What is the best bait when targeting crappies thru the ice?

Discussion in 'Hard Water Discussions' started by bkr43050, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. I have only done the ice fishing thing a very few times and for the most part we have been catching gills. The pond we fished has some crappies and we did manage to catch a few of them but I am wondering if our approach should vary when targeting them. I am guessing that for one thing moving about on the pond may be helpful in determining their preferred locations/depths. But more specifically what about the jigs. Do you guys use the same ice jigs when targeting crappies as you do for the gills? I have been using waxies. I imagine small minnows would be better for crappies but without those what do you use? The ones we caught were on waxies so I know they will take them. I may be trying a couple of other places that have more crappies so I would like to be prepared.
  2. Lewis


    Waxies and jigs will work just fine but for Crappies I prefer a deadstick with a minnow on a light wire gold hook and a small ice bobber.
    The thing to remember about Crappies is they suspend very frequently and will use the entire water column.
    I have caught them 2 feet under the ice fishing over 20 FOW and everywhere in between.
    They also prefer to "come up" for a bait rather than go down after it.
    If you are not using a Vexilar to find them,just continue to vary the depth of your bait until you find success.

  3. I use a smaller minnow on a small blue jig or a blue HALI with a wax worm on it. I have caught them on the HALI without anything on it.
  4. i do pretty good with small glowing horizontal jigs with minnys. it definatly is tuffer without electronics but it can be done. like lewis said try all depths till you find where they want it. you also want to keep the minnow "alive" if he stops moving give him a pop and "wake" his butt up to keep ringin the dinner bell. i did real good at alum last saturday in 17FOW and they were down within 3 feet of the bottom but wanted it at 13-14ft they wouldn't touch it unless they had to come up for it. also in most cases don't set the hook right away if using a bobber let them take it down quite a bit be giving then the jerk. spring bobber- let them pull on it pretty good but not too much before setting the hook. although i have had them hit it good once the first time and you have to set the hook on the first sign of a bite or you miss them, thats how it was at alum last sat. ~Evin~
  5. Just depends... Waxies and ice jigs work great, if the fish are in a biting mood... I've done better on crappie with minnows on a plain hook though. Just depends what they want and are in the mood for.
  6. The story has been told ....all depends on what they want that day,,And sometimes they change with the hour..We arn't going to figure them out..They dictate to us what ..When...And what color if any...Big Daddy covered it all...By the way Big Daddy bet your are glad you didn't go to PI today...could be snowed in up there...Sick of snow.....Jim....
  7. Thanks for all the replies guys! I don't know whether I will get minnows or not when I give it a go. Based on my softwater crappie fishing I do know that there are times when they are a must. The one place I plan to try is a farm pond so moving around until finding them is a lot easier. I am thinking of perhaps trying at Apple Valley Lake. I have never tried over there through the ice. Without electronics may be a tough one but it will still be fun to try.:)
  8. hardwaterfan

    hardwaterfan Twinsburg, OH (NE OH, northern edge of Summit Co.)

    one thing ive found with crappie more than any other fish is their tendency to hit on the upstroke, which is really hard to see unless youre a master bobber fisherman, much easier to see with a spring bobber (the bobber will "unload" and straighten out)

    good luck!
  9. chaunc

    chaunc Staff Member

  10. powerstrokin---were you on east or west side or far north side of Alum last weekend for crappies?
  11. A tiny stick bobber will catch the upstroke crappies. It will lay flat when crappie sucks the bait in. Balance rig with split shot so that minnow cannot lay bobber down but anything bigger can.

    It make me shudder when I see somebody using a bobber that I would consider too big for open water and they are using it for ice fishing. Also do not be afraid of putting split shot close to hook. The less aggressive fish do not like to chase down a meal that has a lot of room to run. Closer you put the weight to the bait the less line they have to swim effectively on.

    Sometimes if you sre getting a lot of " lookers " but no takers on your flasher. Slide the shot closer to the hook and see if it helps.
  12. ive done well just using plastics. small strips of red plastic fished on small horizontal jigs. Hooked in the middle or "wacky" style. They dont seem to hesitate at all to hit it. Looks just like a bloodworm wiggling in their face. Gills slam them too.

    This year so far it has been amazing how sometimes when they dont want to bite, even fresh spikes. I send down this rig, and the same fish that wouldnt bite a second ago just swims up and sucks it right down.
  13. When you say "plastics" do you mean a small twister tail or tube? By your post it sounds like you may be using something else?
  14. I have only been using waxies thus far because the place that I picked up my bait didn't have any other options. If I can find them are the maggots better in many cases? I am just wondering if it is worth the effort to get them instead of waxies?
  15. A small northland forage minnow spoon with a waxworm or a crappie nibble has worked great for me that past few years.
  16. thats what i used on alum last saturday, BUT, i had RED and GREEN ones. my jig looked like it was christmas down there, but i caught the most on just 2 red ones. ~Evin~
  17. i've done pretty good at apple valley at night using minnows.
  18. bkr.
    yeah im using small 1 inch strips of plastic that I cut with a razor, then die red with garlic spike it dye. I rig them either on a small horizontal jig or this year ive done great with this rig.


    Its just a small size 14 hook with a gold tungsten bead epoxied in place. It has great action with the slightest movement. Ive caught gills, crappie, bass and even two keeper saugeye on it. They suck it in like its a real bloodworm. My friend next to me was fishing spikes and I was using this and I caught 8 keeper gills before he caught 1, and he was two feet away.