I got out of work early yesterday due to a bomb threat so I called some buddies and we went to check out a crappie bite that had been hot recently. The weather was bad, hit or miss thundershowers all day. I looked at the radar and the closest storm was over the great lakes so I thought we had some time to get a few hours in. I picked up my buddy and his boat and headed to the lake.
We got to the lake at 1 pm and noticed some blackness overhead so we waited 15 minutes for a storm to blow over and we hit the water. I was very familiar with the bay that we were on. I had spent many hours ice fishing this bay on my own and also during the VT Sportsman tournament series. The bay is notorious for holding large numbers of gills, seeds and crappies during the winter but it’s usually only a staging area for them. The fish were there now and we had to find them. The bay is nothing more than a larger 6-8′ flat with pockets of weeds. Once you found the weeds you found fish. A good graph would be key or in our case the Navionics app on my phone pointed us in the right direction.
It was not a good day to be bobber fshing. The wind was blowing about 15mph from the south and boat positioning was an issue. The wind also created some decent sized waves with white caps that I think was spooking the crappies away from our baits. We managed to find a school of fish and I caught two decent crappies right off, but the anchor didn’t grab and we lost them.
Why were these fish here? Well this is my theory. We have had a really dry spring here in Vermont. These fish usually head for one of two near by creeks to spawn. I don’t think they ever made it due to the lake level being so low. I think these fish decided that it would be better to save their energy and spawn in the shallow weed beds and stick marsh of the bay. Hopefully they make this decision for years to come!
Back to the fishing. The three of us tried lots of different baits to try and get the crappies to bite. The two most successful baits were the Berkley Gulp Minnow , and the Bobby Garland Baby Shad rigged under a bobber on a 1/16oz jig. The bite slowed but I had another theory that payed off. We were catching white perch one after another and they were feeding aggressively. We see this a lot in the winter with the gills and seeds in which their feeding activity actually causes the crappies to bite less or the fact that they are lazy and the seeds and gills beat them to the bait. Another factor working against the crappie on this day was the weather. The waves were big, and the lake was churned up and the crappies were laying in the weeds on the bottom. I took my bobber off and decided to slow role my jig tipped with the Gulp minnow. First cast I pulled a nice 12″ crappie. I would cast out, count to 7 figuring a 1′ drop per second, and then slowly swim the jig through the weeds. This got the bait below the white perch and into the crappie laying in the weeds on the bottom.
We ended the day boating some nice fish and running away from another big thunderstorm. I kept a few for dinner and that’s that.