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Ice Fishing Guide - Finding Fish

| Bluegill | Crappie | Perch | Largemouth Bass| Northerns | Walleye | Trout |

Crappie

Another fish popular with winter anglers is the crappie. In some years and in some places crappie are more numerous and more in demand than bluegill. Abundant fairly easy to catch and fine table fare they are popular with winter anglers.

Crappie stay in schools so once they are located it s fairly easy to catch enough for a good fish fry. Concentration points for crappie include the rock faces of dams and flooded timber along inundated creek channels and draws. Because crappie tend to school ice fishermen also concentrate in those spots. On good crappie waters such as the Salt Valley lakes near Lincoln large numbers of anglers gather and by nightfall the crappie hotspots look like small towns on Saturday night. Often hundreds of gas lanterns dot the ice while fishermen tend their lines among sleds and shelters or visit with their neighbors.

The crappies noctumal habits appeal to many fishermen allowing them several hours of good sport after work. Though darkness seems to trigger the fastest and most consistent crappie activity good catches are also common during the day.

Schools of crappie often stay suspended at specific depths and an angler must not only try different locations but also different depths at each location. Generally crappie are found in 10 to 25 feet of water. Once located crappie are fairly easy to catch. A jig-pole with four-pound-test monofilament line a No. 4 or No. 6 light wire hook a small split-shot for weight a foot or so above the hook and a bobber that barely supports the rig and bait or a spring bobber are all that is needed.

For times when the fish are finicky veteran anglers have a few tricks to stimulate feeding. Nearly all jig their minnows now and then although sometimes the jigging is rather gentle. Some anglers clip part of the minnow's tail fin to increase its activity, while others hook the minnow below the backbone through the fleshy area behind the body cavity so that it hangs upside down. The minnow must then swim constantly to remain upright, and the extra action provided by the active minnow is more likely to attract a crappie's attention. Some fishermen also sift crumbled egg- shells into the hole, hoping that the flash of the falling white flakes might resemble a school of minnows and attract hungry crappie.

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