fbpx

Ice Fishing Pros and Cons: Live Bait or Artificial Bait

Your skid house loaded up for your next ice fishing trip, but you can’t decide if you want to take live bait or artificial bait? It’s a question ice fishermen discuss often. Every fisherman has their own opinion on using live bait or artificial bait and what they think is the best ice fishing bait. Instead of persuading you to use one or the other, let’s break it down together. You can decide yourself if you prefer live bait or artificial bait.

The Pros: Live Bait & Artificial Bait

Live Bait –

Live bait tends to be more effective because fish are more attracted to live prey. It is also appealing to a larger variety of species. Using live bait can take less effort because you can set it down and wait. If you know how to properly store bait, it can be kept alive and used for a long period of time. Finally, using live bait is less expensive up front.

Artificial Bait –

Artificial bait only needs to be purchased once and can be used over and over. You do not need special equipment to store or keep artificial bait alive. Also, artificial bait is clean and produces no smell. Some artificial bait can increase the rate of survival when catching and releasing. Finally, you can use artificial bait to target a specific species, ending in less unwanted smaller fish on your line.

The Cons: Live Bait & Artificial Bait

Live Bait –

The obvious con of using live bait is it can be smelly and dirty. Your hands and gear are guaranteed to get messy. Keeping live bait alive can be challenging and takes special equipment, that costs more. Also, the equipment adds weight for you to lug around. Using live bait takes planning, as you have to take trips to the bait shop to have enough. Finally, live bait attracts all kinds of fish, potentially ones you are not targeting. Along with a decreased survival rate, because live bait causes deeper hooked fish.

Artificial Bait –

Artificial bait takes time to figure out. You have to determine the color, size, and shape the fish are looking for. Also, some artificial baits can have a learning curve to jig correctly. Not all artificial baits work, especially at night or in murky water, and they can get expensive quickly. Artificial bait does not attract fish from far distances, so it could cause you to move your ice fishing skid house more frequently. Finally, it is easier to snag in branches, rocks, or weeds in the water, and harder to retrieve when ice fishing.

So, what did you decide, live bait or artificial bait? Of course, the ultimate test is trying them for yourself. If you have success, we would love to see your catch! Share your images with us on Facebook.

3 Tips for Hunting in the Rain
Live bait or artificial bait
Live bait or artificial bait
How to Make a Homemade Deer Salt Lick