Catching Icicle Crappie
Note: You can catch some nice-sized crappie in the prespawn,
if you know where to look for them. In the North, many
anglers still have ice on their favorite crappie-fishing
lakes. So, the crappie definitely are in their prespawn
mode. Here’s some of the ways
you can take those prespawn crappie.
Flash Your Way to Crappie - Use a flasher mounted on
a box with a level, and have a transducer you can put
through an ice hole to locate the crappie. By leveling
the box, you'll get a more-accurate signal from the
transducer and can see in greater detail what's under
the ice. If you have a sensitive flasher, you often
can see a 1/32-ounce ice fly as it falls 10 to 20 feet
beneath the ice. You also can watch the crappie approach.
When the light indicating the crappie overlaps the light
showing your ice fly, set the hook - even though you
may not feel or see the bite on the line.
Use Warmth to Catch More Crappie on Ice - If you can
set up some type of portable ice house and use a lantern
or catalytic heater to stay warm, you can feel the crappie's
bites, fish longer and catch more crappie. If you use
live bait like minnows or maggots, the warmth inside
the ice house also will keep your bait from freezing.
Chase Crappie Across Ice - Most crappie fishermen who
fish through the ice will drill one or two holes and
fish through those holes. However, for a more-productive
tactic, drill eight to 10 holes relatively close to
each other. When the crappie quit biting in one hole,
move to the next hole, set up
your portable ice house, and continue to fish. Each
time the crappie quit biting, switch holes. Once you've
fished in all the holes, go back to the first hole,
and start over.
GPS Your Way to Icicle Crappie - To pinpoint crappie
on a frozen lake or river, find the crappie before ice-up
on points, river channels, creek channels, ditches and
underwater cover. Once you locate the crappie and the
deep-water structure where they're holding, use a hand-held
GPS receiver to get a fix on the location where you've
found the crappie. Record these fixes in a logbook.
Then with the lake or the river hard enough for you
to safely walk on it, use your GPS receiver to locate
the spots you've pinpointed before the ice-up. Drill
holes in the ice in and around those spots you've noted
on your GPS receiver to find and catch crappie.
For more information about how to fish crappie, go
and learn about John E. Phillips’ book, “The
Masters’ Secrets of Crappie Fishing.”
Tomorrow: Finding Prespawn