How to Ice Fish for Crappie

How to Ice Fish for Crappie
When the coves of rivers, ponds and lakes freeze solid in the winter, countless anglers will go ice fishing for crappie. These panfish are delicious, and many of the fishers who target them normally do so with the intent of bringing a few back home for a meal. Your next ice fishing trip that has filling a pail full of crappies as its objective can be made easier by following a few basic tips.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fish finder Ice drill Ice fishing rod Small hooks Minnows or jigs
  • Fish finder
  • Ice drill
  • Ice fishing rod
  • Small hooks
  • Minnows or jigs
Step 1
Concentrate your fish-finding efforts where shallow bays in lakes and large ponds meet deeper water. The shallow waters hold a plethora of baitfish such as minnows early in the ice fishing season when the water initially freezes. These are hot spots for crappies until the ice begins to thicken and the baitfish move into the deeper portions of the body of water. Where these bays connect to water that is 15 feet in depth or more is where crappies tend to congregate as the winter drags on.
Step 2
Look for schools of several fish that are suspended in the water if you have a fish finder. Anyone who is serious about becoming a productive crappie fisher on the ice must invest in a fish finder. The hardest part about crappie fishing is locating the fish. If you have a fish-finding device, then be on the lookout for groups of fish that are moving as one and are not very far off the bottom.
Step 3
Keep moving around the body of water in search of crappies. If you don't have a fish finder, this means drilling holes and fishing for a while and then moving to another location if the fish aren't biting. There is no sense in wasting more than 15 minutes at a certain spot if crappies aren't hitting.
Step 4
Move on to the next area and repeat the process. These fish normally will not stay still for long periods of time, necessitating the need to look for more once they have ceased biting. Remember that crappies will usually head to deeper water when the ice gets thick.
Step 5
Use a small hook when ice fishing for crappies. Crappies have small mouths with a thin membrane of tissue around the jaws; this feature gives them their nickname of "papermouths." Set the hook lightly when you get a bite to avoid ripping it right through the crappie's delicate mouth.
Step 6
Go fishing for crappies using small minnows and/or small jigs that resemble baitfish. Use a light ice fishing rod. Hook the minnows behind the dorsal fin, or take a piece of a minnow and put it on the hook of the jig.
Step 7
Always have your bait above the crappies in the water since they tend to feed on what is above them. Simply move the bait up and down in the water slowly.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.