Jigging is by far the most effective technique for catching fishing. The amount of fish that I have caught from jigging baits is exponentially higher than surface lures or even live bait and bobbers.
When it comes to topwater fishing, that is not an option for the ice fisherman. Live bait can often produce a good day on the ice, but jigging is always an option. Jigging gives you the ability to work a bait slow or fast and really figure the fish out.
To be most effective with jigs, you need to have the right ones. You need to have a variety of the right ones because color and size play a part in all of it.
We have gathered a collection of the best ice fishing jigs. You will see some simple but effective colored jigs and some incredible minnow imitations to drop down that ice hole and get the fish to bite.
Our Top Picks
Tungsten Jig With Soft Plastic
Rapala Jigging Rap
Clam CPT TIKKA Minnow
Tungsten Jig With Soft Plastic
These jigs look like a sunset, and their large tungsten heads are enough to take your bait down deep into the water. I like this color set because it looks like a sunfish or a perch.
These fish are food for larger species and food for large specimens of the same species. These tungsten jigs can be purchased in 24 different color patterns. It is important not just to have the right jigs but also various colors and patterns.
These are straightforward jigs that can be rigged with live bait or soft plastics. Being made of tungsten means that you can throw these into the icy waters, reel up fish after fish, and have a jig that is mostly untouched. Tungsten is one of the toughest metal known to man.
This is a 5 pack of jigs in a single-color pattern. At this price, you can buy several packs of 5 in a variety of colors. Try this color, dark, and silver. These are simple but, by far, some of the best ice fishing jigs.
- Virtually Indestructible
- Multiple Color Patterns are Available
- UV Glow
- Needs Live Bait or Soft Plastic
Rapala Jigging Rap
Rapala has long been the master of the hard plastic minnow. With wildly popular product lines like the X Rap they have dominated this space. When it comes to ice fishing, their Jigging Rap takes ice fishing minnow imitation to the next level.
Rapala is known for hyper-realistic designs along with the paint and profile on these designs are very true to that. The variety of designs features things like a perfect perch imitation, a baby bass, and even a rainbow trout. Not to mention a bunch of shiny silvery blue patterns.
Each has its place in your tacklebox, and a variety of these Jigging Raps would go a long way. Sometimes it’s not the bait that the fish don’t want but the color you have chosen.
This minnow has two reversed hooks at the front and back of the bait and a treble hook at the center. These hooks are razor-sharp out of the box. It will be almost impossible for you to lose a fish if you set the hook on it.
If you are stocking a tackle box with the very best ice fishing jigs you should have something in there by Rapala.
- Beautiful Design
- Variety of Lifelike Patterns
- Plenty of Hooks
- Small Bait for Bigger Fish
Clam CPT TIKKA Minnow
The minnow imitation is one of the oldest and most effective fishing baits. This is one of the rare minnow jigs that is not designed for diving or topwater work. Most minnows have a plastic lip, but this actually has a lip on the back end.
Like the Rapala Jig Rap, this ice fishing jig is light on action but big on color presentation. That said, we shouldn’t discount a good bounce-off bottom technique which can drive fish crazy.
The Clam Tikka has three hooks built into the bait. If a fish comes anywhere near this thing, it is going to get hooked. There are single hooks at the mouth and tail end of this fish. Then a single treble hook hangs off the bottom.
There is a massive variety of colors that you can choose from. Variety of color is everything when it comes to choosing the best ice fishing jigs. I would recommend something bright, something dark, and something with a little shine to it.
- Three Hooks on Each Bait
- Variety of Colors
- Great Minnow Design
- Lacks Jigging Action
Acme Hyper Hammer TT
The Hyper Hammer is a very innovative bait. I feel like every time I look at this thing, I notice something else about it. It is a nice heavy swimming minnow at 1/8oz, so it will hit bottom for you. The shad-style body features a silver eye that is a great stimulator for fish.
The colors on these Hyper Hammers vary, but they are all brilliant patterns. Bright chartreuse to pink and anything else you can dream up. There is a single hook on the tail of this bait and a treble hook that sits under the head.
These swimming minnows are weighted to present with the nose down. It’s a very cool design and even has a little swivel at the center of the bait to make noise as it is jigged. Without a doubt a new design and one of the best ice fishing jigs.
This is a very cool bait that would work both for ice fishing and in open water when the ice melts. It is designed to jig up and down, but it also would swim and shine through the water in a way that fish would not be able to resist.
- Natural Swimming Orientation
- Hyper Colorful Designs
- Noise Maker
- No Dark Patterns for Cloudy Water
Demon Jig With Live Bait
Sometimes it’s the simplest design that can be the most effective. The beauty of jigging is that you do not need all the bells and whistles to be effective.
This type of jig can be effective on its own, but it would catch even more fish if it had a juicy worm or a live minnow on the back of it. It is designed to deliver a soft plastic or live bait.
When you look at the Demon Jig next to a piece of artwork like the Jigging Rap, you might think it is a no-brainer. Why would anyone take a simple two-nubbed jig with a bi-color presentation? The short answer is that fish don’t appreciate artwork they strike off of instinct.
Jigs like these are incredibly affordable, and they give you the ability to fill your tacklebox with a variety of colors to meet every situation. You want that variety when you are jigging because a simple change of color can make all the difference.
Demon jigs are regarded by many ice fishing anglers as some of the best ice fishing jigs you can use.
- Simple Design
- Very Affordable
- Massive Variety of Color
- Very Little Jigging Action
What Is Jigging
Jigs are weighted, and they are designed to sink either to a certain depth or to the bottom of the lake. This puts your bait where the fish are living. When you are jigging, you are moving a jig with live bait or a jig that presents like live bait through an area where there are fish.
You make your jigs move by jerking with your wrist, and this can make a jig without live bait look real to a fish. Playing with presentations, reel speed, and frequency of jerks is what jigging is all about.
The best ice fishing jigs will put your bait closest to the cover, weeds, or the bottom of the body of water you are fishing. That is where the fish are. It is a fishing technique that gives the angler the most control and, in my experience, has yielded the biggest fish.
Why Are the Best Ice Fishing Jigs So Effective?
Ice fishing limits some of your options when it comes to presentation. You cannot just run a buzz bait across the top of open water. You also cannot take long casts. Instead, you are limited to simply dropping your bait into an ice fishing hole.
Jigging gives you the ability to make the most out of that limited situation that you are in. The best ice fishing jigs take advantage of that limitation to make fish bite.
Deep Water Presentation
The best ice fishing jigs are weighted and designed to get deep down in the water. This deep water presentation means you can work a jig with an ice fishing flasher to locate fish and keep your bait at just the right distance from them.
Being able to get to the bottom of the lake is sometimes the only way to reach the fish.
Imitates Food Sources
The best ice fishing jigs are designed to imitate species that fish are eating. It might be hard to believe, but I have seen jigs out catch live bait, and a lot of that has to do with the action.
Imitating food sources is not just about looks. The most realistic bait on the market can only do so much just sitting in the water. How you jig your bait makes a world of difference, too.
Does that minnow look like a minnow and move like a minnow in the water? That is why jigging is so important because you can make that happen, and the fish will strike.
The Best Ice Fishing Jigs Trigger Bites
A jig’s color and action combined are what triggers a bite. Fish do not always bite because they are hungry. Many times a fish will strike when a fish moves into its territory.
You can get an aggravated fish to bite just as easily as a hungry one. Loud, rattling jigs will aggravate a fish, and they will strike. The Hyper Hammer has a built-in noise maker for just this reason.
Smooth jigs that are jerked consistently and then rested will give the look of a dying minnow to a fish that is easy prey. This can drive fish wild.
Each of the best ice fishing jigs that we have chosen has features that will help them trigger bites
Wrapping up the Best Ice Fishing Jigs
Now that you understand why and how these ice fishing jigs work so well, it is time to fill your tackle box. Every one of these ice fishing jigs is affordable, and many come with more than one per pack. So filling that tacklebox won’t break the bank.
The best ice fishing jigs are going to attract fish but also be able to stand up to the conditions of an ice fishing trip. If you decide to end that trip with some fish filets over a campfire, then you gotta have enough for everyone!
Finally, do not hesitate to change. A good metric is that after you have presented a jig 10 times without a bite it is time to change something. That could be a presentation, or it could be color, or it might be to change the type of bait altogether.
This is why it is so important that you have a well-stocked tackle box and quality ice fishing gear. it is not only about the type of baits but the color variety, too.
- About the Author
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.