Call us toll-free at 1-800-661-6954

Welcome to The Fishin' Hole Canada's source for tackle and sport fishing equipment. Try us for all of your sportfishing needs...In store, on-line or toll free. You'll get hooked on the service!

The Bait of Choice

 

With the exception of Lake Whitefish, all the fish I pursue through the ice are most successfully caught using bait. The bait varies widely, but the saying, “nothing beats the real thing,” applies. My fridge and freezer will demonstrate my belief in this theory. In my fridge right next to the jug of juice you can find dew worms, trout worms and maggots stockpiled for future trips. In the freezer there are at least three different sizes of minnows ranging from wee little ones for perch to full sized extra large herring for pike and lakers.

Come the ice fishing season, the cold water affects a fish’s metabolism and they are not nearly as active. That means they will not be as inclined to chase active presentations and the best way to tempt a bite is using bait. What baits are best for what fish? What is the best way to fish each bait? Here are my thoughts.

When it comes to trout, nothing beats the power of worms and I find the wiggly little trout worm the best. I’ve had some luck using maggots, mealworms and eggs, but the trout worm is king. Lightly hook it on a small size 6 or 8 hook so it wiggles a lot and fish it a foot off bottom.

For walleye, a jig tipped with a minnow is tops. Start with a quarter ounce jig and lightly jig it. If that’s not getting bites, move lighter, down to a one eighth ounce jig. The jig gets the minnow to the bottom; the minnow gets the walleye to bite. Use light line and do not use a steel leader as these fish are line shy.

For pike you should use a steel leader. Use tip ups and fish the deep edges of weed lines with anchovies or herring. Start the bait size out at five inches and use bigger ones from there. To catch the biggest pike use the biggest baits off a quick strike rig, but for consistent catching, I’ve found nothing beats the alluring qualities of an oily five inch anchovy. For Lakers I’ve found that large anchovies and herring are best. Start with a bait about five inches and go as big as you can find. To catch the biggest Lakers using a one pound bait is not out of the question.

Use a quick strike rig off a tip up and be prepared when a big one bites. I used the biggest herring I could get my hands on and on one fateful day I stuck a huge bite that turned into a 28 pound monster. Look for Lakers in about 15 – 30 feet of water, even if its 100 feet deep as they like to chase schools of Lake Whitefish, which are normally suspended at this level. Last but not least, let’s look at perch. They are most easily caught using maggots, but to catch the big ones, use a small minnow or meal worm (or half a meal worm). The bait is bigger and this will mean fewer bites, but the ones that do bite will be bigger.

So there’s a run down on baits used for our various fish species. Maggots will catch pike, worms catch walleye, but those are oddball catches and not considered the norm. As for whitefish, I’ve had them sometimes take a maggot, but just as often I’ve had them hit wireworms or flies reeled very slowly to the surface with no bait at all. The undeniable truth is that bait is the ticket when ice fishing. Bring some along and catch fish.


Previous Fishing Tips & Facts

(1) The Roll cast

(2) Fly-fishing for Pike

(3) Walleye Tip

(4) Mountain Lakers

(5) Hints For Dry Fly Success

(6) Survival Strategies For The Silly Season

(7) Local Advise

(8) It's A Pink Year

(9) Ice Fishin Safety

(10) Third World Travel

(11) Casting Angles

(12) The Rocky Mountain Whitefish Rig

(13) Using Sinking Leaders

(14) The Pike Fisherman's Vest

(15) Walleye Tips

(16) Trophies Are In The Eye Of The Beholder

(17) The Right Tool For The Job

(18) Respect The Weather - Expect The Weather

(19) Approach

(20) Gearing Up For Ice Perch

(21) Do It Yourself Excersions

(22) Shots

(23) Atlantic Salmon Fishing Techniques

(24) Fishing Etiquette In Crowded Conditions

(25) Swinging Caddis Flies

(26) Selecting a Fishing Rod

(27) Pike Angling Retrieves

(28) Detecting The Strike

(29) Unmatch The Hatch

(30) Off The Grid Air Travel

(31) Practise

(32) How Deep Are They Biting?

(33) Netting and Landing Your Fish

(34) Texas Travel Tips

(35) Quick Tips for Triggering Strikes

(36) Be the Last Man Standing

(37) Water Temperature & Trout

(38) Visiting Reindeer Lake

(39) Stillwater Stratagems

(40) Those Crazy Cohos!

(41) Leaders & Tippets

(42) Big Water Strategies

(43) Small Stream Stealth

(44) DO I GET UP EARLY?

(45) ACCESSIBLE PLACES TO FISH

(46) Travelling Angler Tips

(47) Choosing The Right Fly

(48) They come out at Night - Our Friends that is

(49) Fishing at Night

(50) Having Troubles Catching fish?

(51) Having Troubles Finding Fish?

(52) Stay Skinny To Catch Fish

(53) Tips For Fishing With Kids

(54) The Wonderful Woolly Bugger

(55) Wading Safely

(56) Double Your Fun

(57) More About The Red River

(58) Rookie Rod Buying Tips

(59) Hook Sharpening

(60) Going Light

(61) Hopper - Dropper Rigs

(62) Tips For Buying A Pontoon Boat

(63) Fishing Tips and Facts for Sturgeon

(64) Three Flies to Live by

(65) Reading Rise Forms

(66) Tips and Facts for Early Season Success

(67) A Fly for All Seasons

(68) Ice Shelters – Seeing is Believing

(69) Effective approaches to working small streams

(70) Unburdening the Travelling Angler

(71) 5 Flies for Anyones Fly Box

(72) Road Trips

(73) Dry Flies for High & Dirty Water

(74) Tips For Dealing With Biting Bass

(75) Summertime and the Fishin’ Ain’t Easy

(76) Depth and Light

(77) Rigging Large Dry Flies

(78) Best Rod for Spring Angling

(79) Stream Etiquette for Floaters

(80) Tackling Whites Through the Ice

(81) Angling Tips for Finding Books

(82) Winter Smart Open Water Angling

(83) Fall Primer for Pike

(84) Packing Tips

(85) Tips and Tackle for the High Country

(86) Hunt them Shallow

(87) Polarized Sunglasses
The smart anglers’ advantage.

(88) Fishing Tips for Early Season Flyrodding

(89) Know Your Knots

(90) Alternative Thoughts about Ice Fishing

(91) Tips for Mexican Bonefishing

(92) Techniques for Tantalizing Grayling

(93) Understanding Fly Leaders & Tippets

(94) Catfish on the Fly

(95) Get Your Backswimmer On

(96) Reading the Sonar

(97) Insect Identification Made Easy

(98) The Sinker and Floating Plug

(99) GADGETS & GIZMOS for "OLD GUYS"

(100) Fishing Drop Offs

(101) Stay On Fish

(102) Landing The Big One

(103) Fighting Fish on a Fly Rod

(104) North Saskatchewan River - Be River Aware

(105) Backswimmer Pothole Trout Frenzy

(106) Hunt for Suspended Fish

(107) Reading Your Waters Before You Cast

(108) Setting Up Your Bait Casting Reel

(109) Fishing Journals

(110) First Casts of the Season are at a River Near You

(111) The Crazy Whitefish Days of Last Ice

(112) The Bait of Choice

(113) Shallow Water Jumbo Perch

(114) Getting Started on the Ice

(115) Plan an Ice Fishing Getaway

(116) Brookie Season

(117) River Fishing is Heating Up

(118) Become a Better Angler

(119) The Forgotten Pike

(120) Get Out Your Plugs and Spoons

(121) Slip Bobber is King in Spring

(122) See You at the Show

(123) Red Hot Whitefish

(124) Staging Walleye

(125) The Lure of Lake Whitefish

(126) Great Rainbow Fishing At First Ice

(127) A Simple Approach to Ice Fishing

(128) Big Pike Combo Approaches

(129) Gearing up for Fall Whitefish

(130) River of Gold

(131) Bottom Bounce Your Way to Success

(132) Small Stream Fun

(133) Consider the Spawn and Water Temperature
for Early Season Fish

(134) I Believe - The Glow in Glow Jigs

(135) Tricks to Improve Your Ice Fishing

(136) Trout Fishing is Red Hot

(137) Dealing With Fishing Pressure

(138) All I Want For Christmas

(139) Staying Warm on the Ice

(140) Hunting Big Browns in Lakes

(141) Where Did All Those Walleye Go?

(142) Keep an Eye on the Weather, Fury of a Storm

(143) Great and Affordable Fishing on the West Coast

(144) Lake Whites in the Summer? You Bet

(145) Prime Time for Lakers

(146) A Slip Bobber is so Much More

(147) Ice Fishing for Pike and Walleye

(148) Catching a Big Pike

(149) Purchasing a Rod

(150) Catching Rainbows through the Ice

(151) Gearing up for the Snow and Ice

(152) Gearing Up For Pike

(153) Getting the Most out of Your Fly Fishing Set Up

(154) The Bottom’s Up in Fishing

(155) Fish Where They’re Biting

(156) Three Standard Walleye Presentations

(157) Two Early Season Presentations for Pothole Trout

(158) Tackle Tips for Catch and Release Fishing

(159) Keeping Your Head Above Water

(160) HEALTHY BAIT CATCHES FISH!

(161) Beginner Baitcasting Tips