Choosing the Perfect Hook Size for Successful Walleye Ice Fishing

Choosing the Right Size Hook for Walleye Ice Fishing

When it comes to ice fishing for walleye, one of the most important factors to consider is the size of your hook. Using the right hook size can make a significant difference in your success rate. In this blog post, we will guide you through selecting the perfect hook size for walleye ice fishing.

Understanding Walleye Feeding Behavior

Before delving into hook sizes, it’s crucial to understand how walleye feed under the ice. During winter months, walleyes tend to be more lethargic and have slower metabolism. Consequently, they may exhibit a pickier feeding behavior compared to other seasons.

The Impact of Hook Size on Bait Presentation

The primary consideration when choosing a hook size is how it affects your bait presentation. The right-sized hook ensures that your bait looks natural and appealing to entice those finicky walleyes.

Finding the Perfect Balance: Not Too Big or Small

Avoiding extremes is key when selecting a hook size for walleye ice fishing. If you use hooks that are too large, they may look unnatural and overpowering next to your bait, leading wary fish to avoid striking altogether.

On the other hand, using hooks that are too small can reduce hookup rates as they struggle to find proper purchase in a walleye’s mouth during strike attempts.

Determining Ideal Hook Sizes:

  • For Standard Sized Baits:
    • If you’re using live minnows or smaller plastics (1-2 inches), opt for #8 or #10 hooks as these mimic the natural prey’s size.
    • When using larger baits (2-4 inches), consider #6 or #8 hooks to maintain balance between bait and hook size.
  • For Larger Baits:
  • If you’re planning to use larger baits (4-6 inches) such as shiners or smelt, it is advisable to go with bigger hooks ranging from #2 to #6. This ensures proper bait presentation without overwhelming your offering.

Fine-tuning Based on Walleye Activity

While the recommended hook sizes mentioned above serve as a great starting point, it’s essential to pay attention to walleye behavior during your fishing expedition.

If you notice that walleyes are striking but not getting hooked, consider downsizing the hook by one size. Conversely, if you’re consistently missing strikes or experiencing weak hook sets, try upgrading the hook by a single size increment.

Incorporating Technological Advancements: Consider Treble Hooks and Jigging Spoons

Another aspect worth considering in your pursuit of walleye through ice fishing is incorporating technological advancements in tackle selection. Specifically, treble hooks and jigging spoons can enhance your chances of success.

Treble Hooks:

Treble hooks provide an increased likelihood for hookup compared to single hooks due to their multiple points. When targeting aggressive or actively feeding walleyes under the ice, using treble hooks can significantly improve your catch rate.

Jigging Spoons:

Jigging spoons offer versatility in terms of action and profile. They come equipped with built-in attractants like rattles or glow paint that can entice walleyes to strike. When paired with the appropriate hook size, jigging spoons can be a deadly combination for ice fishing.


Selecting the right hook size is crucial for successful walleye ice fishing. By considering factors such as bait presentation, fish behavior, and incorporating technological advancements like treble hooks and jigging spoons, you increase your chances of landing that prized walleye beneath the ice. Remember to fine-tune your approach based on observed activity and experiment with different sizes until you find what works best in specific conditions.

So get out there, armed with this knowledge, and enjoy an exciting day of catching walleye through the ice!