Chad Peterson/Kevin Dahlke/HSM Outdoors

Since its introduction, the Salmo Chubby Darter has been considered by many experts, to be the most prolific vertical wobbler ever created. A must-have for any serious ice fisherman, the Chubby Darter is equally effective on Walleye, Perch, Bass, Trout, Crappie and even Pike.

The Chubby Darter has a very slow sink rate, and its unique shape, allows it to “walk” several feet as it wobbles down through the water column. Give the rod tip a quick jerk and the wobble is repeated on the way up, creating a lifelike representation that creates strikes time and time again with no need for live bait.

The Chubby Darter is also at home in open water as well. Fish it like you would any other jig, and the swimming action of the Chubby Darter is sure to produce fantastic results. Often imitated, but never duplicated, the award-winning Salmo Chubby Darter sets the standard for vertical wobblers.

  • In the line-up since 2002
  • Lure type: vertical wobbler
  • Two sizes 1-3/8 and 1-3/4”
  • Sinking (SI)
  • Available in a natural (Holographic Feature Technology, True Image Technology) or modernistic color patterns (Fluorescent, Metallic)
  • High Density Space-Aged Foam (HDSF) body
  • Thru-wire construction welded at the ends
  • Individually Hand Tuned & Tank Tested
  • Black Nickel VMC hooks
  • Split rings made in USA (Rasco) Proudly made in Poland

From Open Water to Ice Fishing

The Chubby Darter, a lure that was designed primarily for the ice, but can also be used throughout the year, but let’s talk about how to work it through the ice and what species we target with this bait.

Crappies: Using the Salmo Chubby Darter #3

During the ice season, you will have opportunities when the crappies are riding high in the water column and when you see that, you better break out the Darter. The crappies are normally feeding and are very aggressive, as the slow wobble of the Darter approaches the target zone.

Sometimes you won’t make it to the targeted zone, because they will have raced up to the lure. Those are the best bites and are normally the bigger fish as well. So, where do we look? The simple locations are deep break lines or over the deeper basins.

These are the high percent areas to find schools of crappies and just scouting these areas will provide good opportunities to see the high riding crappies. The other area that some anglers miss out on is the shallow flats that has patches of weeds that hold crappies and bluegills.

Your approach should be a little different when using the Chubby Darter. Fish it 2-3 feet below the ice for the great action. Now when we talk about shallow flats, they can be 7-13 FOW and all depending on the clarity of the water, you can sight fish them and you can see how they react to the action on the Darter.

Walleyes: Using the Salmo Chubby Darter #4

The place where we head for BIG walleyes is Lake Winnipeg, also known as “Big Windy”, and if you haven’t experienced “Big Windy”, you are definitely missing out on an adventure.

When we target walleyes, we up the size of our presentation to the Darter #4 and we normally fish in 9-14 FOW, next to ice ridges and cracks that have formed from the ice moving. Now the main reason for this is for the light penetration, which will attract the bait fish.

If there’s bait fish, the walleyes are sure to be nearby. The best way to use the Darter is to aggressively jig it about 2-3 feet off the bottom, you may not mark fish, but hold on!

You will get two types of bites, 1 - you will see one that will come in and you will have to work them into the bite, or 2 - they will blind side you from any direction and that’s why I say hold on. They crush it!

The Chubby Darter’s wobble is an action that walleyes can’t resist. You can hook a pinched head of a salty emerald shiner on one of the treble hooks for scent, but the profile and action by itself will also be successful as well. You can use this lure in any lake that walleyes are present, and we have used them regularly on Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods.

Bass, Largemouth and Smallmouth: Using the Salmo Chubby Darter #4

Many people think that bass go somewhat dormant in the winter months and don’t typically target them as much as they would in the warmer months. There are times that these fish do seem scarce, but when the conditions warrant fishing for them, the Darter is a good search bait choice for them.

Breaklines, weedlines, points and flats are the usual places for fishing for them and varying the water depths as well. Using your electronics, moving from hole to hole, you can actually see the bass on the screen before lowering your Darter down to them.

You have an idea as to the level that they are using, lowering the Darter to that level is key for letting the bass to seeing the bait. Vertical jigging, either very subtle or an upward ripping motion, both methods work very well but the fish’s reactions to the bait will dictate which one that you want to use.

If you are marking fish and they aren’t attracted to either of these presentations, a color change is in order. Weedline edges are going to be where the more active fish will be as they are searching for a meal and by putting these actions to play, increasing your odds for creating a hookup.

With the variety of sizes available, the multitude of color selections, no matter what the conditions are or the mood that the fish are in, there is a Darter to fit those scenarios. Presentation, level the bait is in the water and color selection for matching the hatch, putting all of this together will make for a fun trip on the ice.

Editors Note:  The authors Kevin Dahlke & Chad Peterson are Salmo Field Ambassadors. They work closely together at Hook Set Media Outdoors by creating content, video, and articles for companies they partner with. Information can be found at: