basic types of bait are commonly used for Nebraska ice fishing.
Grubs and small worms are by far the most productive baits for
panfish such as bluegill, crappie, perch and rock bass. Baitfish
such as minnows, chubs and shiners do well for crappie and perch
and are highly favored by bigger game-fish such as bass, pike and
walleye. Another category, meat baits, includes strips of belly
meat from previously caught fish, perch eyes and strips of raw
beef, all of which may be used in waters where live bait is
prohibited. Artificial lures are the fourth category.
Grubs and Minnows
Many types of small worms and
grubs produce well for ice fishing, and some of the best can be
purchased by the dozen from bait shops. Waxworms and mousees are top
panfish baits and are usually readily available.
Ardent anglers who use large
amounts of bait during the season often order waxworms, mousees and
meal worms in large quantities from mail-order houses at a
Some anglers raise their own
bait. Though they probably don't save a great deal of money doing so,
it's an interesting project that involves a good deal of ingenuity and
tinkering -- something ice fishermen seem to enjoy. A pamphlet
detailing the culture of waxworms and meal worms is available from the
Game and Parks Commission
Meal worms are easy to raise,
although they are not usually as effective as waxworms or mousees.
Natural baits gathered from the wild are another alternative. Included
in this category are corn borers, catalpa worms and the worms found in
goldenrod galls. How ever, gathering bait can be tedious, and the
supply is not always dependable.
Baitfish are readily available
from bait shops wherever ice fishing is popular. It may be possible to
seine your own minnows in the winter, but for the small savings
involved, it hardly seems worth the trouble.
Small and medium-size minnows
work well on crappie and perch, while medium and large minnows also
entice bass, walleye, pike and other big fish. Fishermen pursuing
larger fish may also choose to bait up with a good-size chub or a
small bluegill. The latter must be taken from the same water in which
it is used for bait, according to Nebraska fishing regulations.
Artificial lures also are used
by ice fishermen, though they are rarely used alone. Most Michigan
anglers use artificial lures sweetened with live or meat bait. The
flash and action of the hardware attracts a fish's attention, while
the food appeals to its appetite.
The most common
artificial-and-bait combination is the small panfish jig of the
"teardrop" variety combined with a grub-type worm such as a waxworm.
Many anglers believe this combo is unbeatable for bluegill, and it
also works well on other panfish and bass.
"Teardrop" is the commercial
name of one particular lure, but the word is commonly applied to many
lures of the same general type. Generally, the smaller ones, those
constructed on No. 8 or No. 10 hooks and measuring less than one-half
inch overall, are the most effective for bluegill.
combination lures include standard open-water jigs and spoons or
Swedish Pimple-type icefishing hardware, enhanced with a minnow, grub
or strip of fish belly or red neat. A particularly potent bait for
yellow perch is a small spoon, jig, teardrop or a plain hook baited
with a perch eye.
Spoons are commonly used through
he ice. They flutter and flash effectively when jigged up and
down-about the only motion the lure can make when it is fished
vertically through a small hole. One lure, a jigging Ripely, swims and
wiggles in a circle below the hole when it is raised and lowered, and
is usually used without bait.