Crappie. The iconic hard water fish. I believe the crappie to be the most sought after fish during the ice fishing season. And why wouldn't it be? Sitting over schools of suspended fish and filling your bucket with these delicious swimmers is top notch. But what happens when you can't hunker down over a crappie hot spot?
Mobility. You have got to get mobile. Many of us refer to this as hole hopping. When you find fish and they are gone as fast as you find them, start moving! Drill a series of holes on your favorite crappie destination. When you mark fish, drill many holes. A big mistake I see other ice anglers make rather often is distance. They drill their holes too far apart. Often times when you stop marking fish the school has only made a slight shift. I mean like a couple feet! I will drill my holes in rather tight cluster and work them very thoroughly.
When you narrow it down to your most productive holes, don't just sit on them. STAY MOBILE! You wont need to travel too far, but none the less, you still need to stay on the schools. Perimeter your hot holes with new holes only five feet away and just follow the school. It really does work! If you stop marking don't just pick up and walk 50 yards to a new hole. Stay on them, they usually don't go too far too fast.
Look for anything that my indicate these hot little productive spots. For example, snow pack on lakes with little snow. These areas that still have snow from drifts don't let as much light to penetrate which is often looked at by fish as structure. Attracting pods of bait fish and in return attracting the suspending crappies. You would be surprised at how small of an abnormality will hold fish.
In conclusion, stay mobile and be proactive. If you set up and stop catching fish they could literally be a few feet from you. Keep on the move and stay after them, Nothing comes easy. Tight lines!