Lake trout – they’re big, bad, and put up a thrilling fight – but they can be a little finicky when it comes to lures. They behave a little differently than other species commonly targeted on the ice and tend to hang out deeper in the water column than pike, walleye, or perch.
They’re an excellent species to target on the hardwater due to their aggressiveness during the winter months.
While most anglers are familiar with the ever-popular soft plastic tube jig, fewer are aware that trout can be caught with a wide variety of other lures. Let’s take a look at some of the best lake trout lures for ice fishing in more detail.
Quick Answer: 9 Best Ice Fishing Lures for Lake Trout
- Best Tube Jig: Mizmo Soft Plastic
- Also Consider: Zoom Salty Super Tube-Pack
- Best Spoon: Williams Ice Jig
- Also Consider: Bay De Noc Laker Taker
- Best Lipless Crankbait: Rapala Rippin’ Rap
- Also Consider: RUNCL ProBite Lipless Crankbait
- Best Swimbait: Strike King Rage Swimmer
- Best Airplane Jig: Northland Magnum Airplane Jig
- Also Consider: Rapala Snap Rap
Types of Ice Fishing Lures for Lake Trout
When it comes to ice fishing lures for lake trout, variety is key. When one lure isn’t producing any results, simply switch it up and see what happens, you might be surprised with the results!
- Tube Jigs: Far and away the gold standard when it comes to ice fishing for lake trout, white or silver-colored tube jigs are a proven and effective method of attracting the lake trout bite. These lures mimic cisco and shiners – the lake trout’s natural prey.
- Spoons: Spoons have been around forever, and are a long time favorite of many ice fishermen. They give off a lot of flash and flutter as they sink, which imitates an injured or dying baitfish struggling through the water.
- Lipless Crankbaits: Lipless crankbait may have been developed for open water bass fishing, but they’re also absolutely deadly when it comes to vertical jigging for lake trout. They feature an internal rattle, as well as a wiggle-wobble action that drives most fish wild.
- Swimbaits: Excellent at mimicking the movement of swimming baitfish, these lures feature soft plastic bodies with paddle tails that swim through the water like real baitfish. They work similarly to tube jigs when it comes to attracting the trout bite.
- Airplane Jigs: Last but certainly not least, are these semi-circle swimming vertical jigs. They were originally developed for open water trolling, but work surprisingly well under the ice. A bucktail causes the jig to move in an unpredictable manner – similar to a panicking baitfish trapped under the ice.
Best Tube Jig: Mizmo Soft Plastic
Nothing beats the simplicity of a white/silver colored soft plastic tube jig. These jigs perfectly imitate the look of typical lake trout forage, making them irresistible to a hungry laker. A 3 ½ to 5 ½ inch length is a good choice in most bodies of water.
You can rig these soft plastics with a ¼ ounce jig head, which will cause them to fall to the bottom in a spiraling pattern. You also attach them to a minnow jig, so that the jig head sits outside the front looking like the head of a baitfish.
Mizmo makes this bait in a wide variety of colors and patterns, for lake trout the white, pearl, and silver-colored ones tend to work the best.
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Each tube is salt impregnated with Mizmo’s proprietary scent
- Also works well for catching bass, walleye, and crappie
Also Consider: Zoom Salty Super Tube-Pack
Zoom makes some of the best soft plastics on the market – and these bad boys are no exception. They’re hand-dipped for a tougher, thicker body, and are loaded with salt to give fish that realistic taste.
The thicker bodied design makes these lures more durable, while still remaining easy to rig and set the hook. Two sizes are available (3.75 inch and 4.25 inch), both of which are good options for lake trout fishing.
While they work exceptionally well for ice fishing, you can also use them year-round with great effectiveness.
- Hand-dipped for a thicker, tougher body
- Loaded with salt to increase hold time by fish
- Two sizes are available (3.75 and 4.25 inch)
Best Spoon: Williams Ice Jig
Born in the great white north, these spoons have proven their effectiveness in the lake trout rich regions of Northern Ontario. It works just as well jigged vertically on the ice as when it’s used on the open water.
An elongated profile creates an enticing baitfish looking presentation, which drives lake trout, walleye, whitefish, and other fish wild. Williams offers the jig in three different sizes (J50, J60, and J70) with the two larger sizes being appropriate for most sized lake trout.
An interesting feature of these lures is their double limerick side hooks – which give additional options for hooking a monster laker.
- Elongated baitfish profile
- Highly effective for both open water and vertical jigging
- Double limerick side hooks give additional hookset opportunities
Also Consider: Bay De Noc Laker Taker
Bay De Noc is legendary in the ice fishing world for their ‘Swedish pimple’ spoon, but this lake trout specific spoon is just as deadly. Lake trout prefer a slow to moderate retrieve, which at 1 foot for every 18 yards of line is exactly what you’ll get.
These spoons are originally designed for slow trolling, but they’re also highly effective for vertical jigging. They’re constructed from solid .062 brass and feature several different finishes to imitate a variety of local forage fish.
An anti-tarnish lacquer ensures long-lasting reliability, while its slow flutter creates an irresistible action that drives lake trout, salmon, and pike wild.
- Slow to moderate action
- Heavy-duty brass construction
- Features several different finishes to match forage fish
Best Lipless Crankbait: Rapala Rippin’ Rap
Rapala’s rippin’ rap is one of the most effective lake trout lures on the market – due to its distinct sound and vibration profile. It features a unique sound chamber with internal BB’s that create an enticing sound with maximum vibration.
A translucent textured body along with durable holographic foil creates a visual effect that lakers can’t help but strike. Two treble hooks on the tail and belly give you multiple opportunities to hook fish, while the lure tends to sink horizontally in the water column – which is more realistic than other lures.
It’s available in a number of different sizes and patterns, with the larger sizes 6 and 7 being ideal for lake trout fishing.
- Distinct BB sound and vibration profile
- Translucent textured body with durable holographic foil
- Dual treble hooks on belly and tail
Also Consider: RUNCL ProBite Lipless Crankbait
When it comes to cutting edge lures, it doesn’t get more interesting than this incredible looking lipless crankbait. The unique design takes a highly effective lure and gives it a fresh paint job to make it look like a bait ball of natural forage.
Like other lipless crankbaits, this lure creates plenty of rattle and vibration, alerting any predators in the area. 3D tooling and multi-layered paint create a highly realistic looking bait ball, which lake trout absolutely devour!
Live target makes the lure in a wide variety of different colors and realistic patterns, so you can easily find the ideal match for your local species.
- Unique baitball design
- Imitates the look of a tight ball of natural forage fish
- Rattles and vibrates to draw in the lake trout
Best Swimbait: Strike King Rage Swimmer
Cheap, simple, and highly-effective, the strike king rage swimmer is excellent at mimicking the natural movements of a baitfish swimming through the water. It’s soft ribbed body and thin, pancake-shaped tail creates frantic vibrations that work well at any speed.
Rig the bait with a jig head for a realistic presentation, and use an up and down motion to drive the trout wild. Similar to soft plastic tube jigs, white, pearl, and silver colors work well, as they imitate the appearance of shad or minnows.
- Highly versatile soft plastic swimbait
- Perfectly imitates the movement of baitfish in the water
- Paddle tail works well at any retrieval speed5
Best Airplane Jig: Northland Magnum Airplane Jig
Specifically designed with the ice angler in mind, this handsome-looking jig is absolutely deadly when it comes to targeting lake trout, northern pike, and other freshwater monsters. The lure can be vertically jigged, or allowed to spiral downwards in a controlled semi-circle.
You can also reel it up from the bottom with slight jigging motions every so often. A durable bucktail/mylar tail helps control the motion in the water and also helps weed out smaller fish from taking your lure.
Northland makes the lure in a variety of different colors and patterns, so you can easily find the right fit for your local lake.
- Moves in a controlled semi-circle pattern under the ice
- Ideal for lake trout, northern pike, and other lunkers
- Available in both 1 oz. and ½ oz. sizes
Also Consider: Rapala Snap Rap
While it hardly needs any introduction, if you’re not familiar, this jig is an absolute legend under the ice. It’s fished with a snap and retrieve method, darting upward on the snap, and then smoothly gliding back to the bottom.
A gliding tail wing assists with smooth movement through the water, while dual fixed hooks at the head and tail create multiple opportunities for hooking a fish.
Both 5/16 and 7/8 oz. sizes are available, with the larger size being well suited to targeting most lake trout.
- A gliding tail wing creates a smooth downward glide on the release
- Designed to be used with a snap dart retrieve
- Highly durable construction