Tip of the Week: Late Ice Crappie and How to Use Tip Ups to Land Trophy Pike

Category: article

 Mar 5th, 2021 by Keith Worrall 

Modified Mar 5th, 2021 at 7:53 PM

We are in the heart of late ice with ice going fast on a lot of lakes. We were still driving on the ice in north east South Dakota this week and we have good ice at home on Devils Lake. For those of you that can still get out, this period of time is one of the best windows of the entire winter.

In South Dakota, we got on a great crappie bite using tungsten jigs and plastics. This time of year, we often do better by fishing with larger profiles and more aggressive presentations. We were using the Maki Mino XL with is a bigger profile bait that is deadly for crappie right now. Spoons and glide baits like the Tikka Mino can also be deadly.

Still hoping to do some late ice walleyes on Devils Lake and perhaps LOTW. Going to also chase some panfish in Minnesota.

Here are a few things we wanted to share for late ice crappie.

1. Don’t be afraid to fish higher in the water column when the water starts soaking into the ice. We often catch fish right under the ice at late ice.

2. Upsize your tackle. This often isn’t a finesse bite. Target the biggest crappie with bigger baits.

3. When the shoreline starts to thaw and the ice starts to deteriorate, look for fish to push up shallow. The water will often stain when this happens.

4. Think adjacent to spawning bays. The first contour outside of bays where crappie will eventually spawn is a high percentage location.

5. Think safety. Wear a float suit. Have picks and a rope. Use a spud bar to check ice and remember that it takes more ice to hold you at late ice. If the ice starts to sag when you walk on it or starts coming up in cubes and chunks when you drill, get off. When the water soaks into the ice and the ice turns color, it is close to being done.

Looking to chase flags? Then this tip video will help you make the most of late ice.

Also be sure to check out the JMO YouTube channel for the latest tips and episodes.

Jason Mitchell

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