Are you looking for the best ice fishing lures for panfish, but not sure if you should a plastic worm, a hard or some sort of live bait?
If so, then you are in the right place.
In this article we are going to take a look at what we would like to consider the top 7 best panfish ice fishing lures.
We will give a quick description of the lure followed by the best way to fish it to catch more panfish.
Let’s get started…
The Best Ice Fishing Lures For Panfish – My Top 7 Picks
Here is a quick preview of our top 7 best panfish ice fishing lures, please continue reading below for a closer look at each one.
- VMC Wax Tail Jig, Crappie Minnow
- VMC Tungsten Nymph Jig
- VMC Tungsten Chandelier Jig 1/16oz Glow Chartreuse
- Lindy Quiver Spoon
- Lindy Rattl’N Flyer Spoon
- Lindy Ice Worm Jig
- Rapala Jigging Rap
You May Also Enjoy Reading: The Best Ice Fishing Lures For Crappie
VMC Wax Tail Jig
To begin with, let’s take a closer look at one of our favorite crappie lures it is the VMC Wax Tail Jig.
This lure has proved to be very effective in catching crappie, but it will catch you many bluegill and pumpkinseeds as well.
This is a small plastic worm with a skinny tail designed to imitate a small crappie minnow. While available in many different colors and sizes, this particular option is 1/100 ounce.
I know what you are thinking, how am I going to use my fat fingers to rig a 1/100 jig?
Don’t worry, the worms come pre-rigged with a tungsten jig.
Simply take them out of the package, tie them on your favorite rod and you are ready to fish.
The key to fishing this lure is the tail. The tail is where all the action is. With just a few twitches of the rod and the tail will go crazy.
The better the action, the more fish you will catch.
The best part is you aren’t limited to catching panfish with this lure, you can also catch walleye, trout and yes even perch.
Additional Reading: My Top Ice Fishing Lures For Perch
The top portion of the lure perfectly imitates a favorite treat of many panfish, bugs.
So, if you notice through your underwater camera that the tail isn’t getting the attention you want, simply cut off the tail and fish it like a small grub.
Without a doubt, ice fishing with the VMC Wax Tail Jig will put more fish in the bucket than you can handle.
Let’s take a closer look at this lure in the following video:
VMC Tungsten Nymph Jig
What gets more attention than a plastic worm with a tail? A plastic worm with multiple tails or multiple appendages.
That is exactly why we have included our next lure on the list of the best ice fishing lures for panfish.
Its multiple appendage tail is designed to get attention and catch the most finicky fish. It is the VMC Tungsten Nymph Jig.
Much like the waxy tail, this lure is a plastic worm with multiple appendages that are designed to wiggle, flicker, bounce, flutter and much more with a single touch of the rod.
Like most VMC lures these baits come pre-rigged on a tungsten jig.
Why choose tungsten?
Simply put tungsten is denser. Because of this, your lures will drop faster and respond better to the action that you impart with the rod.
Additional Reading: A Look At The Best Ice Fishing Reel
It is available in many different colors and sizes, however, I would recommend fishing with the 1/50 ounce when fishing for panfish.
Check out the action of these lure in the following video:
VMC Tungsten Chandelier Jig
Sometimes fishing plastics for panfish may not produce the results that you would like.
The best way to trigger the fish to bite is to switch over to live bait. However, that too can create another problem, not getting down to the proper depth fast enough.
What is the best jig for live bait?
We like to use the VMC Tungsten Chandelier Jig.
It may appear simple, but that is why we like it and that is why it catches fish.
As you can see from the picture it is simply a tungsten weight attached to a treble hook. This clever design allows your bait to get down deep and get down quickly.
Some of our favorite baits to combine with this lure are larvae, maggots, worms, and wax worms. However, you can also fish it without any bait at all if you so desire.
The best way to fish it is to drop it down and jig it up and down. It won’t be long until you have a plate size bluegill on the other end of the rod.
It is available in a number of different colors including 2 metallic finishes and a few glow in the dark options.
We really like metallic finishes as they create more flash and get more attention.
So the next time the panfish are holding up in deep water your best bet might be to tie on a Chandelier jig with your favorite live bait.
Check out why we think this is one of the best ice fishing lures for panfish in the following video:
Lindy Quiver Spoon
Don’t get me wrong, plastics will catch you many panfish, but if you want to catch more quality fish you may also want to try something a little bit bigger.
One such lure I would recommend giving a try is the Lindy Quiver Spoon.
This lure is a spoon that is designed to create flash and vibration to draw in those bigger panfish and crappie.
You can fish it in several different ways.
You can bounce it up and down or you can also dead stick it. The best thing is to always vary your approach and see what the fish want on any given day.
To enhance your presentation, even more, you can tip each hook individually with your favorite live bait such as wax worms, larvae, or a small part of a minnow.
Lindy Rattl’N Flyer Spoon
Another great lure for weeding our tiny bluegill and pumpkin seeds is the Lindy Rattl’N Flyer Spoon.
This spoon is like no other you may have seen before.
As you can see it has a very unique shape. As it is dropped down the hole, the shape allows it to spin, giving it an erratic action that most fish have not seen before.
In my opinion, the best part isn’t the shape, but rather what’s on the inside.
Located in the lure are several bb’s. So on top of having a crazy and erratic motion that fish love you have a rattle that can draw fish to you.
The Lindy Rattl’N Flyer Spoon is available in many different colors and sizes. If you are looking to catch just any panfish that bites, I would recommend going with a 3/16 ounce or 3/8 ounce.
However, if you are looking to weeding out the little dinks to get the bigger panfish I would upgrade to a 1/16 ounce lure.
The best thing about this spoon is that many times with this size lure, the rattle actually scares away the smaller fish. Leaving the bigger ones for your taking.
Lastly, you are not limited to catching just panfish, you can also use this lure to catch walleye and trout as well.
Will you be fishing for trout too? If so, you might enjoy this article as well: An Upclose Look At The Deadliest Ice Fishing Lures For Trout.
Lindy Ice Worm Jig
There is no doubt about it, panfish love feeding on worms and grubs.
That is what makes the next bait on our list so effective. It is the Lindy Ice Worm Jig.
Simply line it up with your favorite live bait and just start popping it off the bottom.
It is tungsten so it will fall much faster than lead. And it is designed to be fished horizontally giving it a more natural presentation.
It is available in a number of different colors, including a few glow in the dark options when fishing down deep.
Rapala Jigging Rap
Another deadly ice fishing lure for panfish is the Rapala Jigging Rap.
As you can see this is a uniquely shaped lure. It has a hook on both the front end and the backend with a single treble hook in the middle.
Some anglers like to cut off those hooks as they have found they get fewer snags (especially when fishing open water) and the truth is we rarely will hook a fish with those hooks anyway.
The best part about this lure is the wing bill located on the back.
This bill will cast it to swim as you give it up and down in the hole. In other words, it will slow makes it way around in a circular motion as you vertical jig it, helping you to cover more area and really drawing those fish in.
Some anglers will also tip the bait to enhance the presentation, however, I would recommend against that as it can mess up the swimming action.
This lure can be effective in catch perch, crappie, panfish, walleye, trout, and bass.
It is just effective in the summertime as it is on the ice.
Without a doubt, catching panfish can be fun and tasty too.
In this post, we have discussed what we have found to be the best panfish ice fishing lures.
Now we encourage you to get out there try out these lures and come back and share with us your thoughts in the comments section below.