Crappie are labelled as underwater predators, which makes them different from the rest of the fish that swim under thick blanket of ice. Catching them is a skill that you have to learn and master before you pack up the ice fishing gear this weekend.
Fishing for crappie involves a number of factors, such as how thick their population is in a lake, how vast the lake is, the timing of your fishing, and the tricks up your sleeves.
Crappie Ice Fishing Tips
This fish can be at your dining table if you follow some simple tips and tricks. Crappie are fun to fish for during chilly winter seasons. Not only do they offer a tasty dining option, but they can also give you the best challenge out on the ice. Let’s move on to learn some useful tips and tricks to catch crappie while ice fishing.
Try these Ice Fishing Tips for Crappie:
- Find the Right spot
- Drill Multiple Holes
- Fish as a Team
- Fish at Night
- Use a Sonar
Find the Right Spot
One of the basic tips is to have knowledge about the right location of crappie. If you have chosen a small and fertile lake to fish, look out for crappie in the main basin area and in deep holes. Also, crappie love to hang around healthy weeds in the lake.
If you are planning to fish in a large lake, you should go to deep basin areas and mid-depth flats. Once you have reached these spots, look out for small islands and humps.
Drill Multiple Holes
When it comes to ice fishing crappie, an ice auger is one of the handiest tools to keep with your gear. How can you dig holes without it? Manual augers are cheap, but they can give your shoulder a tough time, and also can possibly hurt the joint. Power augers, whether gas, electric, or propane, can make drilling easy and fun.
Don’t forget to add a pair of gloves to the toolkit for safe drilling. The key to success is drilling multiple holes in a particular area. If one hole turns out to be unproductive, another will likely yield plenty of fish. Ice augers make drilling easy, so try to drill multiple holes to improve your chances. Leave tip ups set at each hole in case a fish bites!
Augers can be heavy, so a sled will help you with mobility and allow you to load up more gear.
Ice Fish for Crappie as a Team
You cannot just expect to find crappie waiting to take the bait in the first hole you drill. It is a brilliant idea to stalk them in multiple places where you think they are likely to hang around. Remember the rule: without hard work you cannot win the prize. Team up with fellow fishermen to locate the best spots fast, especially if you are fishing on a big lake.
You can grab hold of a map, pin down the hot spots, scout the areas, and formulate a strategy to get bucketful of crappie for a savory dinner. Teaming up with others will allow you to drill lots of holes at a number of spots on the ice. Don’t forget to use radio while you are out in the wild. Ice fishing safety practices also encourage fishing with friends so that someone can help you or call for help if needed.
Crappie are good at seeing and detecting certain objects. They can be pretty choosy at times; that’s why how you present your bait to these fish makes a great difference.
Carry a variety of ice jigs for crappie that have horizontal, vertical, and 45-degree models. Keep the knot on horizontal jigs in check. When your jig gets into a fight with the fish, the knot tends to slip forward, which results in a droopy profile. Slide it back to the center so that the bait remains straight. This will pull in the fish.
Tips on Using Bait
Tuck ice fishing bait on the tip of jigs and throw them in the holes. Minnows are very helpful for catching white crappie, especially large ones. If you are in a location where you expect to find black crappie, you should use jigs tipped with grubs.
You can also mash up a couple of minnows into a sticky paste and throw them down the holes. The paste will give off scent which will ring the dinner bell, and crappie will come biting at the jigs. By using this trick, you may end up discovering a school of fish at the bottom of the lake right under your hole.
Many experts believe that crappie are lured toward the light of a lantern. Fishing at night affords a more calm atmosphere and, in addition, crappie turn more aggressive by twilight. They will strike onto the shallow spots, weeds, bushes, and humps, disturbing the calm and letting you know their position. Try ice fishing at night to catch more crappie.
Carry a Sonar
You can use a portable sonar or fish finder to pace up your fishing routine and also double up the amount of fish which you will catch. If you are using a sonar with an underwater camera, you can watch their movement and activity. You will also be able to know how crappie are reacting to your bait. That’s how you can reorder your baiting strategy until you discover the right one to trigger bites from crappie.
Some other tools to catch crappie include ice chisel, bucket for baits and a dip net. Crappie are predators and they are not going to come naively biting at your jig, but like all other fish, they have weak points. Crappie also are on the search for shelter and food. So, if you can hit the right spot and offer them food, you can be able to fill your buckets up to the brim. You need to be patient while out fishing. Keep detecting hot-spots, drill new holes, and switch holes if action seems to be fading in one hole.