Finding and Catching Winter Crappie



Over the holiday’s we convinced an entourage of family and friends with all levels of angling experience to follow us off to Caddy Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park, Manitoba. We set everyone’s lines up with 1/16 to 1/8 oz jigs tipped with plastic maggots or grubs. Black and white jig heads proved to be the hit, tipped with a red coloured plastic. Lots of holes were punched during this trip and we all moved from about 20 feet off shore to the middle of the lake throughout the day to stay with the fish.



First time crappie anglers and experienced anglers, caught fish with and without electronics. Our master angler crappie count was up to 7 or so by the end of the day. Loads of perch were also playing with our lures, and there was even a decent sized sucker successfully iced.


We will let you in on one secret, fluorocarbon leaders! Use them!


Early in the morning and later in the day, the crappie proved to be more aggressive, noticeably chasing on the flasher screen. Throughout the rest of the day, you really had to work the fish or just let your lure sit about 2-3 feet of the bottom to attract some attention. If we didn’t mark a fish after a few minutes, we were moving on to the next hole!

Generally your first descent into a new hole will yield a mark or two on your screen almost right away or within the first few minutes. If that mark does come for you on the decent, reel up and allow the fish to chase (that’s an aggressive fish). The same technique can be used when jigging off of the bottom. If the mark proceeds to come up to your lure, reel up at a considerable pace and see if the fish chases. Often times, this would help us to distinguish if we were marking perch or crappie, as perch tend to be more sensitive to leaving the comfort of the lake bottom.


Bonus perch action on Caddy Lake


What if I want to set up my shack? As much as we like to have the freedom to move, it’s not to say our friends who picked a spot, set up their shack with heater, and jigged all day didn’t catch some trophy sized fish. You can also do the shack shimmy later in the day if things have really turned off, but consider having some patience with your spot if you marked fish earlier in the day.


Tungsten gets the job done

Let’s be honest fishing is just an excuse to get outside and spend some quality time with yourself, and maybe include your family and friends. If it’s your first time heading out on a lake, don’t be afraid to take time to check out the lay of the land. See where others are setting up, look for evidence of areas where people have fished  and just drill a hole and drop a line. Give yourself a break if you are new to crappie fishing, we are all explorers! On any given day, you might find something unique that works for you!


Happy New Year Everyone! Now make a resolution to go play outside more.


About Author


—Robert Karpiak spent his childhood hunting and fishing under the influence of his parents, grandparents and extended family, and became a professional outfitter and hunting guide at the age of 19. —Robyn Grant  threw her first cast three years ago in 2014, and once that lure hit the water she was hooked. Spending her summers in the Manitoba Whiteshell Provincial Park and Western Ontario, it didn’t take long for this casual weekend activity to morph into a full time passion.

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