Lindy’s Ice Worm is a standout for putting wintertime panfish on ice. Its horizontal profile and larva-imitating segmented body have fooled countless sunfish, crappies and perch over the years — and still do today.

Top tippings include soft plastics and live bait such as waxworms, both of which are typically fished with fairly active jigging maneuvers.

These tactics are undeniably deadly, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different trailers and actions. For example, tough-bite crappies that have just unstrapped the feedbag after striking lures with a vengeance often respond well to live minnows fished with a much slower hand.

A frequent scenario on some fertile fisheries sees a flurry of crappie activity throughout a cloudy or snowy afternoon. The fish often eagerly rise off bottom to strike small Rattl'n Flyer Spoons and Frostee Spoons tipped with a minnow head or waxies, as well as various bug-type jigs sweetened with larva or plastics.

When the sun hits the trees, however, the bite dies as the fish sink close to bottom and refuse to chase baits that triggered savage strikes earlier in the day. When the fish are in a particularly sour mood, even small glow jigs tipped with a single larva fail to elicit interest.

In such situations, rigging a small Ice Worm with a skin-hooked crappie minnow can sometimes turn the tide. While it’s common practice to impale a minnow on a vertical hanging lure like the Frostee Jig, fewer anglers do so with a horizontal hanger. And again, the jig should be small relative to the minnow.

Deadsticking is a great approach for this setup. But don’t rely on the rodtip to tell you what’s happening under the ice. Tight-lipped crappies may spit the bait if they feel the slightest resistance, so a spring-bobber or small Thill Float, balanced for near-neutral buoyancy, is also critical to success.

When a fish takes the float under or puts a bend in the spring bobber, avoid the temptation to set the hook immediately. As with larger predators like pike on a sucker rig, it’s often best to let the crappie move off a foot or more with the bait before setting the hook. Experiment with the duration until you get it right. If you’re missing fish, wait longer. If the fish are deeply hooked, set sooner.

This is definitely a bit unconventional way to fish an Ice Worm, but it catches fish and proves how versatile and effective these small wonders are for winter panfish.