How to Catch Crappie Ice Fishing 

How to Catch Crappie Ice Fishing 

Excited about ice-fishing this winter? Make sure to bag a lot of crappie fish since they are the best winter treat. To do that flawlessly, you need to keep a few valuable tips and tricks in mind to capture crappie fish in no time. 

The good thing is that this greenish hue fish can be an easy catch for you if you’re a newbie fisher. In this post, you can learn about some ideal crappie fish locations, their feeding patterns, suitable baits, and much more. 

Drill Holes Near Right Locations

Any fisherman knows the importance of locating the right spot for ice fishing. The same goes for fishing crappies; finding the right place is essential for a successful fishing day. Of course, if you spend all your time waiting for the fish to bite in the wrong hole, you’re certainly wasting your efforts. 

So, what’s the best place to look for crappies? If you’ve set out for fishing during early winter, search for this fish under deep waters. They will likely swim around large structures, such as reefs and weed beds. 

Steep drop-offs are also a favorite place for these fish to hunt for their prey. Therefore, you can start fishing by drilling several holes following a zig-zag pattern near such structures. 

This technique may allow you to cover shallow and deeper regions across the drop-offs. Moreover, you can monitor their movement pattern throughout the season to identify their presence under icy water. 

For instance, crappies tend to swim in shallow water during late winters. So you can look for the fish near water inlets. 

In addition, crappies lurk in grass-covered structures to feed on tiny invertebrates. The grassy buttons offer the perfect hiding place from predators too. So, fishing with live baits over such locations can reward you with many fish.

Ice-Fish For Crappie During Afternoon

Choosing the right time of the day to fish crappies makes a huge difference. This means you can’t just rely on finding a nice ice-fishing spot to catch a lot of crappies. Instead, you should keep an eye on the right time to fill your bucket with crappies. 

Typically, these fishes are more active in the afternoon. Since the water is warmer in the afternoon, the fish swim toward shallow waters to hide near reefs and steep drop-offs. So, drill a hole near a large structure, and you won’t be disappointed. 

Although the fish may be less active during the chilly season, they are never inactive. 

In contrast, ice-fishing crappie early in the morning won’t bring you luck. However, dipping the rod underwater at night can indeed be fruitful. Try fishing near the cold front and use brighter jigs to lure the fish.

Use Smaller Presentations and Thinner lines

Crappies are known for their incredible eyesight. Their vision is so clear that a thick fishing line may never encourage them to bite. During winter, the fish are slower and can be very cautious and resist biting.

Therefore, you should opt for a thin fishing line instead of regular lines. Similarly, you should downsize your lures. Since the fish are less likely to chase their meal, you can attract them with slow presentations. In addition, you can also use smaller hooks. 

Learn the Crappie Behavior

If you study the behavior of crappies, you can easily capture these fish. 

For instance, seasons impact fish behavior significantly, so you should be mindful of a slower bite if you are fishing during winter. On the other hand, brace yourself for the feeding frenzy if you fish during early spring. 

This behavior is usually expected in most fish species. However, there can be a few variations among subspecies, such as white and black crappie. Both fish kinds behave similarly in their early life. They’ll devour zooplanktons and other small invertebrates.

Their feeding habits may change quite a bit over time. For example, the white crappies, when fully grown, may feed on crayfish and other small fish, while the black crappie would maintain a diet based on worms and insects. 

Blackfish prefer to swim in clear water. In contrast, the white variety can be found in cloudy waters. These behaviors can come in handy when choosing your live bait or other lures to fish for crappie. 

Prefer Using Live Bait

Live bait is usually helpful for ice-fishing crappie due to its scent. However, artificial lures aren’t as successful in tricking the fish into biting. 

So, load your hooks with minnows, mealworms, or wax worms to enjoy a great ice-fishing trip. Here are some useful tips for hooking minnows:

  • Hook the fish at the dorsal fin base
  • Avoid using lip hooks for the bair
  • Place the bait after adding a split shot nearly 16-20 inches above it. 

The injured minnow will then show their magic as the presentation can easily lure crappies lurking in deep waters.

Worms can also be an excellent jig addition. You can use them all alone since lazy crappies may find them an easy dish to munch on. 

Choose Soft Plastics

Jigging is an incredible technique for ice fishing. However, if you hook the wrong lures, you may not catch as many crappies as you think. So, instead of using jigging spoons and other hard baits, you can opt for soft plastics. 

The plastics appear and move similar to live bait and can attract active crappies. In addition, when deciding the color for your lure, you can count on water clarity and lighting conditions. For instance, if the visibility underwater is low, you can go for brighter lures. 

Final Thoughts

Crappie fishing can be encouraging for young anglers. These fish follow a predictable movement pattern and behave quite differently than other fishes.

Crappies swim near small invertebrates to feed on them, so you can quickly identify these fish near underwater reefs and rocky structures.

Apart from that, choosing the right bait and lures also makes a tremendous difference. Suitable traps increase your chances of catching more crappies. However, you must not forget the favorable conditions for ice-fishing crappies, such as lighting and water temperature.