Ice fishing lures proven to produce
By Tamara Spence, Sports and Recreation Editor
With safe ice in most parts of Northwestern Ontario, the masses are headed to buy lures in hopes of catching a monster through the ice. With that being said, it always comes down to buying new lures or changing the hooks on our trusted and old reliable – you know, those ones that never let you down and bring the lunkers (a larger fish). One thing to keep in mind while picking out your selection this season is, as J. R. R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all that glitters is gold”. It takes time to find lures that work for you and your style of fishing, and just because it looks nice doesn’t mean it’s going to produce. With 20 years’ experience fishing, you get to know what really works and what you can live without. Any angler has their lucky or go-to lures and regardless of what they tell you, they’re not magic; they simply work because they were crafted with care and designed to succeed and surpass all other lures.
With all the products on the market, it’s hard to really pick out a few keepers especially if you are working on a budget. There’s a lot of lures out there and great number of them will only land you a solid case of carpel tunnel. With that being said, after much thought and time of testing these lures, these one have proven to produce and be worth their buck in one Northerner’s opinion.
William’s (Nipigon Spoon or Ice Spoon): This is by far one of the most classic spoons and really can be used as a multi-species go-to. I like to keep it simple with a bronze or silver – you can use a dual bronze and silver if you’re feeling fancy. The key to this spoon is that it works well in dirty or tinted water; the extra reflection in the water will benefit you under these circumstances. You may be wondering what makes these spoons attract as they do and the answer is quite simple: they are finished in 24-carat gold and genuine silver. A technique found to be effective is to reel them up in a swift motion and then pause and let them flutter down. More often than not you will have your tap or strike in these moments. Additionally, Williams offers their Ice Jig, which works with the same standard.
Gibbs Delta Croc Spoon: This multi-species spoon provides an erratic wobble action that cannot be ignored by our friends beneath the ice. I have been successful using this spoon in 1/8 ounce and 3/16 ounce for trout, walleye, whitefish, herring, and perch in different levels of water clarity. Not only does it come in countless patterns and variations but it also comes preassembled with a swivel to reduce line twist. I personally like to let the line free and to allow the lure to hit the bottom, stir up the mud and bring it up a couple feet from bottom in a steady jig action. This usually gets our finned friends’ attention quickly and brings on a steady bite.
Classic Tube Jig Combo (Mister Twister): These classic plastics are always a solid choice especially if you’re looking for trout – though in my time I have seen them to be rather universal if you make sure to tend to the size and target appropriately. I laugh now, remembering how off guard I was reeling in a herring on a tube for the first time. One tip that seems to make it happen even on the slowest days with tube jigs is weight: the heavier your jig, the more erratic it will be under the water and the faster it will fall.
Mepps (Syclops #0): Mepps has been a constant in my family. In fact, my first fish was caught on Mepps and it’s still to this day a trusted lure. When it comes to ice fishing I have always made sure to have a Syclops handy. These spoons when jigged aggressively underwater make a brilliant flash like no other and much of that has to do with its unique S-shape, silver plating, and ten reflective surfaces.
The Argus was fortunate enough to touch base with Ontario Out of Doors Magazine Senior Editor Gord Ellis about his lure of choice where he freely spilled the beans about his go-to lure: “One of my all-time favorite lures for ice fishing is the Hopkins jigging spoon. It is a dead basic lure that is deadly for lake trout, brookies, whitefish, perch, pike, and walleye. The half-ounce silver Hopkins smoothie is my favorite. Go lighter for perch. Sometimes I’ll use one that has a little dash of red, purple or blue tape on it. The spoon is excellent on its own, although a half a worm as sweetener is good for specs. Jig the spoon by lifting it up with your rod tip and then following it down as it drops. Generally, you fish it just off bottom. Strikes will be hard!”
While there are many lures out there, some shine like diamonds, and others are about as dull as your grade school pencil. So next time you find yourself out looking for tackle at our local retailers such as D&R Sporting Goods, be sure to check the aisles for these lures. You won’t be disappointed.