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decoy

Crappie Help

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Help me find the crappies.

I have been fishing on a small lake with some structure and contour. Max depth in the lake is around 28-30 feet. I know it has a good amount of crappies in it, but haven't had much luck catching them.

I've heard rumors of a guy that goes out after dark and returns with crappies, but it is afterall, a rumor.

Lately with the cold snap, a guy wants to set up and stay put. Where to go and set up is the question.

I seem to have the best luck with gills and bass as of late, in 28ft off of a drop off point, but have only seen one crappie in the camera by day here. I am willing to do a little exploring.

Where do I want to go for crappies?

I've only caught one by day, right off the bottom.

It seems to me that the crappies are most likely wondering around all over the lake, slightly off bottom. In any given depth, without a set pattern.

So, I'll be lucky to get on top of them by day...

Where should I be by day, and or by night?

Thoughts? All pointers appreciated.

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What is the water clarity... Some lakes are not very good for crappies duringthe day.. no matter how hard you try, they just do not feed much.. Other lakes I know, its hard to get them at night?

This time of the year, I would look for the deeper hole in the lake. Or if you can find an area that has some shallow water with a smaller deep hole in it? The other option is a weedline. There are some crappies that will always relate to weeds it seems.

Try the deep hole and see if you mark any suspended fish with your eletronics.

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Is there a good weedline nearby? Don't rule out those areas especially if the weeds are green and standing. If Crappies are looking for food than they will take advantage of ambushing baitfish in those areas. I like to start with larger plastics like Power tubes or even Power Minnows to search out the active feeders. If the fish don't want a big bait here than try a Ratso with or without bait.

If the lake has a lot of snow and ice right now than I would start searching the deep water basin of the lake looking for suspended fish. These fish will be lingering arouond a bit lethargic because of depleting oxygen levels. There they will mostly be feeding on insects, small invertibrates and micro-organizms. This will call for smaller baits with small plastics. Try a horizontal glow jig along with a couple spikes if they aren't real aggressive.

Good luck,

Corey Bechtold

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Water clarity is pretty good.

Well, I don't know much about the weed lines. There are weed lines up shallow in the summer time of course. But, it's pretty much a bowl with a slight varition here and there. There are no other steep dropoffs other than where I'm fishing at that I know of. It looks to me like all of the vegitation is lying dead and decayed on the bottom.

These lakes don't have actual Cabbage that a guy finds like in the lakes near Bemidji. It's mostly Coontail and grasses with rushes and cattails in the edges. Some shallow pads are around the edges also in the summer.

So, I guess I need to explore later when the temps allow. I definately want to do that... But with a windchill of -20, -25*... I'm not going to be doing much run and gun.

Earlier in the season, it was easier to shoot a depth through the ice, but now as the ice thickens and clouds up, the vex can't read through honestly...

Thanks for the tips.

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If you're fishing during the day, move into the shallower water near the weedline or in weed pockets. If I was you, I'd look for mud in deep water that is near a sharp break and/or shallow water or a flat. If you can find mud, fish it at sundown into the dark, that is when the little critters crappies feed on are most active, and they come out of the mud. If you have a map of the lake, or it's on the DNR site, just shoot me an email and I'll take a look at it and try to recommend an area.

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One other consideration. whats the crappie population of the lake.? The other posts have pretty much given good advice. But the population plays a role as well. I fish crappies almost exclusivly. Each body of water has its own

thing about it. Low light. sunny days. cloudy...... wind direction on a certain lake I fish... if it is out of the north. stay home or go someplace else.

I search for bars if the lake has em. and even if the map says there are none, then use the open water period with your boat and run the lake looking for structure that isn't on the lake map.

My son and I have fun hitting new lakes winter, summer and fall. One lake we can fish from 9 am to 3 Pm and it goes dead after that - then we cross the road to another lake to go after the sun down crappies.

Any how, check the population from the DNR reports if it shows low then your results might be the same for finding lots of fish.

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One thing I think about when looking for crappies on a smaller lake, is what happens to the oxygen? Corey mentioned that the crappies will be lethargic in the depleted oxygen so look deep for them. I think he's right on. Because they're inactive, the best bite for me is when the bait is on the drop. You will only notice the slack in the line. After that they seem to congregate in the areas of the lake that supply the most oxygen enriched water. Places like the inlet of a tributary or the location of springs. Of course they want to eat, but first they need to breathe. Hope this helps you find the place to try on your lake.

Steve

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