Tips For Catching Crappie Through The Ice
By Fishfnatic (January 31, 2013)
Is there a tougher fish to figure out through the ice then the black crappie? I don’t know if there is but one thing I do know is that they can be very difficult at times to locate and catch. When targeting crappie the first thing I like to do is find some deep water. Depth’s in the 25 to 35 foot range is where I like to start my set up, and then continue on from there. Generally I like to start off of points leading out from a shallow bay or the saddle between the mouth of the bay and shorelines. Shallow bays often hold an abundance of food or baitfish that is ideal for crappies, and since these back bays tend to freeze up first, they will push the crappies out to deeper water. Deep water isn’t always the case though, especially if you can find some good weed growth in shallower areas. But for the most part crappie love 30 feet.
When I start my set up I will punch holes all over the place until my arms can’t take it anymore. Having quality sonar equipment like the vexilar fl18 is the most important tool you can have. I like to use a small 1/8 ounce jig head tipped with a pinhead minnow on a light action rod with four pound test. This allows me to work my holes fast and effectively until I locate a school of crappie. Once I find them what I like to do is set a still line with a split shot and small hook tipped with a minnow while I work other holes with my jigging line. Doing this gives them the best of both worlds.
Let’s say you have been fishing for a while and you are marking lots of fish but the bite is very slow. Just be patient and work your bait with a lot of finesse. When I find that these fish still have lock jaw, I change my location slightly by simply drilling some new holes close by. I have found that crappie can be notorious for biting in one hole periodically, but drilling a new hole just five feet away can make a huge difference. Another good technique when you have located crappie is to drill more holes in that area and bounce from hole to hole. There’s been many times that I have caught two or three crappie from a hole then they stop biting, but then I go to another hole and hit another three and move to another and get a couple more. So you get the picture here, it usually always pays to keep moving around when fishing the black crappie.
Another thing to keep in mind when fishing crappie is that they are not the greatest daytime feeders and usually can be very finicky through the day. This is why it is important to move around often. But once you locate them make sure to fish them near dusk and into the night as they can really turn on at this time of the day. I have also found that if you are fishing a lake that holds lots of crappie but cannot get them to bite much through the day, make sure to try fishing them after midnight. I have had some of my best success fishing crappies through the ice at night. Hope these tips help you out and good luck.