After doing some house hold chores that had been building up since the end of ice season I pulled my boat up to Lake Champlain on Saturday morning. Weather at departure was overcast skies and temps in the low 40’s. The plan was to be meeting up with some of the boys from VT Sportsman and see if we could put some crappie in the boat. Arrived at the launch at 9 and managed to get the boat in and only get a little bit of water in my boots. I arrived at my spot to find only one other boat there and one person fishing from shore, luckily I was good friends with the shore fishermen and knew who the boys in the boat were. I pulled in, dropped my anchor and made a cast, nothing. The boys in the boat were pulling fish left and right so I did my best to re-position ethically to a spot where I could reach the fish. The fish were on fire for the first hour, however the bait that they really wanted was a Bobby Garland baby shad in Black Bubblegum.
The fish were schooled up pretty hard and with the right cast you would get bit every cast. Most crappies in the morning were all worthy of the cooler and I did see many nice fish (12″) being caught.
As the day went on we were joined by many more people who knew that the bites was on. The overcast day turned into a blue bird day. I don’t mind other people fishing around me, but I was constantly being blocked off with my casts by another fishermen. Not very ethical in my mind. So me being who I am decided that I would leave fish to get away from the crowd, not a great idea. I fished nearby in some areas that had the same structure as the one where we were getting fish but only found small perch. So, I made my way back and set up in a different spot. By this time the bite was slowing considerably and the fish were spread out making things much more difficult. The water temp was only 45 degrees, I think these fish were here because the bait was there. I did however check on my Navionics app and noticed that this part of the way was actually an inside turn, and the exact spot that the fish were in was the turn itself.
The crappies stopped biting and the bluegill came in, which is probably the reason why the crappies vacated the area. I switched up my baits to a small Mister Twister Tail in a motor oil color and managed to boat some really nice bluegill and pumpkinseed. Ended the day with a dozen crappies and 24 nice bluegill and pumpkinseed. Wish I would have been there at daylight!
So this winter we were lucky enough to stumble upon a great little spot that held huge amounts of crappie. The fish were stacked up all winter in a deep hole on a bend. Deep water crappie excite me but we had a lot of learning to do. With all the warm weather up here last week, I was excited to take the drive and see if the ice was out at the hole. We were on ice there a week and a half ago and there was still a foot and a half of ice, so I was not sure what I was going to find. Well just before the spot there is a small lake that was still completely iced over, my excitement soon shrank. A few more miles up the road it came back again, the spot was iced out, Game On!
There is no boat launch to this spot so I was forced to bring my small little row boat and Mark to help me get it into the water. The temps were cold, 40 degrees when we got there in the morning and raining. With my Clam blue suit in hand, I grabbed my Vexilar and loaded up the boat and slid it down the bank into the water. Row Row Row we did to the hole where we were successful all winter. As soon as we got there Mark snagged a nice little Crappie. I decided to run a Fat Boy made by Lindy under a bobber 7-8′. From what I saw this winter, most of the larger fish were caught 6-8 feet down cruising the channel of the deep water. I knew I would catch less fish but I also knew that if I did hook one then it would be a dandy. It didn’t take long to watch my bobber disappear and I had a decent 11″ Crappie.
We found one spot where I was marking a ton of fish on the Vexilar and so I decided to take the bobber off and vertical jig some “big reds”. It was tough because in my excitement to load the truck the night before I forgot to throw in my anchor. Our biggest dilemma of was the day was that we were unable to stay right on top of the fish. I did manage to also pull up some really nice river perch in the deep water that were schooled with the crappie. The most effective method was a Fat Boy tipped with a white Mister Twister rigged under the bobber 7-9 feet. “This did make for interesting casts, Mark was on the look out all morning!”
Once our clothes were wet enough that we were shaking from the cold damp March day, we decided to do some exploring. Since this spot always produced we had never really seen what the rest of the setback had to offer. We loaded up the boat, sat in the truck for a bit to warm up and took a walk. To my surprise we found some of the best spawning habitat I had ever seen.
The ice was just out here as I could tell since the crappie were still in their suspended holding pattern so this spot had not warmed up enough to draw the fish in. You can bet that I’ll be there next weekend to learn more about these Glory Hole crappie!
Here are some pics of some of the days catch.
Bobby and I trailered his boat to the Lake Champlain today and were fishing by 8am. The weather has turned and we were no longer spoiled by temps in the mid 70’s. Damn! Today was in the mid 40’s with a slight breeze but fortunately no rain while on the water. I guess this is more like normal spring weather conditions as we both did our fair share of shivering! Its funny to think that only a few weeks ago we were trudging around on the ice happy as can be in single digit temps, not the slightest bit phased by the cold!
The fishing was slow but we still managed fish. The water temperatures we experienced today ranged from 46 to 56 and that was just in one bay. Other places fit within the spread. It seemed like we were in pockets that contained only smaller crappie and largemouth bass. I think that the cooler temps either shut the larger fish down a bit or pushed them out to different structure.
The surface of the water was active all day by larger fish chasing bait. Everywhere we looked made the slow bite even more frustrating! Throughout the day we changed our bobber height but found that when we got too deep we picked up green slime and no fish. The best depth of the day seemed to be between 10 and 15″. In that depth range we picked up lots of gills, seeds, bass, and short crappie. Catching some fish is better than no fish! We called it an early day and headed back to the boat launch around 2:30pm.
We messed around with plastic colors today. The best producing color was a smoke with black flake Mister Twister. The jig head color didn’t seem to matter much as I tried bright, dark, silver and gold with similar results with all selections.
After packing up the boat we took a few casts from shore to see if we should have stayed closer. The gills were on fire and I got three crappies that were 8-9″ in maybe 20 minutes. Just goes to show that this time of year it is possible to be effective even if you don’t have a boat.
The weather provided us fishermen of Vermont with another spectacular day on the water! Blue skies, a light wind, and a long spring day graced us with ideal conditions for landing some some nice crappie and bluegill on Lake Champlain. Although the fishing wasn’t as good as yesterday it sure beats the hell out of work! I am going to struggle when I actually do get back to work. For now, the time is ticking and I’m not wasting it… I’ll be back out the next two, maybe three days!
I was set up for fishing around 6:30am and there were already good numbers of people around. The fishing only provided a few good runs of crappie for the entire time I was there but it was possible to pick them throughout the day. It is a blast when there is a good run going on and people are swarming to the action. Seeing like 10 bobbers fighting for real estate in a hula hooped sized area is a riot. Its amazing there aren’t more big knots tied across the water. I found myself catching a lot of fish in the 8-9.5″ range but saw some real slabs get pulled.
The set up today was pretty much identical to yesterdays. I ran a bobber with 12-15″ of like under it. I switched between maroon and white tungsten jigs a few times today. I used both Powerbait minnows in black and white and Mister Twisters in yellow and white all day. I never found a time when the fish wanted it deadsticked at all. Yesterday it went in phases for what they wanted. Most of the fish I caught today were gills and seeds. I did catch a few large hybrids that are always neat to see!
Cleaning my fish tonight, I took some pictures showing how proceed. I till try to get it up within the next few days. Ideally, there will be some video to go along with it as well! Check back tomorrow for more action!
We hit the shores of Lake Champlain today fishing for staging crappie. The water is low for the time of year but considering the weather conditions this past winter, there isn’t much water for a “spring runoff.” The water we were fishing was 3′ or less and warming up fast. The bite this morning for us was slow but as the day warmed so did the water and it turned the fish on. We noticed an increase in size of the fish as the day progressed as well.
We left with our limits around 2pm after about 6 hours of fishing. We discarded many of the fish that were of “keeper” size as the bite was decent enough. We found the best pockets of crappie to be in the shade but were most willing to bite on the fringe of the sun/shade area on varying colors. Mister Twisters and Powerbait minnows that were black and white placed about a foot under a bobber seemed to be our best options. Sometimes the fish wanted the bait moving while others it had to be still. It took time to get fish but when they came through it was very will possible to pull a few!
Other species we caught were perch, pike, pumpkinseed, and bluegill.