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LindyRig

Best times

14 posts in this topic

Ok, so I am new to this whole river fishing thing. Been ice fishing for a long time but never had the time (or set of balls) to really hit the river in the winter. This is my first real year that I want to fish the river hard. I guess my question is when is the best time to be out there for them monster paper lips that everyone talks about. I know they are there, just need a little help getting em' up the hole. Any suggestions would help! Thanks and good luck out there! laugh.gif

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Lindy, I've been told dusk/dawn is the best, have yet to find a good enough winter bite to form an opinion of my own frown.gif

LB

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Well I have tried (wish I could say frequently) the morning bite. Was the first one on the ice, but didn't produce like I had hoped. I saw most people showing up around 8 am, which I thought was strange. But this is the river which like I said, I don't have much experience with. So I figured I would ask the experts on here grin.gifgrin.gif

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Well, I've been fishing it for a long time, as I live close. For years it has always been a dawn/ dusk bite. However, the 2 times I have been this year, they have bit up until 4, then shut off.............wierd.

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I just moved within 5 minutes of the river, which I think is why I want to fish it so hard now. Its down the road and very tempting just to think about pulling slabs out this winter. I been fishing the 35 FOW, fishing 2 lines, one near bottom, other around 19 FOW. I don't have up-to-date gear like most, but hay it works!

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I was out there this past weekend from 7:00am - 1:00pm in about 20 FOW and only managed a couple of perch. Went back out on New Years day at 11:30am - 5:30pm and had better luck. Fished in 32 FOW marking tons of fish but no takers until about 3:30 then the fun started, caught my first St. Croix river crappie smile.gif about foot off the bottom and caught 3 more between 2-6 foot off the bottom. And then the bite ended just as fast as it started confused.gif But I'll be back!

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Any have good size? I am still hunting down my first croix slab so CONGRATS MAN! Hope this weekend will be better for me. I will be the one on a bucket in the rain. (hope it gets cold so it will snow and not rain)

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Last time it rained, I fell through a hole,...,that was Waconia. I might not ventured too far with the expected warm weather...River ice changes a lot faster, so I'm gonna play it safe and may not venture on the Croix this weekend.

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The crappies were 12 - 13.5 inches. Some of the best crappies I've caught locally. I've caught bigger crappies on Red lake, but then thats 5 hrs away. I'm liking this spot smile.gif

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That's Croix crappies! smile.gif

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LindyRig,

Three years ago I was just like you, I had recently moved near the river and was gung-ho about hammering some big crappies.

Here is what my limited experience has told me over the years:

1) All of my big crappies have come in 30-34 FOW, the shallower I go, the more I catch small perch and sunnies. However, the few walleye and sauger that I have observed being landed were caught in 18-20 FOW (my friend caught them, not me).

2) Crappies in the river are very nomadic, and they come and go as they please, so its basically a matter of putting in time on the ice, and hoping a school or two move through the area. Areas such as the deeper hole on the Sconnie-side (where all the ice houses are parked) seems to hold fish on a more consistent basis, but that is just from hearsay since I've never actually fished that area myself (I avoid crowds).

3) I've caught crappies on minnows, euro-larvae, and waxies, but minnows seem to give me the most consistent luck. Jigging works well to get their attention, but I find the key is to let the bait remain still when the crappie is checking it out. For some reason they seem to really take their time examining the bait, and too much activity seems to spook them a bit.

4) I've had my best luck between 2-4pm.

5) If you have a Vexilar, and you start to see large red lines midway down the water column, more than likely these are mooneye (and possibly shad), but not crappies. I've been able to get them to hit euro's and waxies...they put up a good fight on light line. All the crappies and white bass I've caught always show up as red bands within 10 feet of the bottom. As expected, they appear to come and go in schools.

I hope that helps? I've honestly never hammered large numbers of crappies ice-fishing on the river, but the thing that keeps me coming back is their size. In general they are quite big compared to what I catch in local lakes.

Good luck,

Willy-C

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Nice post Willy-C! I'd have to agree with your info, very accurate. My past experience shows you can catch crappies from up to 18-20 feet up off the bottom. Whether I've got them to rise while "observing" them on the Vex up high, I can't say, but again they are caught even higher up than ten feet. Though if I had to pick tighter to the bottom or mid way up, tighter to the bottom is more consistant.

Keep Catchin'

Turk

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I am glad you caught some Croix slabbers. Thats is the main reason why I keep coming back to the Croix. A few years ago I started fishing the Croix and go skunked a few times. I almost gave up, until one day I caught some Croix slabs. I got hooked that day. Some days you don't caught any slabs, but you will eventually. Sure beats driving 5 hours to Red lake though. grin.gif

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Hey Turk,

Thanks for the tip on the "up high" crappies! Maybe the next time I see activity away from the bottom I won't be so quick to write them off as mooneye!

By the way, I got a kick out of the column you posted on your website about the stickleback experiment. I read it before a recent trip up to Mille Lacs. You inspired me to give them a try, and sure enough I landed a couple of nice perch on the two I found in my bait bucket! However, the perch at that time were also hitting on everything else too, so it wasn't a very well controlled experiment. I'm anxious to try them again, at a time when I'm not catching much...which is more often then I like to admit!

Best regards,

Willy-C

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