The Marmooska Jig is a great little lure that catches all kinds of fish. This style of tungsten jig originated with ice anglers in Europe. Some of those early jigs found their way to the United States, but they were few and far between. Finally the HT company introduced a commercial line of Marmooska Jigs to the US in the early 1990’s. The HT Marmooska Jig is still one of the most popular jigs of its type in North America.
Marmooska Jigs have oversized heads that are painted or plated. That helps you get down deep pretty quickly. It also helps both you and the fish located the jigs in the water. They are made with offset hooks that point up and out. This makes it easy to catch light biting fish that you might otherwise miss if using other fishing jigs. Of course they work plenty fine on larger fish too.
How to fish with a Marmooska Jig
Marmooska Jigs are great. I’ve caught everything from stocked rainbow and brown trout in Pennsylvania’s North Park Lake to crappie, perch and pickerel in other bodies of water like High Point Lake, Tobbyhanna Lake, Keystone Lake, Lake Willhelm and Promised Land Lake. This was all done through the ice. Marmooskas can also be used in open water. The are popular with some trout anglers who bait the jigs and fish them under a bobber. I have never gone that route but I have used them on panfish like crappie in the same way with good results.
To be honest, there’s not a whole lot to fishing the Marmooska Jig. Especially when ice fishing. Basically you drop the jig through you hole then give your rod a twitch every now and then. That’s really it. Of course things can get a lot more complicated depending on the situation. You can and probably should tip the jig with some live bait like a maggot or wax worm. You also want to get the jig to where the fish actually are. If you’re fishing with a flasher the Marmooska is big and dense enough to show up on the screen easily. So you can see where your jig is in relation to any fish.
This rainbow trout hit a Marmooska under the ice
If you don’t have a flasher or just don’t see any fish, you can use the Marmooska Jig to attract fish from further away. Use brighter colors and make more dramatic movements. Lift your rod tip way up then drop it fast. Do this a few times to interest fish from other locations. After you make a few big rod movements go back to slight twitches every now and again. Wait a couple of minutes and repeat. This has worked for me many times when there were no fish showing up in the hole I was fishing.
In very cold weather when fish sulk down near the bottom, mud thumping with a Marmooska Jig can work very well. What you do is open your bail and let the jig fall all the way to the bottom as fast as possible. Then you reel up the slack until you are in contact with the jig. Next, lift the jig a foot or so and drop the rod tip quick. Do this several times. Your jig will knock against the bottom, kick up some debris, and hopefully get the attention of the fish. Finally you reel up a few inches off the bottom and work the jig ever so slightly. In a lot of cases this is enough to get otherwise inactive fish to bite.
Marmooska Jig applications and tactics
Marmooska Jigs are available in sizes 8, 10, 12 and 14. I don’t see the size 14 jigs much. They’re good for smaller and shyer fish, but the larger sizes work pretty well in almost any conditions. You can catch an eating size bluegill on an 8 or 10 with little issue. I tend to stick with the size 10 in most situations. If the water is really clear or I am dealing with very light biting fish I might scale down.
What about colors? Marmooska Jigs come in a pretty wide variety of colors. To be honest, I tend to stick to the basics. That means chartreuse and green, chartreuse and orange, black and orange, and pink and white. These colors have always been enough for me, and I have been using these jigs for over a decade. I am quite sure colors like gold and zebra chartreuse would work too. I just haven’t had to fish them myself. The basic colors were always enough.
Marmooska Jigs show up well on flashers
In crystal clear water I start out with more subdued colors like chartreuse and green which isn’t as bright as it sounds. If there is any stain or color to the water I usually go with a pink and white or chartreuse and orange. Frankly there is a lot of room to go either way. I have caught plenty of fish on all these colors in different situations.
Looking back, I do seem to have caught more trout on pink and white and black and orange than any other colors. That is just anecdotal evidence though. It could be that I just fished those colors more in waters that hold trout. This is something that I may look into in the future. For now I am satisfied catching plenty of fish with Marmooskas in basically every shade I’ve fished.
Where to buy Marmooska Jigs
Marmooskas used to be somewhat tough to find. Although they have become more known over the years, you still don’t see them in a ton of tackle shops. They do seem to be more common in the tackle and bait shops in states like Minnesota and Wisconsin where ice fishing is most popular. Otherwise things are hit and miss.
Marmooska Jigs can be packaged in two ways. The first is on a large card. The card has individual bags with jigs in them. You pull off the jig you want and pay for it. The second way you find Marmooska Jigs is in two packs. The jigs in the two packs usually contain two jigs of different colors. I prefer to select my own jigs one-by-one, but I’ll take what I can get.
Shopping online is the only sure way to find Marmooska Jigs when you can’t pick some up in person. Though even that they are not that easy to find, at least at the most known places. Marmooska Jigs are one of the few fishing lures you can’t even find on Amazon. Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and Fish USA don’t carry them either. So when you want to order Marmooska Jigs online look to specialty shops like Angler’s Emporium and Lake Michigan Angler.
I will say that Marmooska Jigs are usually easier to find in the fall than any other time of the year. Once ice fishing season kicks into gear they are a lot tougher to find. By the time the ice melts and the warmth starts to set in you are lucky if you can find any Marmooska Jigs around at all. So my advice is to stock up on these great little jigs whenever the opportunity arises.