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augernaut

Crappies - which location is it?

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I am not a big crappie guy, but really want to do more of it this year. I've done alot of reading up on the subject - and it seems there are two common themes on early/first ice crappie location. First, is that first/early ice crappies can be found suspended over the deepest hole in the lake, or a locally deep hole. Second, is that the crappies will be buried in any green weeds.

So - can anyone shed some light here - which is the more consistent spot - will they be found in both places simultaneously, or only suspended in deep water in lakes that don't have good green weeds or ????

Any help on what to look for as far as helping me where to look would be greatly appreciated!!

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I would check both places. Some lakes I find them suspended deep and some I only catch them shallow near weeds. Most lakes I try both spots, but preferr fishing them shallow if they will cooperate there.

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I have found them in both places, it seems that most of the time however I find them in the shallower 13-17ft range...they are also usually more cooperative there than in deeper water...

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I think that the deeper suspeneded schools quite often are not very active, not all the time but that as been my general experience. I find the most active crappies shallower, and tend to be bigger.

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Thanks - that helps! Now, for the guys fishing in that 10-17 FOW range - is that on a weedline, inside turn type deal, or a local depression within a larger flat, etc?

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I always fished deep water up north, is just how it was done. Since moving closer to the metro, i found that there are a lot of deep suspended fish, but for me, it is a lot of sorting to get some size. I will go out and pull a few to eat, just keep what i catch, but it is hard on them if you throw them back, and the crowds tend to go to the deep holes. So mainly i fish shallow weeds, 6-12 feet. And is sort of like summer, lots of weeds, but not all hold fish, so is some looking(work) to it. The plus is few if any people around, and bigger fish, and every type of fish. Patience is key too, it may be a HOT evening bite, so no point in going out at 1:00. Depends on the spot. Morning, mid day, could be anytime. Oh, still go out at 1:00, just bring tip-ups and suckers.

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I catch my fair share of crappies in shallow,around 12' where there are green weeds remaining, but also do particularly well in a deeper hole-20', adjacent to a point,on a local north metro lake. I like to arrive early, around 1 or 2,get setup,maybe a tip up out, pull in some blugills,then once the sun hits the horizon,the flasher seems to come alive, and the action lasts for hours. Cant wait to get out there!

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Just back tonight. Brought home a dozen crappies. All of them were between 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 inches. Caught them in 20 feet of water. Wasn't in the deeper part of the lake. Nothing special about the spot. When I find the crappies they aren't always in the large holes. My preference is to keep around the 20 foot mark and go out about 2 hours before dark and fish until about an hour after dark. Like Blainbob says. As soon at the sun starts to dip down the flasher lights up like a christmas tree. I drill alot of holes and do alot of hole hopping until I find fish on the flasher.

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I agree with broman,you can drill a lot of holes over an area,and move every 10-15 minutes if you get no action.You can move from a hole that produces nothing to one less than 10 feet away and be on the fish. You gotta stay on top of the school as they move around. I find myself fishing back at the same holes seeral times in a concentrated area<

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Yeah, my buddies were laughing at me yesterday as I moved from one hole to another to another with my flasher and rod. But..... I did find the hot hole and called them over. We drilled a second hole 30 feet away and they then iced 3 crappies themselves.

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Hole-Hopping always looks like a waste of time to Hole-Sitters, until you've smoked them five fish to one. All of a sudden they seem to get a little more mobile! I like to stay mobile while fishing, and the results make it worth while in most cases. As far as carppies go, I rarely venture too far from a weedline and try to stay 12-14'.

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Why so small?

I keep em between 10-12in

Why so big is my question? Selective harvest goes a long ways, much better for the crappie populations and size average if we release the >10" fish and ate the plentiful <10" fish.

15" crappies would be much more common here around the metro if more people would practice good selective harvest, although I see you are not from the metro area so you probably dont fish as highly pressured lakes.

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I agree with keeping some smaller fish. I try hard to find the bigger fish on my regular lakes,but generally keep only the ones around 8". I am a firm believer on just keeping what you will eat,leave some in the lake. I know the limits have been reduced for some time, but there is peoople who go out several times a week and keep their limits.

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Definitely - release the bigger fish, keep the smaller ones. VERY solid research around now on the negative effect of keeping the larger panfish in the system. Good to you guys who keep smaller fish and release big ones. It's a tough bit of education to get across.

Thanks for the tips/clues. I have ideas where to start now - and don't worry, I'm in central/northern Wisconsin, so none of your lakes are in jeopardy :-)

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Its pretty easy to decimate a panfish population by keeping the large ones. I've seen it in two lakes in a chain up in northern minnesota - one gets hammered by ice fishing, the other doesn't. They used to both have superb panfishing, now the one that gets ice pressure has mostly small gills in it. So sad

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I only keep em that size..

And I rarely take them home to eat.

I do catch a ton of smaller crappies like 8-9 inches. I like to release then to get bigger and keep some of the bigger ones. Occasionally I will keep some of the smaller ones but not too often.

If I do keep some bigger fish I don't limit out with them. I only take 3-5 depending on if we already have fish at home and if we're going to be eating them soon.

But what you guys are telling me is to keep the smaller ones. My question is if you keep keeping the smaller ones, there won't be as many fish in the 10-15 inch range.. What's the difference in keeping smaller fish and there will soon be no fish between 10-15... It's kind of like the idea behind slot limits. Like on the St. Croix river and walleye were you can't keep anything under 15inches...

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What's the difference in keeping smaller fish and there will soon be no fish between 10-15...

I think it mostly has to do with three things.

- leaving big fish for others to feel the rush (as long as they put them back) kinda like musky fishing

- like most creatures, big fish can create big fish. Kinda like tall people tend to create tall children. So the hope is to selectively help create large fish (my strange theory anyway)

- plus, there are always tons of younger, smaller fish and way less older fish, just nature

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