Crappie Ice Fishing Tips

The bait of choice for most ice-fishing is very small ‘ice’ jigs. These can be tipped with Crappie Nibbles, Maggies, Mousies, Waxworms or very small minnows to make a very effective bait. Or, you can use a fish-finder rig with a split shot on the bottom, # 10 hooks and 1-1/2” or smaller minnows.

An effective Ice Jig can be made easily by using a paper hole-puncher, a #12 dry-fly hook,  and an aluminum can. Use the paper hole-puch to punch out a dot from the aluminum can. Them simply fold the dot, shiny-side-out, around the hook, and crimp it tightly. You have just created an effective representation of a generic species of plankton that is eaten at times by everything that swims, from the smallest minnow to the largest whale. It is called a diatom, and they exist is all bodies of water capable of supporting life. You can fish this jig under a light split shot and slip bobber.

Many times, when crappies are moody and reluctant to bite, they can be tempted by lightly jigging your offering up and down. By light jigging, I mean no more than an inch or two. Winter crappie will no move more than an inch or two up or down to take a bait, so depth control is crucial. At times, the bait must be dangled almost under their noses. Remember, when selecting jigs, crappies are especially fond of the colors chartreuse and yellow.

Crappie may be the all-around best winter sport fish. They can be caught easily with a lot of expensive gear. They are a very prolific forage fish that reproduces quickly, so at the end of the day, you can take your creel limit home without feeling guilty. Crappie are one of the top 3 most delicious fresh-water fish available. Fry them crispy, with potatoes and coleslaw, and you’ll be addicted for life. Many times, crappie are them only cure for the winter blues and cabin fever.

Happy Fishing

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Dan Eggertsen is a fellow crappie fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on crappie fishing since 2004.

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