Well we went for a crappies on New Years Day, and they are biting. If you get a chance to get out. First pick a lake you know has good crappies, in size, numbers, etc. If it is a big or small lake, I think any lake with a small deep section concentrates crappies this time of year. Check the depth maps to know the lake, then pay attention to where all the ice houses are.
We picked a big local lake with a long deep water trench. There are several key areas along the deep water. We setup in a group of local ice shacks over 22-24 ft of water. After getting the holes drilled and house setup, we used our Vexilar flashers to get a feel for what was moving and where the fish were. There was a lot of bait from 12-17 ft down, with an occasional big mark. We've seen this many times before and dropped a small ice jig tipped with waxies to it. That put a nice crappie on the ice in under a minute. We set our second lines with bobbers and minnows at this depth as well.
In a little over 2 hours we caught plenty of crappies on both the jigging rods and the bobbers with minnows. It was a great evening and the crappies were once again an evening bite on this lake. Each lake has a time that the fish are most active. Some it's morning and evening low light times; others the last 2 hours of the day into the dark 1/2 to 1 hour; still others mid day, after dark, etc. If you have to pick a time, evening is the easiest for most people. I have found you can catch crappies all day, if you keep mobile and drill lots of holes and search for the schools of fish. When you find them, drop a small bait and work them to see their mood. Once you find them, then setup the shack and have a great time.
I'll get the kids out for more crappies and we'll certainly have a few crappie dinners. Now if you are catching lots, please release any you aren't going to eat within a day or two. But do enjoy a crappie dinner, there's nothing like a fresh crappie from the ice to your frying pan.. Yum..
Good luck and keep warm.
Minnesota Fishing Guide