So you ask how to catch the little guys and how to get that
panfish in your pan and when ice fishing there are only a few key items to consider: bait, location and ice.
When it is cold the fish are slower and their hunting patterns change. Do not forget this - EVER. We are not much different,
we like our ice cream in the summer and chili in winter. Keep this in mind when fishing in any water temperature. Use fast
baits in warmer waters and slower baits in colder waters.
When the waters are cooler and sometimes frozen
everything below the surface moves slower so when choosing jigs pick ones that move slower, this means lighter weight too
as it will not sink so fast. Many of the plastic jigs will move smoothly through the water, this is a great advantage in the
spring months, but not so much in the colder waters.
Feathered jigs once wet will also smooth out
and move quickly through the water but an artificial feather sometimes will fall slower than most plastics. Do not forget
either that plastics will get stiffer when they get colder and this is part of the reason that smaller jigs work well in the
When the water temperatures drop below 50 degrees crappie will seek shelter in almost any
structure they can find, so choose a bait that will be found in shelter they are hiding in. Most waters will get a little
clearer when they ice over. When this happens use smaller jigs.
I would also suggest using really light
colors on the jig like yellows and whites. Some of the smaller plastics seem to work well for me I like to use smaller grubs
or tubes. When I know the water is clear I start with white or very light colors and work towards darker colors. But as the
visibility of the water changes go with a color that is only slightly lighter.
Remember most bait fish
or insects are really trying to blend in to the background so you want to stand out just a little bit more. It really is not
that hard when the waters are green use a slightly lighter green jig. But if the waters or currents are really active use
a stiff plastic jig and if the waters are still use a feathered jig because they will look more lively.
Another good trick is to use a light colored body with a medium contrasting head. For example use a yellow grub with a red
head or reverse it. But I've haven had a lot of success using opposite colors like red with green.
know we do not carry a color wheel, although it might help, in our tackle box but if the color combination seems unnatural
chances are the crappie might think so as well. You can use opposite colors if there is a gradient between the colors. Just
avoid sharp contrasting colors as these do not appear readily in nature.
Winter Time Crappie Fishing on Kentucky Lake