Ice Fishing for Crappie: Tips and Techniques

Ice Fishing for Crappie: Tips and Techniques

Jodie Paul March 11, 2024

Crappie, those elusive and tasty fish, become even more intriguing when the ice blankets our favorite fishing spots. Whether you’re a seasoned ice angler or a curious beginner, here are some key tips and techniques to enhance your crappie ice fishing experience:

1. Finding Crappie

  • Early Ice (Late Fall to Early Winter):
    • Crappie tend to hug the cover of weed lines and thick weed beds in 5-15 feet of water. Look for the healthiest weeds—they produce more oxygen and attract bait.
  • Mid-Winter:
    • Crappie move to the basin of the lake and suspend off the bottom, typically 10-20 feet relative to overall depth. They seek the highest oxygen levels and abundant bait, usually in the top half of the water column.
  • Late Ice (Spring):
    • Crappie return to the shallows and any remaining healthy vegetation. Drill 15-20 holes in these areas and use your flasher to locate stratified crappie before fishing.

2. Jigging Techniques

  • Tungsten Jigs and Soft Plastics:
    • Crappie feed on plankton during winter. Mimic this forage by using tungsten jigs paired with soft plastics. Drop your bait to the bottom, then reel up a few feet. Work a 1-2 foot section of the water column with light pulsing and pausing. Most bites occur when your bait is moving upward.
  • Stay Mobile:
    • Crappie pods can be anywhere from 3-10 fish. Keep moving from hole to hole until you find active crappies.

3. Nighttime Crappie Fishing

  • Crappie are most active at night, with the bite peaking at dawn and dusk.
  • Bright Plastics:
    • Use chartreuse wax worms paired with an orange or green jig head for nighttime crappies.
  • Dead Sticking:
    • If the night bite is tough, dead stick an ice fishing pole with a live fathead or crappie minnow to entice finicky fish.
  • Glow Sticks or Underwater Lights:
    • Where regulations permit, use a glow stick or underwater light to attract bait, plankton, and crappie to your area.

Remember, ice fishing for crappie requires patience, adaptability, and a willingness to explore different depths and techniques. So bundle up, drill some holes, and enjoy the thrill of pulling slab crappies through the ice!


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