Catch More CRAPPIES thru the ICE, Plankton is the Key!

  • Crappies follow plankton, What To Do.
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Understanding the story of finding slab crappie in winter is explained here.

Hitting that magical window where crappies and zooplankton collide can produce some seriously impressive results. It’s all about finessing your way onto their dinner plate, on their schedule.  Full tip on Full tip on, few excerpts:

> Deepwater crappies can often be found following the vertical migration of zooplankton. Typically we think of the ‘magic hour’ as being sunrise or sunset, but that sunrise can be as much as an hour later under the ice (and sunset an hour earlier) thanks to the lack of light penetration.

> Increased light levels in the morning trigger zooplankton to vacate areas higher in the water column and slide back towards bottom. It’s a similar situation towards evening.

> Maybe you’ve noticed the bottom ‘lighting up’ on your flasher near dusk? Zooplankton will begin to rise off bottom as the light levels drop, and they feed on microscopic plant-like organisms called phytoplankton.

> Mud basins in the 22-34′ range are where the magic happens.

> Aside from fishing super-clear or heavily-pressured lakes, this is another time I feel fluorocarbon plays a big role. Not only does Sufix Invisiline Fluoro actually sink, but it drops 4x more quickly than mono.

> For me it’s not so much about the bait’s drop speed as it is to help keep the line tight using light jigs in deep water.

Ultra-finesse tungsten jigs are key for these filter-feeding crappies. Baits like VMC Tungsten Fly Jigs, or Jeffs Jigs and Flies Tungsten Shrimp and Zoo Bugs have that perfect compact profile yet are still fishable in deeper water.

Tiny jigs and assorted ultra-finesse freshwater filter-feeder creature critters add to the mix of being prepared when you look for winter crappie giants.

Basic colors such as straight glow, white and occasionally black work great as zooplankton are virtually translucent. Working the lure fairly aggressively will help to call fish in, but use subtle — almost quivering — jigging movements to seal the deal.

Of course, if those deep fish are aggressive and “flying up” to intercept your baits, you can throw on a 4-5mm tungsten jig or a jigging spoon instead and light ’em up FAST.