Ice anglers, just like open water anglers, have lots of options when it comes to lure selection. There are a bunch of different lures we can use to catch walleyes, perch, crappies, and whatever else under the ice. But if you were to look in the tackleboxes of most ice anglers, you would probably see some spoons.
Spoons come in all colors, sizes, and shapes. You might wonder what the difference is in the various spoons, and if those differences really matter. They do! When the fish are hungry and willing to bite, they’ll eat just about anything you put down there. But when they get a little selective, the shape, color, and action of the spoon can make a big difference. Here are some things you should consider when you’re trying to decide which spoon to tie onto your line.
Size should be your first consideration. If you’re after walleyes, a larger spoon will probably be a good starting point. An eighth-of-an-ounce is probably as small as you would want to start; the quarter-ounce size is usually a good starting point.
For perch and crappies, start at the eighth-ounce size. If they don’t go for that, move to a smaller spoon. Usually the sixteenth-ounce size is as small as you will want to go for perch or crappies, but you never know.
Next consider color. In dark water, brighter colors are a good idea most of the time, but not always. In clear water, more natural colors are a good start, but again, you never know. Keep trying different colors until the fish show you what they prefer.
Now, perhaps the most important consideration: action. Some spoons fall straight down, others have a very distinct flutter or wobble. The Forage Minnow Spoon has a unique design that enables it to flutter slowly as it falls. When it’s doing this, the spoon looks just like a wounded minnow. I’ve taken a bunch of walleyes on this bait when nothing else would work.
The Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon is one of the most popular and productive spoons in existence. It fishes heavy and has a pretty much straight drop. It wobbles a bit, but not as much as the Forage Minnow Spoon. The Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon will travel to the bottom faster and really turns the fish on at times.
New this year is the UV Buck-Shot Spoon. It has some colors that really “shine.” In stained water or when the fish have been pressured, this spoon is a killer.
Another action to consider is a spoon that glides as it sinks. This spoon covers a wider area when it falls, making it visible to more fish. It also falls slower than most spoons. Again, it’s a different action that will appeal to fish that want a slower moving bait. A good example of a gliding spoon would be the new Buck-Shot Glider Spoon.
Presentation may be even more important under the ice than it is in open water. Remember, the fish can really get a good look at your bait under the ice. Give them the bait they want the way they want it, and you’ll be a more successful ice angler.
Image courtesy Bob Jensen