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Just wondering if anyone has got any special tips on triggering crappies to bite. I mark these suspended fish(pretty sure they are crappies because once in a while they bite and catch them) but most times they won't bite. Just wondering some tips on jigs or whatever might help. I've got spring bobbers and tried floats. One thing for sure is that they are very lite biters. Well any info would be appreciated.

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Iam not a pro by any sense but Ill tell you what has worked for me.Usually if the bite is very suttle,I will downsize my bait and sometimes use only a half a spike or none at all.I personally like to use a ratso or shrimpo made by custom jigs and spins.If I start with a ratso and nothing is biting then I will either change to a shrimpo or try a different color. If iam fishing with minnows I always use a ice buster bobber and have it set so the top of the bobber is just at water level. If using jigs with or without waxies I always use a spring bobber as that sometimes is the only way to detect the light bite.Maybe Matt will see this post and he can chime in on some better advice than I can give you.

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I go small. Size 8 or 10 ratsos or shrimpos and size 12 or 14 marmooskas tipped with euro larvae is pretty much all I have used this ice season so far - with good results. I haven't bought any other live bait yet and I have yet to use a float this year. Of the six rods I usually bring out on the ice, five of them are equipped with spring bobbers. I like to play the color-switching game. If fish seem neutral toward one color I’ll change it up.

As far as triggering them to bite, I'll try to get them to chase the bait. Once they show up on the flasher I slowly lower the bait in front of them and jig it with super small lifts and drops. Then I will continue this while lifting it up and away from the fish. Whether they dominate it or nonchalantly follow it up, they usually will chase after it. If they don’t commit all the way I change the colors.

I haven’t been out after dark yet this season, but once the sun drops below the trees I have found the shrimpos, ratsos and marmooskas to be less effective. I usually will fish with crappie minnows after dark, though I haven’t had a need for them yet this year.

Hopefully this helps. I can try to be more descriptive if this is not clear.

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Go with a tiny crappie minnow and hook it upside-down and through the tail on a vertical or angled jig (like the Genz Bug). What this does is force the minnow to constantly try and upright itself because its equilibrium is off, so the minnow is always moving and really mimics a dying minnow. It's an easy meal for a lazy crappie and they can't resist. This will also keep the minnow from swimming all over the place, and you won’t need to use as heavy of a jig to keep the minnow down and in place, so the crappie will feel less resistance when grabbing the bait. And, when a crappie goes in for the kill, it always takes the minnow head first and the hook is right where it needs to be. Hooking percentage with this technique is very good. Rig this up below an Ice Buster and cut it down as low as possible, so when the fish farts it’ll cause the bobber to sink (that’s if fish can fart wink.gif).

Then I would also work a size 10 or 12 jig tipped with a single euro larva. This could possibly even be just the head of a Ratso or Shrimpo. I also like size 10 Fatboys in red glow too. But the key here is to go small like previously mentioned.

I would also incorporate a spring bobber. Not many days go by on the ice where I won’t use a spring bobber, especially when the bite turns light. It’s honestly like night and day, and you’ll detect a whole lot more bites with a spring bobber.

I would also downsize your line to 2 pound test if you haven’t already, that can also make a big difference. This not only affects how the jig performs, but also on visual appeal and affect towards the fish. I prefer P-Line Floroice myself.

Another method that works well for me is to pinch on a few Thill Dust Shot starting about 8 inches up from your jig and about 2-3 inches apart. What this does is act both as a weight for really small jigs, but it also represents more “food” for fish that will essentially draw them in. It resembles plankton and other organisms in the water. I will then use like a 1/200 oz Talon Tear or something as a hook for this rig, and tip it with a single maggot.

A lot of options out there for triggering these fish, and some nights it just takes time and patience before you get them to bite. You might have to work a fish over for a couple minutes before is decides to take the jig. Other times you have to present the bait below the fish instead of above the fish in order to get them to bite. Just keep at it and keep going through your arsenal.

Gotta love crappies! One day they’re going gang-busters devouring anything that gets in front of them and another day they make us realize how we take those first ice bites for granted grin.gif

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I LIKE TO USE #14-16 DRY FLY FINE WIRE HOOKS PURCHASED FROM CABELA'S FROM THE FLY SHOP UNDER A FLOAT AND SET THE DEPTHABOUT 2 FEET HIGH THAN YOU WOULD MARK THEM ON YOUR GRAPH.

MY THEORY IS THAT IF THEY WOUNT BITE THE JIG AND A MAGGOT

ITS BECAUSE THEY CAN SEE THE JIG AND DONT LIKE IT .

BY PUTING ON THE 14-16 HOOK MAKES IT HARD TO SEE AND THE MINNOW CAN MOVE AROUND FREELY AND NATURALLY ...JUST MY 2 CENTS?

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Thanks for all the tips guys and I'll have to give them all a try. I have tried a lot of them but like you said, it will just take time and will vary day to day. I'll let you all know if I get some of them to bite tonight. Thanks again.

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Matt, Tom, loebs and others have given you a lot of information and that should help you out quite a bit. However, I would like to add a few things that may help in addition to what you have already learned.

1) Dependent on ice thickness, a hole can be drilled without breaking through the ice. Place a well-lit lantern or spot light in the hole so light is penetrating through the ice and into the water. Light during low-light periods tend to make the fish more aggressive.

2) If you're using waxies, pinch off the tail of the waxie, so the fluid of the waxie is "oozing" out into the water. This can create an extra scent attraction for finicky fish.

3) Use glow lures when applicable and keep them well lit.

4) When pannies are finicky, I've actually found them to be much more aggressive during the early morning low-light hours than in the evening.

Give these things a try along with all of the other posts and you should certainly have more fish flopping in the pail! Good luck.

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Bump!

This is one of the better posts I have come across for those pesky light biting gills and crappies. Howellcanufish and I were joking the other day about printing this out and bring it with on our ice fishing trips. I decided to just reread it and give some kudos to those who shared information here.

This seems to be one of by biggest problems thus far in this season and hopefully this tips will aid in more successful hooksets.

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You're not that out of line Tyler. I've printed out many things off of this site and brought with me either in the fish house or boat. Utilizing information that has been shared is what it's all about!

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I always thought it was illegal to use artificial lighting to draw in fish winter or summer. Am I missing something here?

Flipper out

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You bring up a good point and I don't know that the answer is very "clear cut". On page 17 of the regulations hand book, it makes a reference to artificial lighting and glow lures. When I was referring to utilizing a lantern, I was specifically referring to my lantern which runs off of propane. I would think this tactic would be fine if you're first intention was to use it as lighting for your fish house. I could be way off base and if necessary, I would suspend my tactic immediately to be in compliance with regulations. However, take into consideration an evening tip-up fisherman with a lantern by each tip-up during clear ice conditions. Is that artificial light attracting fish to the area where the tip-up is? It seems like there is a "gray area". This may be a great question for our local DNR official the next time we run into one of them.

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I think the CO would look at intent. If your intent was to light your shack or tip-up area, then you are OK. If your intent was to deliberately shine the light down to attract fish, you may be in trouble.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

As long as you do not have an artificial light below the waterline you are fine.

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Rick

Do you consider the waterline to be the top of the ice sheet or the top of the water below the ice?

The reason I thought this might cross the line is because the hole was being drilled in the ice to intentionally illuminate the water and draw fish to the area or make them more active.

Flipper out

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It sounds like one of those deals that is too "iffy" for my liking. I'm not planning on using this tactic again until I talk to a law enforcement official.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just had a quick question about the ratso and/or the shrimpo. What do you put on the hook or do you just fish this without any bait. I have bought a couple of these and never could figure them out. Any advise would be great.

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They can be fished alone or with a portion of wax worm. Typically, the smaller the portion of wax worm, the better the action of the presentation.

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I am fairly new to ice fishing, that is I have started taking it more seriously in the past years, and I have a question.I hear alot about these lures, the rasto and shrimp, but what I dont know is who makes them or where I can get them. Any help?

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Custum Jigs & Spins makes them and almost all sporting goods stores carry them (Gander Mtn,Cabela's,Scheels,Fleet Farm, most bait shops,ect.)

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Reel Fishing and Tackle has some in Madison Lake, as does Gander Mountain in Mankato. Or else you can order them online at either their website (www.customjigs.com) or you can purchase a few different kits right here on FM... Custom Jigs and Spins Tackle Kits

Those Ratsos and Shrimpos are indeed excellent panfish jigs, they have become a mainstay of mine over the last several years.

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It is made by custom jigs and spins. They also have the ratfinke which is a great lure choice. I have had great sucess for walleye on the ratfinke with a minnow, but failed to get anything on the ratso or shirmpo, mainly because I havent used them much and didnt know what to bait them with.

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Josh I would go to Scheels in the mall or down town to the bobber shop, they should be able to explain to you how and were to best use them. The benefit to Scheels is its in the mall wich make the Mrs. happy she can treck around the mall and you can relax and talk fishing to the guys back in the shop. Sound like double bonuss to me but the people a Mad lake are always up to speed on takle as well.

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Thanks for your help guys, I will be visiting my local store tonight to track em down. Should have plenty of time this weekend to try them out for myself.

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