapala Rippin’ Rap Crankbait

This deep belly crank has narrow sides and a heavy vibration to create a loud disturbance in the water as it dives down beneath the surface.

It has a very distinct rattle and realistic appearance that makes it downright irresistible to fish that are interested in biting. 

Because of the larger nature and more aggressive design, you might have a hard time using this bad boy when the fish are feeling sluggish.

I suggest keeping it in your back pocket for when you’re fishing large lakes for fish like walleye and pike. 

Karl’s Bait & Tackle Ice Fishing Kit 

Karl’s Bait & Tackle Ice Fishing Kit 

What better option could you ask for when you’re not entirely sure what to get?

A bait and tackle ice fishing kit from Karls is a great option because it comes with everything you need to get through the winter and they’ll make sure that you only get the latest and greatest tackle. 

It comes with two soft plastics, three vertical jigging hardbaits, two packs of ice jigs, one spoon, and some treble hooks.

Now you don’t have to scratch your head at this list and wonder what you should get. It’s all here for you. 

Bass Pro Speed Shad 

Bass Pro Speed Shad

As promised, I told you I’d come around to a couple of soft plastic lures that I think work well no matter what the conditions are.

The Speed Shad never disappoints because it offers a great swimming action, it’s easy to rig, it’s not overly sized, and the ribbed body creates a nice loud vibration through the water that attracts fish. 

I particularly like this one because it also comes with the Bass Pro 8up attractant so if the water is extra murky, you don’t have to rely on sight to draw attention; the scent will do it all for you. Work it slow and steady. 

Bass Pro Magnum Squirt

Bass Pro Magnum Squirt

The last option I have for you is a tube. The Magnum Squirt comes with a hollow body and fine tentacles that dance as you move the lure through the water.

These are salt-impregnated which makes the lures a little bit heavier and they also make the fish more responsive when they bite down on them.

Fish like the taste of the salt so they’re less likely to nibble on it and more likely to strike it hard. 

Final Thoughts 

I hope you enjoyed this review of the 22 best ice fishing lures.

Ice fishing fans from East to West are using a combination of these lures based on demand and weather so I highly recommend having at least 10 of these in your tacklebox so you have options.

Each lure itself is not expensive and it shouldn’t cost you more than $20-30 to stock up. 

Be safe on the ice, wear proper ice fishing gear, and be sure to enjoy yourself. Good luck out there!

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