Toothy, large, and utterly ruthless. Yup, that’s pike alright.
As ice fishing goes, I think we can all agree that a fight with a pike is something worth pursuing.
Choosing the best ice fishing lures for pike isn’t complicated, and today I will show you just how easy it is!
I’ve got some great tips and even better suggestions to help you catch one of these beasts.
Read on to find out more.
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Table of Contents
- What Do You Use for Pike Ice Fishing?
- TOP 7 Best Ice Fishing Lures for Pike
What Do You Use for Pike Ice Fishing?
Can’t you just use any lure for pike fishing?
Well, sure, you could…
But it isn’t optimal. Unless you want to spend your day catching panfish, when you are actually looking for a monster, you will have to change it up a bit. You’ll do this by tying on something pike, and only pike, like to eat.
Want some guidance?
Here it is.
What Type of Lures Do Pike Like?
Pike are pretty fearsome and tend to be ‘turned on’ by the usual movement combinations and great visuals.
But to catch a pike, you’ve got to think like a pike. This means choosing the right type of lures for the job.
And let me tell you…
Microplastics just aren’t going to cut it. Here are some of the best northern pike ice fishing lures:
Anything that looks like a baitfish is going to give you good results.
Unlike other fish, pike is very much pescatarians. While they might go for the occasional worm, their diet consists of baitfish by and large. And big ones at that.
Choose a lure that at least in some way resembles something you’d expect to find swimming around in the water.
Pike have something in abundance. And you can use this to your advantage.
Pure predatory killer instinct.
In short, if it buzzes, moves, or vibrates, they want to kill it.
Lures like spinners generate all of the above and are a great way to provoke a response from even the most docile fish.
Because pike tends to be a little bigger, you can move into the realm of bigger lures like plugs and plastics.
This is great as it opens you up to a world of possibilities. You can pick deep divers, rattlers, plugs with realistic finishes and eyes. There is so much choice!
Spoons are super simple to use and are really suited to ice hole fishing.
They are what I like to call a low-maintenance lure.
The shape of the spoon means it falls and flutters on the way down, and by jigging it, you can accurately recreate the behavior of a wounded baitfish.
In the absence of live bait, a shad is a great option.
Because they pretty much look and behave in exactly the same way (provided you are willing to put a little work in).
Shads are pretty cheap. Also, because they can be made in different finishes, you should be able to find one out there that looks exactly like what the pike are eating on any given day.
What are Other Great Bait Options for Pike Ice Fishing?
Don’t fancy working a lure all day?
It’s ok, I’ve got you.
Pike are great fans of both live and dead baits. Here are a few suggestions for the best ice fishing baits for pike:
Sardines or Sprats
Both sprats and sardines are great to use as pike dead baits. Both are actually saltwater fish, and on handling them, you may notice something.
For your hands, not so good. For pike fishing? Amazing.
They are a great solution, especially if you are fishing in cloudy water, as the scent trail released will lead the fish straight to your bait!
Another saltwater species, there is something about a nice oily herring that pike seems to love.
It doesn’t matter that they aren’t natural to the environment in which you are fishing.
Trust me, the pike doesn’t seem to mind one bit!
If you can get hold of mackerel, this is also a great way to fish for pike.
Just cut a single fillet into several thin slivers. I find that using a mackerel strip mounted on a jig or lure can work wonders for catching pike too!
Onto live baits…
If you are being plagued by tiny trout when ice fishing, then use this to your advantage. Keep a few small trout in a bucket of lake water and throw them onto a live bait rig.
Don’t worry if they are a little bigger than your lures normally are. Pike actually have a massive bite and won’t think twice about attacking big things.
Some of a pike’s favorite food is yellow perch and bluegill.
Now that you know, you can use this to catch them.
Try fishing at the start of your session using tiny lures for panfish. Once you’ve caught a few, you’ve got a good supply of bait to try and tempt a pike.
Do you know how I know this works?
I’ve had pike take a panfish from the surface before I could get it out… I wasn’t even fishing for pike!
As to which is most effective, the fish decide on the day. Why not check out my article on live bait vs. lures here?
If you want to catch a few perch, you are going to need lures to encourage them.
Head to my dedicated article on ice fishing lures for perch so you can bag up and then catch something even bigger!
What Size and Color Lures are the Best for Pike?
Want a key piece of advice when using pike ice fishing lures?
Go big, or go home.
You might catch a jack pike with a smaller lure. You might also spend your day catching everything but a pike if you go too small. Instead, be sure to go big with your lures. Pike won’t be put off and normally welcome the chance to get a big meal in one sitting.
When it comes to color, I find that gold and silvers work really well. A dash of red can sometimes act as an instinctual trigger to pike too.
Oh, and as it is winter… Go bright. Dark colors don’t tend to perform too well under the ice.
See below for some great lures that will catch you a pike…
TOP 7 Best Ice Fishing Lures for Pike
There are a few general rules to stick to when choosing the best ice fishing lures for pike. Go big, and go bright. Throw in a bit of movement, and you’ve got the perfect combo.
I love using lures for ice fishing. While you are here, why not check out my articles on other types of lures? You’ll find the best ice fishing lures for walleye, or alternatively, if crappie is your thing, there’s something special right here.
What’s your #1 pike lure? Let me know in the comments!