Wax worms, mousies or maggots, whichever you can find locally, are good choices for crappie fishing. They are a light-colored larvae worm that is about a half-inch long. They can usually be found at any bait store, and can even be found at some local feed stores.
Minnows are the most productive bait for catching crappie in almost any environment. During the winter months smaller minnows seem to work best. A thick polystyrene foam minnow bucket is a necessity while ice fishing to ensure the minnows don't freeze.
Wigglers are excellent bait for pan fish, but are very hard to find. Wigglers are mayfly larvae and they resemble a flattened cricket. They get their name from the wiggling action they produce when they swim, and since they are water creatures, they are easy to keep alive. They also should be kept in an insulated polystyrene foam container to keep them from freezing.
An artificial grub on a very light jig head is one of the only artificial baits that will attract crappie while ice fishing. If live bait is not available, an artificial grub in a natural bait color can be used with some success. Scents can be applied to the grub to make it more appealing to the crappie.