The lake’s frozen. It’s cold. It’s snowy. It’s toasty warm in your house. But out on the lake, under the ice, the crappie are still biting. In fact, winter is a phenomenal time to get out on the lake and catch crappie. I prefer to use jigs and other lures over minnows when I’m on the ice because…well because I’m lazy. You don’t have to mess with taking off your gloves and putting on a new minnow every ten minutes. And they work. Below are the top 5 crappie ice fishing lures you should be carrying with you.
First though, when buying crappie ice fishing lures there are a couple things to keep in mind:
You want your lures to be pretty small. Jigs should be in the 1/64 to 1/16 oz range. Plastic baits, Rapalas and spoons should be around 1-2 inches long. Crappie’s metabolism slows down in the winter which makes them move slower. Using small lures will give winter crappie more of a chance to strike. Smaller lures are also less likely to scare a school off. After all, you don’t want to drill more holes than you have to!
As stated in this article on the best crappie jig colors, there are four main strategies for choosing lure and jig colors that all boil down to this:
- Bring a bright colored jig/lure (pink, orange, white, etc.)
- Bring a subdued colored jig/lure (dark green, brown, black, etc.)
- Bring a chartreuse jig/lure
By having a few different colors of each of your jigs and lures, you will be able to figure out exactly what the crappie like the most on that particular day. With that being said, here are 5 crappie ice fishing lures and jigs you should carry with you every time you’re on the ice:
The Top 5
1) Tear Drop Jig – Northland Tungsten Hard-Rock Mooska Jig
- Tear drops are one of the most, if not the most popular lure for crappie ice fishing. Their shape mimics the profile of a juvenile baitfish. They also cut through the water better than round jig heads which is key in the winter when you need to get your lure back down to a feeding school.
- Tip it with a wax worm, small minnow, or plastic bait to attract more fish
- Tungsten and lead are the two materials ice fishing jig heads are generally made of. Usually, you want Tungsten. Why? Tungsten is denser than lead, which allows these jigs to be heavier than lead jig heads of the same profile. This will allow you to drop your jig back down quickly to a feeding school.
- The Northland Mooska Jig #12 weighs 1/16 oz and is a solid little teardrop jig for crappie.
2) Marabou Jig – Haggerty Marabou Ice Jig
- Marabou jigs are not typically used for ice fishing but can be very effective nonetheless. The marabou jig has a hairy skirt designed to “breathe” in the water in a tantalizing fashion.
- These Marabou Ice Jigs glow in the dark and come in a variety of flashy colors. Try the 1/32 oz for crappie.
3) Plastic Softbait – Berkley Gulp Alive Minnow
- Plastic softbaits can be as effective as using live baits, without the hassle of dealing with live bait. Berkley explains why their softbaits work.
- These Berkley Gulp Minnows are 1 inch long, scented, and can work great rigged with a teardrop or other style jig head.
4) Spoon – Swedish Pimple
- Swedish Pimples are a classic ice fishing lure. They are flashy and can easily attract nearby crappie when jigs and bait aren’t working. Bay de Noc Lures explains here how to fish one for crappie.
- You can even try using spoons like this as a search lure to attract nearby fish. Have another line in a hole drilled about 12 inches from the first. Rig this line with a jig or soft bait. This combo works great because the spoon attracts crappie for a closer look and the jig/bait seals the deal.
- Try going with the 1/10 oz and tip with a wax worm for added effectiveness.
5) Minnow Lure – Rapala Jigging Rap
- The Rapala Jigging Rap is great for ice fishing because it swims in circles as you jig. The eye of the lure is on the top, giving it a natural presentation. This circular swimming action will cause a lot of vibrations in the water which can attract nearby crappie.
If you bring each of these 5 crappie ice fishing lures out on the ice, you should have no problem bagging a few crappie. By bringing different style lures you are increasing your odds you will find something the crappie will like. Remember to keep the lures small and bring a few different colors. Depending on the clarity of the water and the amount of light penetration, lighter or darker colors may work better. If all else fails, try a chartreuse colored lure. For a complete guide on ice fishing crappie, look here.
What are your favorite crappie ice fishing lures? Let us know below!