Tag Archives: Crappie

2-5-16 – Good Day Off

My buddy and I took the day off to hit Lake Champlain. There seems to be a good number of fish in the islands this year so we thought getting out while the traffic was limited might increase our success. We got on the ice early and cut out a decent sized area before my auger threw a blade. Luckily, we had a backup hand auger which we wouldn’t need until later in the day.

The fish started biting before daylight approached so we knew that we got lucky that we didn’t have to move with the power auger being down. As sunrise approached, we honed in on a few different holes that proved to have a better flow of fish passing through.

We worked round and round steadily picking fish most of the day. Around noon, the bite slowed up big time so we cut a small half circle of hole and found what direction they were moving in. For the rest of the day, we cut small groups of holes to follow the fish as they moved towards deeper water.

Our theory of having better luck when less people were on the ice didn’t seem to matter but by no means was the fishing poor. We caught fish all day and didn’t move much from our initial starting point.

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1-22-16 – Early Ice Night Bite

Our long and drawn out early ice this season has put a damper on our night trips but we finally made it out for a few hours last week.  Ice conditions were good with almost a foot of ice as we scouted an area to set up for the evening.  It’s usually in your best interest to doing a little bit of scouting before you land on a spot for the night, especially if your fishing a new body of water or if the fish your after are difficult to pattern.

We cut a string of holes an hour or so before dark.  We focused our attention a few different points of natural structure.  This particular basin lake had a few small weed covered humps protruding out of relatively deep water. We started our line of holes on and around the hump in an attempt to locate fish.  After fishing through the holes, we decided to cut along the weed edge on the first major contour break.  It didn’t take long for us to hit a hole with with active crappie in it.  After we iced our first fish, we decided that was enough for us to set up the Clam hub and our Hydro Glow fishing light for the night.

There were some active fish in the area as we were able to hook into them right off the bat.  The fish were coming through in waves, maybe five to six at a time right near the bottom. Most times we find them suspending just above the weeds but that’s the beauty of having a fish finder. Adjusting to the bite is much less troublesome when you can see where the fish are rather than guessing.

The fish bit pretty consistently until 7:15 but we stuck it out until 8:15 in case things changed. They didn’t so we headed home and packed up for the next morning!

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1-15-16 – Basin Crappie

I was fishing a medium sized inland pond with a few buddies searching for crappie that roam over a large basin. After checking all the ice to make sure it was safe, we cut some holes and got to fishing.

The basin we were focusing on had a max depth of 25′. As we fished around, it was clear that the fish cruised anywhere from 22-25′. There was no hesitation when they moved through. As long as your bait was within a few feet of them, they would come up or down to hit.

All day long, I fished with a Half Ant Drop by Clam Outdoors tipped with 3-4 maggots. When I am in an area that is producing mainly crappie, I don’t worry about what I am using for bait because in general they don’t pluck the baits off like bluegills or perch. I think I could count on one hand how many times I had to put new bait on all day!

Success was a achieved today by speed. A quick up and down kept the fish below and aggressive. Having buddies nearby was also a benefit as the large schools of roaming fish could be slowed up while in feeding mode.

We released all the crappie but kept a few yellow perch for an upcoming fish fry!

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12-18-15 – Winter Prep Scout Trip

While we wait for some ice posts to  start up, lets talk about ways to improve your early ice success. In the past, we have written about scouting for productive weed patches before the ice forms but there is more to it than that. Knowing what makes them productive is key.

A few weeks ago, Andy and I spent time looking for crappie spots that would fire up for early ice on Lake Champlain. We went prepared with minnows and plastics. Knowing that there aren’t many fish that can resist fatheads, we planned on casting “Live” Baby Shad until we put some panfish in the boat, then we would anchor up and try to fine tune our presentations.

It didn’t take us long with the use of side imaging to find the main weed edges in a larger area and that was where we started fishing. While we had a strong wind from the west, there was a small bluff blocking that majority of what would have made it a very tough day. When the wind would let up, we could see the weeds. The taller weeds might have held fish but unless you can vertical jig, it is very tough to fish without constantly tangling up. Once we found weeds that were tall but tipped over at about 2′ off bottom, we started catching fish.

The crappie were suspending 2-3 feet below the surface in 5-8 feet of water and chasing minnows. Once we found the right depth to set our bobbers at, the bite stayed steady. We worked the “Live” Baby Shad all day and threw out a bonus rod tipped with a minnow. We caught pike, bass, crappie, and bluegill on it.

The bite preference changed several time over the course of the day. We had some wicked snow flurries that put over an inch of snow in the boat. Much of the day was spent in a white out! When the snow was flying and wind was blowing, the fish were super active and fishing fast seemed to produce the biggest fish with not many missed opportunities. When the wind would let up and the sun showed, dead sticking or the minnow was really the only way to catch fish.

We messed around on different types of weeds but only milfoil that was tipped over produced. Once we figured an area out, fishing the taller weed edges seemed to be the main corridors for movement. The fish preferred nastier conditions and we the best way to describe the bite was that we had to match the retrieval speed with the wind.

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3-15-15 – Mixed Bag

I returned to a place that I swore off for the rest of the year as the bite had been slow and very busy. With a heavy wind in the forecast , It was one of the places I thought that I would be sheltered though.

The fishing was as expected. It was slow but there were a few pickers in the mix if you hole hopped enough. With one decent fish per hole in the right area, it took a while for dinner to find its way into the bucket.

The majority of the fish were found cruising around open water suspended quite a ways from any weeds. Very backwards from a normal bite here. With late ice in the air, you can’t rule out any of the usual locations.

The fish were also particular with what they wanted. They liked a small gold jig and bubblegum plastic with one to two maggots stacked on top. From hole to hole the cadence also changed. Some liked it pounding while others preferred deadsticking.

It was a frustrating day but I ended up with a nice mess of fish to take home!

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3-13-15 – Crappie Evening Bite

I took the day to catch up on chores around the house but made plans mid day to chase an evening crappie bite with my buddy Mark. We ended up on the ice shortly after 4 and got right into the fish.

The fish were cruising a weed flat in 10-12 feet of water. They preferred the holes with weeds that came up to about 5 feet but could be caught just about anywhere. When you found them, they were super aggressive! We tried multiple jig, plastic, meat combos but it didn’t seem to matter as long as it was moving.

As the sun started to set, the fishing slowed but with fish still cruising, you just had to wait. Just about every fish that went through bit. As time went by we iced some nice crappie with the biggest pushing 13″. While the majority of the fish came through 6-8 feet off bottom, we did pick several right out of the mud.

We released them all for next time and packed it in just before 10.

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3-5-15 – Spring Is Coming!

The fish are starting to stage up in the areas we wait to see them in all winter. These are the times when big catches and big fish are the norm. Whatever you enjoy fishing for, there aren’t many times better than this!

I had a relatively slow morning for keepers but the number of small fish was unreal. As I neared the limit of small fish coming through the hole, I started to scheme where else I could go. I settled for a nearby cove.

It took a bit to find a concentration of fish but I was rewarded with big seeds and footlong crappie. They were set up in sparse weeds with a large thick mat nearby. As the hours passed the quality never changed. I hole hopped until it was time to head home and had a mess of quality fillets!

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