Jump to content

    If you want access to members only forums on HSO, you will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up .

    This box will disappear once you are signed in as a member. ?

crappie move, fall to ice


Recommended Posts

Last weekend of deer season, the crappies in my small 40 acre lake were suspended right where they always are in the deep water of the basin, and I caught plenty of them out there. Nothing but slime in thier stomachs, so I assume they were keying on zooplankton or some other small invertebrates. Now last weekend I got out on the ice and searched with the Vex, found absolutely nothing as far as crappies go out there or anywhere near there. Where would they go? In the spring and summer we get them at evening near brushpiles around beaver houses, do you think they maybe switched to a baitfish-oriented diet? Thanks for any replies. ~hogsucker

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think they switched to a baitfish diet, I just think they moved towards shallow areas. They are focusing on shallower weeds and structure right now. Are there any shallow flats nearby to where you caught them recently? Did you mark any fish out in the deeper water? I would try moving up onto a shallower flat and focus on 6-15 feet, assumming your basin is deeper than that. Being that you're fishing a small lake, I would punch a several holes and move until you locate fish. I would be willing to bet that you could find those crappies over shallow/muddy bottoms if any are present incombination with sparse weeds.

Another explaination could be that those crappies you caught out over the deeper basin just decided to roam. They might have been intent on foraging on the micro-organisms in one location in the past, but now they are staking out new water. Crappies will roam during early ice, and they will constantly circle areas or holes. That's why you see a school of fish come through, then disappear, then return again.

Good Fishin,

Matt Johnson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Clarify how you were searching for them. In that, I mean, were you drilling holes and then checking for suspended fish?

Last weekend I was out, and I used the Vex to locate a school of fish suspended up from the bottom in 27 feet of water. I set the ducer on the ice, and read through the ice until I located fish.

Once I found a school, I drilled a hole to fish. However, as soon as I drilled the hole, the fish were gone.

They are very spooky this time of year, especially if your basin area is under 20 feet deep.

In my case, I chased the school, drilling several holes once on them and them spooking, and they eventually moved up against the breakline and stayed put long enough to fish them and gain their interest.

Otherwise, like Matt said, the Crappies can be shallower then you might expect. Weed edges and flats could be holding alot of the fish, whether it be inside the weeds, on the edge, or just adjacent to the outside edge.

Also, a possible scenerio is a twighlight or night bite, where the fish just don't make themselves apparent until dusk or dark.

I fished a lake for first ice that had many slab Crappies. The basin area topped out at 13 feet of water. When I headed out during daylight, not a fish could be found in any depth on the Vex.

I went back at twighlight, and checked all my old holes (advantage of warmer weather, and having the holes still open meant I didn't have to drill new ones, thus eliminating the chance of spooking the fish)

Right in 12 feet of water on the breakline, in the very same holes searched just hours before, lied 3 red blobs. Those three red blobs were hungary 13" Crappies, and the hole replenished itself as I caught more fish.

So, there you have it. Location, Time of Day, and search methods. All some things to consider.

[Crappie fishing according to Jeff. (it's not gospel, but it's something)]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have submerged shoreline brush and beaver huthces there, I look to fish the deeper ends of the brush and the outside circumference of the beaver house and gradually move in to the shallower water.

For years I fished a backwater area that had this humonous beaver hut. It layed just on the edge of a deepwater channel, but was not ever as deep as that water. We always started by poking our holes from just about where the sunken wood began on the bottom, probably twenty feet from the visible portion of the hut, and made a staggered pattern almost to the visible wood. And we caught crappies there until the ice got to be about a foot and a half thick.

Matt has mentioned roaming fish, and trust me, he speaketh the truth.If I had the same area to fish today I'd have so many holes put in aroung the house that the ice would be barely safe to stand on....only so I could move freely and not make a ton of noise once the fish are found. Wealways found exactly what he described...fish would hit, leave the area, then return and hit again. The fish can be purused too if the holes are there ahead of time. The best times to fish the beaver hutch was during the low light periods and cloudy days. But I think thirtyfive years ago, I was not really as prepared as I am today....understanding-wise.

As for the shallower water....we are still thin on ice so it is early for the fish to be staying in deep water all the time. Cold fronts might drive them closer to that water, but moderating weather will free them up again. We are not that far out of the fall patterns and brushpiles, submerged wood, weeds, and shallow water near deeper water will all hold fish at times yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the advice, guys. To clarify, it is an hourglass-shaped lake and the near basin drops to 60 feet, with the majority of the center of the lake being 40-45 feet. I usually find the crappie schools in 40-45. These fish do not spook. In deer season I dropped an anchor in them and they didn't move. Green cabbage was around, and good deep weedlines exist at this time, around 16 feet. This Saturday I may try to find a turn or something on one of these, and fish it toward dusk. Even better if it's in close proximity to a beaver house with a good feedpile. Hopefully the shallower bite will materialize. Would finding pockets inside the weeds be better than an edge? Thanks again for any help. ~HOGSUCKER

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.