Unlocking Success: The Best Techniques to Hook Minnows for Walleye Ice Fishing

How to Hook Minnows for Successful Walleye Ice Fishing


Ice fishing for walleye is an exhilarating winter activity enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts around the world. Among various techniques and baits, using live minnows can be a game-changer in your quest for this elusive species. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of hooking minnows effectively to maximize your chances of catching that trophy-sized walleye.

Selecting the Right Minnows

Before heading out onto the frozen lake, it’s essential to select healthy and lively live minnows. Look for active and vibrant ones at your local bait shop or tackle store. Opt for medium-sized minnows as they are easier to handle and attract larger walleye.

Gearing Up: Choosing the Right Hooks

When it comes to ice fishing with live minnows, selecting the appropriate hooks is crucial. Use light wire hooks in sizes ranging from #4 to #8 depending on the size of your chosen baitfish. These hooks ensure optimal presentation while allowing natural movement underwater.

The Proper Technique: Hooking Minnows Correctly

To entice those hungry walleye beneath the icy surface, mastering how to correctly hook a live minnow is vital:

Step 1: Preparing Your Gear

Start by threading an appropriately sized slip bobber onto your fishing line approximately 2-4 feet above your hook setup. This adjustable float helps keep track of depth and provides better control over presentations.

Step 2: Inserting the Hook Through Its Back

Hold a live minnow gently but firmly between your thumb and index finger while keeping its head facing away from you. Insert the point of the hook through the minnow’s back, just behind its dorsal fin. Ensure the hook is centred and comes out close to its belly.

Step 3: Adjusting Depth and Weight

Once your minnow is securely hooked, slide the bobber stop on your fishing line to set the desired depth you wish to fish at. Consider adding a split shot sinker above your hook if necessary to achieve optimal sinking speed based on current conditions.

Best Approaches for Effective Ice Fishing

Presentation Techniques

When ice fishing for walleye with live minnows, it’s imperative to employ presentation techniques that mimic natural movements:

– Dead Stick Technique: Allow your baited rig to sit motionless in one spot, enticing nearby walleye with subtle vibrations from the live minnow.
– Jigging Technique: Use a light jigging motion combined with occasional pauses and twitches. This imitates an injured or dying baitfish, attracting predatory walleye.

Fishing Locations

Identifying prime locations where walleye gather during winter months significantly contributes to your success:

– Structure Focus: Look for drop-offs, underwater points, humps or ridges as they provide refuge spots and ambush points for these hungry predators.
– Weedy Areas: Walleyes often seek shelter among submerged weeds; target areas where weed beds meet deeper water zones.
– Baitfish Concentration: Locate areas with high concentrations of baitfish like shiners or perch since these attract hunting walleye looking for an easy meal.

Final Tips for Ice Fishing Success

1. Be patient – give enough time at each location before moving on.
2. Stay warm and comfortable by dressing in layers and using appropriate cold weather gear.
3. Check local regulations regarding ice thickness before venturing onto frozen bodies of water.
4. Always exercise caution and prioritize safety when ice fishing.


Hooking minnows properly for walleye ice fishing can make a remarkable difference in your angling success. By selecting healthy baitfish, using the right hooks, and implementing effective presentation techniques, you increase your chances of landing that prized walleye during winter expeditions. Remember to stay informed about local regulations and remain safe on the ice. So gear up, head out onto the frozen lake with confidence, and enjoy an unforgettable day on the ice chasing walleyes!