Walleye are one of the most sought after species both on and off the hardwater. Catching them in the winter is without a doubt more challenging than at other times of the year – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done! All you’ll need is a little patience, a willingness to test to see what works, and some of the best ice fishing lures for walleye to get you started.
While walleye certainly respond aggressively to live bait, it’s a misconception that they won’t bite at artificial lures.
Winter walleye can be caught using a variety of different lures – including spoons, swimming jigs, and the ever-popular jig. The key to a productive outing is matching your lure’s size and color to the water conditions and walleye behavior.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ice fishing lures for walleye on the planet – so you’ll have a cooler full of walleye in no time!
Quick Answer: 8 Best Ice Fishing Lures for Walleye
- Best Overall: Rapala Jigging Rap
- Best Spoon: Bay de Noc Swedish Pimple
- Also Consider: Sebile Vibrato
- Best Swimming Lure: Lunkerhunt Straight Up Jig
- Also Consider: Rapala Snap Rap Fishing Lure
- Best Jig: Bait Rigs Oddball Jig
- Also Consider: Northland Tackle Whistler Jig
- Best Lipless Crankbait: RUNCL ProBite Lipless Crankbait
Types of Walleye Ice Fishing Lures
When it comes to catching walleye on the ice, there are several tried and true lures you need to have.
- Spoons: Spoons are one of the most effective methods of attracting the walleye bite. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, which is why picking up a variety is a good idea. The action mimics an erratic baitfish darting through the water. Spoons give off a lot of flash, so they’re most effective in clear water.
- Swimming Jigs: Swimming jigs are jigs specifically designed to imitate bait swimming through the water column. They differ from traditional jigs in that they’re designed to ‘swim’ upright in the water rather than stand up on the bottom. Swimming jigs are typically used in areas with a fair amount of cover where the walleye are waiting to ambush their prey.
- Jig Heads: Jigs are a longtime favorite of many walleye fishermen – and for good reason – they produce results. Tip the jip with a live minnow, and you’ve got yourself a presentation that no walleye can pass up.
- Lipless Crankbaits: While they may not be the most common walleye ice fishing lures, these noisy, vibrating lures create plenty of commotion that sure to draw in any walleye in the area. Due to their noise and flash, these lures are a good choice when you’re not having any luck with other lures.
Top 8 Ice Fishing Lures for Walleye
When it comes to ice fishing lures, there’s only one word to describe the Rapala Jigging Rap – legendary. This minnow-shaped lure excels at swimming half-circles under the ice and works particularly well when jigging vertically.
It features a single reversed hook on the nose and tail, as well as a treble hook mounted to the belly. It can also be bottom bounced with excellent results.
The lure is available in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and sizes – including glow in the dark patterns for going after those nighttime walleye. For most walleye, the 07 to 09 size generally works well, while the smaller sizes are good choices for smaller species.
In addition to being an absolute magnet for walleye under the ice, these lures also work well for fishing during other times of the year.
- Versatile lure works well for vertical jigging and bottom bouncing.
- Available in a wide variety of patterns and colors including glow in the dark.
- Single hook on nose and tail as well as a treble hook on the belly.
Made specifically with the ice angler in mind, these gorgeous spoons create plenty of flash for fishing in the dark murky conditions under the ice. These lures have been used in Sweden for over 100 years, and the basic design hasn’t changed.
A sharp jigging motion with your wrist will cause the blade to flutter and flicker – which will draw in nearby walleye like a moth to a flame. It can be fished on its own or tipped with bait, and also works well for fishing during other parts of the year.
Gold, nickels, as well as florescent orange/yellow all work well in dark, murky water, while sized 3 and 4 spoons are a good place to start for most walleye.
- Specifically designed with the ice fisherman in mind.
- Flashy spoons reflect plenty of light in dark environments.
- A sharp jigging motion creates a flutter/flicker that entices the walleye bite.
The sebile vibrato doesn’t quite fit in one of the traditional lure categories. It’s one part spoon, one part swimming jig, and 100 percent walleye magnet. The all-metal lure creates an enticing mix of flash and thump that imitates a struggling baitfish down to a tee.
The wide belly and thin backside create a shape similar to a spoon, while two end treble hooks connect by a thru wire to create a rock-solid design that can take a serious beating. The lure vibrates on the pull and flutters on the fall, which creates a dazzling effect that no predator can resist.
Ideal for vertical jigging through the ice, the lure also performs impressively while casting or trolling – and is particularly renowned as a searchbait.
- Metal lure is a cross between a swimming jig and spoon.
- Two treble hooks connected by sturdy thu-wire.
- Also performs impressively as a searchbait.
Best Swimming Lure
Incredibly lifelike, well-balanced, and featuring an enticing action, the Lunkerhunt Straight Up makes a fantastic choice for triggering big fish to bite. These lures can be worked aggressively for reaction strikes, or slowly for feeding strikes.
Heavyweight lead construction produces a fast dashing descent, which will require you to be fairly active while fishing it. Single hooks on the nose and tail – as well as a treble hook mounted to the belly – give you plenty of opportunities for a successful hookup.
The lure is available in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and sizes, with the ½ ounce size being a good fit for most walleye.
- Incredibly lifelike patterns mimic baitfish to a tee.
- Can be fished fast or slow.
- Heavyweight lead construction creates a rapid descent.
- Multiple hooks for greater hookup odds.
Similar to the Rapala jigging rap above – the snap rap is designed to be used with a snap retrieve method – darting upwards and then quickly gliding towards the bottom. It features a gliding tail wing that helps it glide smoothly towards the bottom at the tail end of the retrieve.
Durable construction means you can use the lure in a variety of different conditions, including sandy and gravely bottoms. Try to avoid using it in weeds and heavy cover though, as the gliding motion can get you into trouble in thicker cover.
The lure features two reverse fixed hooks at the head and tail, as well as a treble hook mounted to the belly. It comes in both 5/16 and 7/8 oz. weights, with the 5/16th ounce weight being a good choice for typical walleye fishing.
- Designed to be used with a snap dart retrieve.
- Unique gliding tail wing creates smooth glide towards bottom.
- Durable construction.
Eye-catching, rock-solid, and glow-in-the-dark, these unique jigs are the ideal choice when it comes to vertical walleye jigging. The jig creates a unique teeter-totter action when vertically jigged, that drives walleye crazy.
Each strontium-based jig utilizes a high-performance bent Mustad hook, with extra room in the throat area which increases bait space and improves hookup percentage. The jig will keep a minnow or other bait upright on the bottom – right where the walleye can strike.
A wide variety of colors and patterns are available, with the FireTiger color being a favorite among many walleye anglers.
- Strontium-based jig utilizes a unique high-performance Mustad hook.
- Unique teeter-totter action when vertically jigged.
- Hook design leads to greatly improved hooksets.
These unique jigs combine a deadly slow-sinking action with a helicopter blade that flashes and flutters as it moves through the water. It helicopters down at half the speed of similarly weighted jigs and also creates a ‘whistle’ that triggers walleye and other gamefish.
While they might look a little cartoony – don’t let that fool you – these jigs are seriously effective. Each jig has a small plastic bait collar that keeps your bait firmly in place. The combination of flash, vibration, and bright colors make these jigs highly effective in both clear and stained water.
Each hook comes razor sharp from the factory, so you’ll have no problem hooking that trophy walleye.
- Unique jigs use a helicopter blade that flutters and flashes as it moves.
- ‘Whistle’ noise attracts walleye and other gamefish.
- Works well in both clear and murky water.
- Bait collar holds trailer or live bait in position.
Best Lipless Crankbait
A lipless crankbait is a great option to have in your tackle box when you’re having a hard time attracting the walleye bite. These lures make plenty of noise and vibration, which can entice a reluctant walleye to move in and strike.
The colors and patterns are highly lifelike and realistic, while multiple sound chambers create different sound qualities that combine to create a seriously attractive noise. A wide flat spot on the head – combined with an oversized belly – creates a side to side wobble that provokes aggressive strikes.
Two oversized EWG style treble hooks deliver superior hooksets, which helps increase your hookup and landing ratio.
- Side to side wobble creates plenty of flash in the water.
- Different sound chambers create enticing rattle.
- Highly realistic colors and patterns seal the deal with finicky fish.
With so many options out there, how do you find the best ice fishing lures for walleye?
You can’t really go wrong with any of the above options, so picking up a few different colors from each type makes sense. This gives you the ability to switch it up if you’re not having any luck with a particular lure color or type.
Another tip when you’re not having any luck is adding some bait to the end of your lure. Minnows – either live or cut – are a reliable standby for enticing the most reluctant walleye to bite.
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I’ve loved being in the outdoors for as long as I can remember. I grew up fishing, canoeing, and camping throughout the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. It’s what lead me to start this site and share my passions for fishing, diving, kayaking and more. Nowadays you can find me writing about my passions or (preferably!) preparing for my next outdoor adventure.