I’ve been ice-fishing since the mid-70’s and I have seen many changes with gear, lines, lures. One thing that I can confirm is that there are several “classic” ice fishing spoons that caught fish them and continue to catch fish today. Most of my early years fishing was for Walleye. Spoons tipped with a live minnow can be one of the deadliest presentations you can use to attract and entice Walleye to strike under the ice.
The Swedish Pimple is a slender, banana-shaped spoon that produces a light wobble and mostly a darting action as it drops.
When tipped with a minnow slight jigs on the bottom produces a “snappy-kicking” action that in many cases gets even an in-active Walleye to strike. Ideal size for Walleye is: #6 ½ oz – 2 ¼ inches & #7 ¾ oz. – 2 ¾ inches. The smaller #2 1/10 oz – 1 inch is ideal for Perch.
The Mr. Champ spoon has been copied by many companies and many variations of it’s basic shape and action can be found on the internet.
Some common names for the modified Champ; Kastmaster, Cast Champ, VMC Flash Champ, etc. The original Mr. Champ is a small oval slab of metal that has “wedge” sides. It’s design produces more flutter and flash than the Swedish Pimple while still producing that tantalizing “snappy kicking” action when jigged stationary and tipped with a live minnow. The most popular Walleye sizes are 1/2 and 3/4 oz.
The Crocodile spoon also referred as a “Gator” spoon has a flat configuration (no wedges of thickness), and they have “cupping” 3/4 of the way down the spoon that produces a lot of wobble wobble as he spoon is lifted quickly and has wobble and roll when allowed to vertically drop. When “shook” near the bottom it produces a subtler action then the other two heavier spoons above. The most popular Walleye sizes are 1/6 and 3/4 oz.
When tipping a live minnow on all three spoons anglers can simply hook the minnow through the head on one of the hooks on the treble and allow it to hang vertically for a quicker drop, or they can hook the minnow “horizontally” on two hooks, one hook behind the head and one hook ahead of the tail for a slower drop.
The key to fishing all three for Walleye is to jig them close to the bottom and cover the first 5-feet of water off the bottom when making longer strokes to attract Walleye from a distance. Once Walleye come near smaller jigging strokes or even simply “shaking” the spoons in one spot can produce the best results.