Fishing with mormysha for crappie on Black Lake in OntarioFishing with mormysha for crappie on Black Lake in Ontario

Ice Fishing with Mormyshka

Mormyshka, or Mormishka, or Marmooska are derived from Russian word Mormysh - that means Freshwater Shrimp (Gammarus). Mormyshka was invented in the 19th century in Russia. The prototypes were big spoon-baits used for ice fishing. Trying to imitate shrimps, anglers made lures smaller and changed the way of fixing them on the line.

As a result, efficient lures appeared and were spread quickly among ice fishermen all around Russia and Scandinavia.

About Mormyshka

Russian Mormyshka

Mormyshka consists of a metallic head and a hook soldered in it. There is a little vertical hole in the middle of the head, which is called the eye. The way to knot Mormyshka to the line is unusual, but is not difficult. You put the line through the hole and knot it to the hook. When suspended, Mormyshka keeps almost horizontal position, and the point of the hook turns out to be above its shank. Some mormyshkas remind a Jig Head or Bead Head on the hook. But there are several advantages of using Mormyshka.

Mormyshka catches the bottom much less, because the point of the hook is in upward position. Mormyshka is not always globe-shaped. There are many forms that provide different presentations to fish. In contrast to Jig Heads, Mormyshka has no up eye. That enables you to create miniature flies with a very realistic shape of the head. Usually, high quality Mormyshka is not painted and plated by Nickel, Brass, Copper, Gold, Silver, or combination of two metals, that provides better attraction to fish.

For the past few years Mormyshka has been used in summer fishing as well with long poles and a float or a nod. It is used either with live bait or alone. Also, anglers use palmers tied on Mormyshkas.

Ice Fishing with Mormyshka

The main rule for fishing with Mormyshka is that you must always keep it acting. In Russia, Mormyshka is usually fished with monofilament nylon lines 0.12 mm in diameter (approx. 2 lbs) or thinner! In Canada we use 0.16-0.18 mm lines, because fish here are bigger and bite better. That's nonsense, but sometimes we fish for crappie and pike on the same Mormyshka! Many people become surprised and ask us why such a thin line is necessary.

1. As winter arrives, the lake's water color naturally clears up. The ice on top does not allow the wind to stir up the bottom, and lack of sunlight prohibits the growth of algae and plankton. Although, in the summertime you may be able to get away with some heavier line, winter is no time to fish with anything that is remotely visible. The thinner diameters, which thin lines offer, make it next to impossible for the fish to detect.
2. Another main factor of using thin line is the action. For successful fishing, Mormyshka requires a lot of moving and vibration, and it will be able to dance around with lots of natural free motions with thin lines. Some anglers can make up to 20 vibrations per second! Just like in fly fishing there is no room for heavy handed clumsiness.... and you often get very big perch, crappy, walleye or trout biting this mini bait! It's important to clean up the place around the hole from ice crumbs and snow to avoid thin line breaks when you landing the fish. On the shallows, it's a good idea to cover the hole, leaving just a slot for line and bait.

  • Click to enlarge image mormyshka-types.jpg
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The following describes one of Mormyshka presentation methods:

  • pull down your line and find the bottom;
  • pull up the mormyshka on 1-3 cm off the bottom and make it vibrating
    with 3-6 mm amplitude for few seconds;
  • make a pause of 3-5 seconds;
  • if there is no bite, pull up the line for 3cm and repeat all the
    process again;
  • when you reach 50-70 cm off the bottom, pull the line down slowly to
    the bottom and start over again.

What do you need

This inexpensive foldable rod is specially developed for Mormyshka fishing. It's very light and allows for continuous bite presentation with up to 20 vibrations per second.

Strike indicator

There are many different styles. The best strike indicators are coming from Finland, Sweden, Russia and Poland.

Last modified onTuesday, 22 October 2013 15:57

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