Some tricks to catch crappies

I look forward to the last couple weeks of ice fishing all year long. The days are getting longer, temperatures are heating up, and some of the best ice fishing of the winter is in store.
As the snow melts, more sunlight gets through the blanket of ice and starts to wake everything up. Crappies—more than any other species—really start to increase activity during this time and fishing can be excellent.
With increased activity, fish start to move around a little bit more, so the same hole you have been fishing all winter long may not be the “hot spot” anymore.
Generally, fish will start making a move towards shallower waters, where they spawn shortly after ice-out. The move will not be far, and fish can be found with ease by drilling plenty of holes and checking them with a flasher.
I put away the really small, finesse baits and get out the hardware, so to speak. I like small jigging spoons, like a Northland Doodle Bug, because they fall quickly and have the ability to call fish in much more than the small stuff we use more of the winter.
I usually load up a couple of Gulp maggots on the hook and eliminate the need for live bait. If the fish are there, but not really responsive to this offering, you may need to drop a live minnow down.
But I seldom ever use bait anymore, especially once the snow melts off the ice. These fish are ready to eat—and will move on your bait much quicker than they do in January and February.
If you really want to catch a bunch of crappies and increase your chances at a giant, get up early and stay late. Action can be extra fast during these low light periods as the sun comes up in the morning and sets in the evening.
Use glow jigs that are easy to see. Crappies cannot see as well in low light situations, like a walleye, so the glow helps.
The reason that action heats up more during these times is there is a lot of life moving near the bottom of lake. Invertebrates lift up off the bottom and crappies are “pigging” out.
Many times you can see these little critters on your electronics. They look like interference and “clutter” on your screen, but they nearly always appear near the bottom and they make up the bulk of a crappie’s diet.
• • •
I spent the past week down in Toronto doing some seminars at the sportsman’s show and at Bass Pro Shops, and it was quite an experience.
On Saturday at Bass Pro Shops, I was told that more than 35,000 people came through the doors—and numbers would not have been much different at the show.
It was incredible!
I am going to spend the next two weeks on the ice, fishing hard and hopefully enjoying some warmer weather! See you on the water.

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