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Pike fishing can be an exciting experience for a lot of anglers. Things get a little bit tougher when the weather gets cooler during winter especially since choosing the right baits for pike in winter can be tricky. In order to make your fishing easier, you can try out my pick of the best bait for big pike ice fishing.
- Our Top Big Pike Ice Fishing Bait Recommendations
- Best Big Pike Ice Fishing Overall: Eppinger Original Dardevle Spoon
- Best Big Pike Ice Fishing Spinnerbait: Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait
- Best Big Pike Ice Fishing Crankbait: Rapala Super Shad Rap
- Best Big Pike Ice Fishing Swimbait: Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait
- Best Spoon for Big Pike Ice Fishing: Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon
- Features to Consider for Bait for Big Pike Ice Fishing
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Top Big Pike Ice Fishing Bait Recommendations
With pike usually hiding in the deep waters during winter, your choice of baits can strongly influence the success of your fishing experience. This sharp-toothed species of fish have the reputation of being challenging to catch because of their tendency to rip through angler’s fishing lines.
Having the right set of baits is necessary to increase your chances of landing more pike, particularly the larger ones. This makes it important for you to properly evaluate your choices to help you choose the best baits for big pike ice fishing.
Best Big Pike Ice Fishing Overall: Eppinger Original Dardevle Spoon
The Eppinger Original Dardevle Spoon is one of the most popular baits for pike ice fishing among anglers. This classic bait has proven to be irresistible to pike and has helped several anglers to achieve successful ice fishing experiences for over 100 years. While it is not the flashiest bait, this bait’s simple design makes it one of the most effective baits on this list relative to others.
It has a concave shape that gives it its unique wiggling and wobbling action. This action sends the flash and vibration required to successfully catch the attention of big pike in the depths of the icy waters and draw them in to take a bite. The Eppinger Original Dardevle Spoon bait is also the most durable bait on this list guaranteeing extended usage. This is because it is made from high-quality metal.
It also features a single treble hook that is razor-sharp and strong enough to prevent even large pikes from tugging free after being caught. However, the painting on the body wears off over multiple uses. It weighs 0.75 ounces making it easy to cast and retrieve. It is also suitable for both casting and trolling, implying versatility. You can get this bait in any of the several available colors and sizes that are bright enough to draw in big pike in winter.
- Most durable bait on this list owing to its high-quality metal body
- Strong treble hook prevents pike from getting free
- Unique strong action grabs the attention of pike
- Loses visual appeal as painting wears off over time
- Can be difficult to tie on as it lacks a split ring
- Color: Yellow Diamond.
- Weight: 3/4 oz.
- Great for game fish like bass, walleye, muskee and pike.
Best Big Pike Ice Fishing Spinnerbait: Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait
The Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait is one of the best available inline spinners in the market. It was specially designed with large fish like the pike and muskies in mind. This is one of the several qualities that has made it remain a popular choice among anglers.
The Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait is made from Vibra FLX wireframe, a super tough material that makes it very durable. It also gives this bait an increased capability to withstand the aggression and impact of attacks from the species’ teeth.
This bait is the only one on my list with a 12-inch steel leader that prevents the pike from biting through your fishing line. However, it tends to get tangled. To ensure that this half-ounce bait gets bitten by the pike, it has been equipped with 2 parts that throw the surrounding pike into a frenzy.
Firstly, it has a Silo-Tek tail skirt. This tail skirt mimics a baitfish in distress through its undulating action. This draws in pike to take a bite at the bait. Secondly, it is one of the only two baits equipped with blades on my list.
These double willow blades create irresistible flashes and vibrations. This is topped with a realistic baitfish design characterized by large eyes and a painted gill plate that attracts pike. This bait is available in various color options such as sunfish, luminescent glowtruese, perch, and crawfish allowing usage in murky water. It is also suitable for all water depths, making it a great choice for the deep waters when ice fishing for pike.
- Strong steel leader protects the line from pike bites
- Silo-Tek tail and double willow blades create flashes and vibration that attract pike
- Leader tends to get entangled with the bait
- Blades tend to get blunt over continuous use
- Offers all the durability that fish demand with an ultra-tough Vibra-FLX wire frame that can stand...
- Each Pikee also comes with a 12-inch steel leader, so you have everything you need right out of the...
- Beyond being tough, this full-featured spinnerbait from BOOYAH serves up tremendous action
Best Big Pike Ice Fishing Crankbait: Rapala Super Shad Rap
The Rapala Super Shad Rap was definitely designed to attract large predators with a length of 5.5 inches. This bait is the larger version of the Rapala Shad Rap, and its size makes it a great option for ice fishing for big pikes and muskies in the summer. It offers some level of versatility as it can be both trolled and cast and comes in third behind the Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon in that regard. This crankbait is capable of withstanding the aggressiveness that pikes are famous for. This is thanks to the heavy-duty materials it is made of. The body is made of premium super tough balsa wood that makes it durable and long-lasting even after multiple bites.
The Rapala Super Shad Rap is the only bait on this list with stainless steel through-wire construction. This prevents the crankbait from getting destroyed when bitten by the strong teeth of the pike. It has a natural and realistic baitfish profile that makes it irresistible to pike.
It also features a natural swimming action which gives a perfect imitation of the movement of prey that pike usually hunts like mullet and shad. This is because it is hand-tuned and tank-tested.
The crankbait has two sharp VMC black nickel treble hooks attached to it that help to prevent the pike from wriggling free after biting. However, these hooks may not be rugged enough and may need to be replaced with time. At a weight of 1.625 ounces, it has a maximum running depth of 9 feet which is ideal for ice fishing pike.
- Stainless steel wire-through construction makes it withstand the aggressiveness of pike
- Premium balsa wood body makes it durable for multiple use
- Hooks tend to come off when tugged by large pike
- May not be adaptable for fishing small pike, thereby restricting use case
- Super Tough Abachi Wood Construction
- Natural baitfish profile.
- Life-like patterns.
Best Big Pike Ice Fishing Swimbait: Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait
The Strike King Shadlicious Swimbait was designed to be discriminatory. This is because it has a reputation among professional anglers for attracting only big pike. This is the only soft plastic bait on this list. However, that has not deterred its functions.
The soft body of this bait allows it to sink easily into the water while realistically mimicking the natural movements of baitfish that pike forage. It has a plastic curved tail that generates a back and forth motion.
This is topped with the realistic painting of 3D eyes, fins, scales, and gill plate on the body. A combination of these features triggers the predator instincts in the pike. You can attach this bait to an internal jig head, an open jig head, or a weighted hook allowing you various combination options. This makes the Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait the most versatile bait on my list. However, this bait tends to fall apart too easily because of its fragile nature.
Keep in mind that to maximize this bait, you will have to pair the bait with a hook that matches its size and use a slow and steady retrieve while ice fishing. The Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait is available in almost 10 realistic colors and paintings. This gives you a wide variety of options in terms of water conditions when ice fishing pike.
- Superb consistent action that pike cannot resist
- Can be adapted to multiple styles, making it the most versatile bait on this list
- Falls apart too easily because it is too fragile
- Screw head tends to damage the bait too much
- The Shadalicious swimbait is designed for the discriminating fisherman.
- Every feature, from the action to the lifelike colors, is designed with one thing in mind…To Catch...
- Rig on either an open jig head or with a weighted hook and fish with a slow, steady retrieve.
Best Spoon for Big Pike Ice Fishing: Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon
The Silver Minnow Spoon from Johnson is one of the best baits for fishing big pike that you should very well consider. This bait is highly efficient or boasts good quality.
It is designed with top-tier brass and metal and has a hook that is tucked behind the spoon in a very sleek manner that aids efficiency when fishing. This design ensures that the pike can bite on it easily. However, this hook can sometimes be too fragile causing it to break.
The brass blades on the spoon make it suitable for long casts when ice fishing for big pike. This spoon’s body features a 35 degrees angle which is thicker towards the middle of the spoon. This allows you to easily rock it in a back and forth motion when retrieving it. This wobbling motion effectively mimics the motion of real baitfish and produces a natural vibration action, attracting nearby pike to take the bait.
Like the Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait, this is another versatile bait for pike fishing. You can troll this bait, jig it or just twitch it at the bottom to suit your peculiar fishing conditions. It is available in a number of sizes and realistic colors and patterns that are attractive to pike.
- Excellent design that aids efficiency
- Superb casting abilities make it suitable for fishing pike in ice
- Hooks are not as durable as the rest of the spoon and can easily break off
- Tends to spin when retrieved too quickly
- It has relatively small sizes which may impact effectiveness
- Fishing Lure with metal weed guard
- Brass blade designed for long casts
- Plated with pure silver or 24K gold for a Brighter flash than chrome or brass Spoons
Features to Consider for Bait for Big Pike Ice Fishing
Choosing the right bait for big pike ice fishing can be tricky. However, this does not make it impossible. There are a number of features you should be on the lookout for when selecting your bait. These features can significantly influence the success of your pike ice fishing.
|Eppinger Original Dardevle Spoon||Spoon||0.75 ounces||High-quality metal||5.6 inches|
|Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait||Spinnerbait||0.5 ounce||Alloy steel||6.1 inches|
|Rapala Super Shad Rap||Crankbait||1.625 ounces||Balsa wood||5.5 inches|
|Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait||Swimbait||1.6 ounces||Synthetic||3.5 inches|
|Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon||Spoon||¾ ounce||Brass, metal||2 ¾ inches|
Generally, there are different categories of baits that are suitable for pike ice fishing. Spoons like Eppinger Original Dardevle Spoon do not resemble any baitfish. However, their design allows them to flash and flutter while making realistic movements that draw in pike.
Soft plastic lures like the Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait mimic the movements of small baitfish and you can choose colors that match where you are fishing. There are also blade and spinnerbaits like the Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait.
These baits create irresistible movements and flashes. Your choice of style should depend on the specific location where you are fishing and your fishing technique.
It is not uncommon for anglers to use micro baits when ice fishing. However, while they can be caught using smaller baits, it is best to go with larger baits. This is because pike are very aggressive predators looking to consume sizeable prey.
Using a large bait allows you to take advantage of this nature. Bigger baits like the Rapala Super Shad Rap are more visible than small baits from a distance. They also have better movement because they have more weight.
The optimum range for bait size should be between 3 and 6 inches. This will reduce the chances of your bait being picked up by small species.
The material used in making the bait is also important as it affects the performance of the bait. Most spooners are usually made from curved metal that gives the bait its shimmer and unique movement in the water.
The other baits that are more traditional looking are usually made from wood like the Rapala Super Shad Rap, plastic, like the Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait, metal, or even a combination of all three.
Spinner baits are designed with hard metal wire frames and other flexible materials that mimic the flowing fins of baitfish. Some swimbaits are designed to mimic the swimming motion of live baitfish with the flexible plastic material they are made from.
Color and Flash
Pike are visual predators that have a strong sense of sight. This means they tend to act suspiciously easily about bait and may be hesitant to take just any bait. You must choose baits that have a realistic appearance in terms of color and flash.
You should incorporate colors like black, silver, yellows, gold, brass, bright green, orange, whites, and other color combinations that provide great contrast.
You can easily get the flash that will attain flash that will attract pike from even in the deep waters by using blade baits like the Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon, spinnerbait like the Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait, beads, and spinners. You can also use spoons that can reflect any light source.
When pike decide to attack a prey, they shift their focus from the input from their lateral line to what they can see instead. This allows them to notice the subtle movements made by baits, such as the Rapala Super Shad Rap even from a distance.
You want to choose a bait that has realistic movements. This will help to increase the chances of a curious pike taking the bait. The bait should also give off metallic reflections and silhouettes that are similar to that off baitfish pike usually forage on.
When choosing a bait, you want one that glides down into the water instead of sinking when you drop it from the ice hole. A bait with a good glide can easily move away from the ice hole when you cast it even when there is no current. If there is a current, the bait with a good glide such as the Silver Minnow Spoon from Johnson can move even further away from the ice hole. This is important for two reasons:
- It allows you to widen your reach for fishing, as much as 10 feet away from the ice hole
- It makes the bait more realistic
Pike have a sensitive lateral line. This helps them to detect any vibrations that baitfish make when they are moving or when they are injured. Pike have rudimentary hearing parts inside their heads that allow them to sense sounds.
This makes it easy for them to accurately pinpoint the location of wriggling baitfish. They can also sense baits that flutter, rattle flash, or buzz such as the Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait gives off. This easily triggers a feeding frenzy in pike.
When choosing your baits, you want something that makes clicking, knocking, or rattling noises to catch their attention.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Do Big Pike Hang Out in Winter?
Big pike tend to hang out in bays and in points leading to bays during winter because of the migration of baitfish. If the bay has enough combination habitat and enough deep water, they hand out there throughout the winter. However, they also tend to prefer a main-lake habitat around the mid-season.
What Do Pike Eat During the Winter?
The diet of large pike in winter is grossly made up of different prey fish such as yellow perch, shad, crappies, bluegill, chub, minnows, and rainbow trout. It also includes smaller mammals like mice and even young pike occasionally. Juvenile pike have a slightly different diet as they primarily feed on aquatic crustaceans and smaller insects.
When is the Best Time of the Day to Ice Fish for Big Pike?
The best time of the day to go ice fishing for big pike is early in the morning till early afternoon. This is because pike like to feed when the water is still cool. However, they can still feed all day. So, keep in mind that their peak times could change depending on your specific location.
Pike are a thrilling species, particularly for ice fishing. These large fish will put up an epic fight through the ice once they are hooked. This is what makes it important to choose the right hooks. However, the most important feature remains the bait’s appearance. It must be attractive to the pike. Keep these in mind when choosing your bait.