Tag Archives: White Perch

5-29-12 – Thunder and Lightning Crappies!!!!

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.

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5-19-12 – Finally Got A Hook In One

After 3 failed attempts to connect on a spring walleye on Lake Champlain I finally got a hook in one.

I got on the water first thing in the morning with my guide for the day Scott Blair from VTSportsman.  The reports had been decent from the days before so hopes were high.  We unloaded the boat and headed out of the marina, the first spot was not far at all, just around the corner.  We had decided to use the same technique that I had discussed before, 3/8oz jig tipped with a minnow.  We also were prepared to drag crawlers if needed but “only if we had to”.  I rigged up two rods, one with a  jig and one ready to drag a crawler.  It didn’t take too long to get a hit once I got them both in the water.  The first rod to fire was the rod set up with a crawler.  I had high hopes from the type of bite that were had landed right on a school of nice walleye but up came a decent 12″ white perch.  Back in the water with him and back to jigging for me.  Shortly after that Scott hooked up with a healthy walleye, just under the 18″ length requirement of Lake Champlain.  This was a good sign as walleye are schooling fish and where there is one there should be more!  The bad sign was, it was a small male, close to the mouth.  For the time of the year and the water temp this means that the spawn is just about over and the fish are on their way out of the river, we better hurry and get these fish before they leave the river for good.  Another half hour of jigging with nothing to show for lead us to a new spot, well we thought we’d fish it but when we came around the corner there were about 15 boats drifting and dragging crawlers through the section of river that we wanted to jig.  Most boats had stringers out so we knew that there were some fish close by.  We kept right on going up river to another spot away from the crowd that has produced fish in the past.  It didn’t take long upon arrival for me to hook into my first walleye of the season.  I could tell by the bend in my rod that it was a decent fish.  I find the fight of a walleye to be an interesting fight.  First of all you only about 6 feet of line out when jigging so the hook set is quick and the fish is right there!  Keeping your drag set light is key, if you horse these bigger fish often times you’ll pull the jig right out of their mouth.  I let the fish take some line and eventually Scott was able to get the fish into the net.  It was a respectable 26″ inch fish.

The next hour or so brought Scott three more short fish but none that were keepers.  We left the water at 11am with only one keeper in the boat but that was ok since I was finally able to get a hook in one.  Walleye fishing is just about over for me for the summer, time to start chasing the crappies on structure.  Stay tuned for more posts and some great tips on catching Vermont’s crappie in the summer off structure!