5 Essential Ice Fishing Jigs – Pro Tips!

5 Essential Ice Fishing Jigs

This article will list the 5 essential ice fishing jigs. Jigs are by far the most effective ice fishing lures. This is due in part to the need for a vertical presentation. Most are colorful in order to attract the attention of game fish. Anglers often combine an ice fishing jig with live bait. This is an extremely effective technique!

ice fishing jigs

There are many different ice fishing jigs offered to anglers by lure manufacturers. The choice can be overwhelming. These options will be narrowed down in this article to the 5 best and most versatile lures.

The 5 essential ice fishing jigs are;

  • VMC Neon Moon Eye jig

  • Northland Whistler jig

  • Clam Drop Kick jig

  • HT Enterprises Marmooska jig

  • Northland Tackle Bro Bug jig

Ice fishing jig types

Ice fishing jigs can basically be broken down into two categories; vertical and horizontal presented jigs. This is achieved by the location of the line tie as well as the weight placement. Some ice fishing jigs are even a bit of a hybrid, combining the two. Both styles can be effective, with horizontal jigs being the most popular ice fishing jigs used by anglers.

ice fishing with jigs

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Many modern ice fishing jigs are made from Tungsten. This is a very dense material, allowing for decent weight in a very small packages. Ice fishing jigs can be purchased that are extremely light, 1/64 ounce and even lighter. Tungsten allows for that. Several ice fishing jigs have “keepers” which help keep both soft plastic and live baits on the hook better.

Anglers often associate ice with with jigs and panfish, and for good reason. These tiny lures are perfect for the small mouth of a bluegill or yellow perch. Also, fish in the cold water usually do not require, or desire, a big meal. However, larger game fish will certainly take them as well.

5 essential ice fishing jigs

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Anglers who would like to read more about ice fishing can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “A Complete Guide to Ice Fishing” for $6 by clicking on the title link.

ice fishing jigs

Techniques for ice fishing with jigs

As mentioned earlier, jigs are favored by many anglers who go ice fishing. Jigs are perfect for a vertical presentation in deep water, whether through the ice or in open water. The angler can control the depth being worked, usually in conjunction with a sonar of some type.

ice fishing jigs

Jigs can be fished plain, with a soft plastic grub or body, with live bait, or any combination. A tiny jig with a soft plastic grub tipped with a waxie or mealworm is a deadly combination for just about all species. The jig and body add color and action while the grub provides taste and smell.

A bare jig head is a terrific vehicle to present a live bait, especially minnows and nightcrawlers. The jig head provides weight and flash along with a hook, all in one tidy unit. This allows anglers with a precise presentation and control of the offering.

ice fishing for crappie

Subtle presentations work best when ice fishing with jigs

In most cases, anglers using subtle, finesse presentations will be more successful when ice fishing with jigs. The metabolism of a fish slows down in the cold water, especially bluegill, bass, and panfish. Very subtle movements of the jig usually work best. Anglers can start at the bottom and work back to the surface, or work schools of fish seen on the sonar. Less really is more.

tip ups

There are exceptions to this rule, like in most forms of fishing. Trout and northern pike are quite active under the ice and will respond to a more aggressive presentation. The same applies to yellow perch, particularly when they are schooled up and become competitive. Larger jigs are also better for presenting larger live baits such as minnows to walleye, lake trout, and other species. Cut baits are effective through the ice and can certainly be fished on a jig as well.

Top ice fishing jigs

While most of the 5 essential ice fishing jigs are similar, there are characteristics of each that differentiate them from each other. Therefore, each jig will be covered in detail below.

VMC Neon Moon Eye jig

ice fishing jigs

The VMC Neon Moon Eye jig is an excellent ice fishing jig! It has a round, aspirin shaped head with a realistic holographic eye. This lure is available in several sizes and bright, fish-attracting color patterns. The hook is black nickle plated and strong. The jig eyelet location results in a horizontal presentation. It also has a keeper which helps hold both bait and soft plastic bodies in place.

moon eye jig chart

Click link to shop Amazon for VMC Neon Moon Eye jigs

Northland Whistler jig

walleye trolling lure

The Northland Whistler jig is one of the ice fishing jigs that is meant to be used on larger fish such as walleye and lake trout. It has a propeller which puts out a lot of flash and vibration. This makes it an excellent choice when visibility is limited. It works well with both live bait and soft plastic baits. The Whistler jig is available in 1/8, ¼, and 3/8 ounce sizes and a dozen colors.

Click link to shop Amazon for Whistler jigs

Clam Drop Kick jig

drop kick jig

The Clam Drop Kick jig is another very effective ice fishing jig. It was designed by legendary angler Dave Genz. It has a patented design with a 90 degree hook that is strong with a wide gap. The Clam jig also has a large tie on the eye. These result in a very good hook up ratio. Also, due to the design, the jig has a very defined action, as it “kicks” off to the side, thus the name. It also shows up very strongly on sonar units, making it easier to fish. Anglers can add a soft plastic bait, live bait, or both. This jig is available in twelve colors and in 1/32, 1/16, and 3/64 ounce sizes.

Click link to shop Amazon for Clam Drop Kick jigs

HT Enterprises Marmooska jig

marmooska jig

Click link to shop Amazon for Marmooska jigs

The Marmooska jig is another popular and effective ice fishing jig. It has a unique design that results in the hook pivoting as a fish takes it, resulting in a better hook up ratio, especially when the bite is light. The heads have a durable, high quality finish. It is available in several sizes and quite a few colors. It really works best for panfish with a live brub or piece of nightcrawler attached.

Northland Tackle Bro Bug jig

bro bug

Click link to shop Amazon for Bro Bug jigs

The Northland Tackle Bro Bug jig has a pointed head which results in a gliding, swimming action that attracts fish, especially when a subtle presentation is needed. It also has large, realistic eyes. The Bro Bug jig is tiny, being available in 1/72 and 1/64 ounce sizes. It has a wire keeper to help plastic and live baits stay on the hook. Northland also offers anglers two other ice fishing jig options in the Mud Bug and Gill-Getter models.

In conclusion, this article on the 5 essential ice fishing jigs will help anglers choose the best jig to use through the ice!




Jim Klopfer

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Chesapeake Bay waters. Capt Jim has been creating an writing articles about fishing for decades, contributing to many regional and national publications. He also lives part time in the North Carolina mountains where he fishes for trout and other species. Capt Jim Klopfer is a wel rounded angler with 50 years fishing experience, and he loves to share what he has learned with other anglers!

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