Winter Crappie: Live Baits Vs. Artificial Baits

Winter Crappie: Live Baits Vs. Artificial Baits

The choices are nearly endless for crappie lures. (Shutterstock image)

Anglers can catch crappie on a variety of live or artificial baits any day of the year.

However, when water turns frigid during the winter, the metabolism of fish slows down and they don’t want to swim very far to grab a morsel to eat. Therefore, many crappie anglers stick to live baits when cold weather hits.

Crappie anglers need to convince the fish to eat an artificial bait by making it mimic a minnow or shad.

Minnows are a regular part of a crappie’s diet, so a crappie doesn’t need convincing to eat a minnow. It just needs to find the minnow without expending too much energy.


“In the winter, I use live minnows because that’s what the fish eat all year long,” explained Jarad Roper, a professional angler.


“I never want to fish below crappie. They generally look up to feed because of the way their eyes are positioned. Therefore, I always want to put the bait right above their heads.”


When fishing live minnows or other baitfish, don’t add any additional movement. Just let the fish swim around naturally where a big crappie might find it.

Note: This article accompanied a recent Game & Fish magazine story entitled Cold Water, Hot Action for Crappie.

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