Here are some tips for catching crappie during the winter. Crappie are a popular fish for a number of reasons but one of the biggest is that they are delicious. One problem with eating crappie is that they are generally small and require a lot of work for their size, but as crappie (and other fish) fatten up for the winter you can catch big crappie in the winter. Whether winter crappie fishing in your area simply means fishing in cold weather or fishing through the ice, crappie are still there to catch and make a fine meal.
Of course, safety during the winter is the primary concern. Be dressed for the conditions and observe the weather at all times. A trip into the water in the summer is an annoyance, but a trip into the water in the winter can be deadly. Whether on a boat or on the ice, taking a buddy along on your crappie fishing trips is a good idea to help stay safe. And remember, kids generally can’t stand the cold as well as an adult due to their small size. If you are taking a kid along make certain that they stay warm.
Once winter sets in for good, expect to find crappie in deep water with the exception of early morning and evening. From a boat, fishermen often pursue the crappie by slowly trolling minnows or jigs. Rigs should be set up with two hooks on each line to present at two depths. Though the crappie should be deep, you don’t want to fish the bottom but present baits and lures just above the crappie. Depth can, and should, be adjusted once the crappies are found. When trolling with multiple poles getting snagged can make the day quite frustrating. This is another reason to take a friend on your crappie fishing trip, you drive the boat, let him deal with the snags! From the bank, fish baits and lures deep under large floats / bobbers. Use large floats so that the wind or current will provide action to your bait. If you find that you catching a lot of little crappie, fish a bit shallower or deeper to try to find the bigger crappie that are probably nearby.
Ice fishing techniques for crappie are similar but must be done through a hole. Look for crappie in deep water during the day and moving into more shallow areas early and late. Many people jig their baits and lures to far up and down. The idea is to impart motion to attract fish, a slight but quick jump of an inch or so is often all that is needed, especially if you are at the proper depth.