Ice Fishing: Keep Backup Baits Rigged for Crappie and Perch

Photos by Blaine Anderson

At some point, ice fishing probably starts to get a little personal. We know the fish are down there, because we’re marking them on his finder. They’re just playing hard-to-get.

Connecticut ice angler Blaine Anderson knows that sky conditions, time of day, and fishing pressure can fiddle with the crappie and perch he seeks. For example, daylight through mid-morning sees a pretty fierce bite that tapers off as the sun gets higher in the sky.

Too many augers punching through an area, a little front changing up the meteorological mix—there are lots of reasons why fish aren’t blasting everything that drops.

But acknowledging these factors in no way signifies his acceptance of defeat.

“More often than not, I can get them to eat,” Anderson said of his diverse offerings. “Usually, when you get them coming, they absolutely smash the bait.”

Anderson keeps the game going by keeping four rods—each rigged with a different lure—on standby. His go-to is a No. 2 or 3 Lindy Darter, a noisy bait with lots of vibration. When the bite’s on, this is an easy sell.

If the fish turn up their noses, Anderson drops down a Lindy Rattling Flyer tipped with a minnow. If it’s still a no, he’ll alternate between a 1/16- to 1/32-ounce Lindy Frosty Spoon and a Lindy Slick Jig. The latter gets a minnow threaded onto its hook.

“I’ll work a fish for upwards of 2-3 minutes before I give up on that particular fish and move to another hole,” Anderson said.

The bottom line? Ice fishing can be a lot like sales: “No” just means “Not now.”