Guests - If You want access to member only forums on FM. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on Fishing Minnesota.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

  • Announcements

    • Rick

      Members Only Fluid Forum View   08/08/2017

      Fluid forum view allows members only to get right to the meat of this community; the topics. You can toggle between your preferred forum view just below to the left on the main forum entrance. You will see three icons. Try them out and see what you prefer.   Fluid view allows you, if you are a signed up member, to see the newest topic posts in either all forums (select none or all) or in just your favorite forums (select the ones you want to see when you come to Fishing Minnesota). It keeps and in real time with respect to Topic posts and lets YOU SELECT YOUR FAVORITE FORUMS. It can make things fun and easy. This is especially true for less experienced visitors raised on social media. If you, as a members want more specific topics, you can even select a single forum to view. Let us take a look at fluid view in action. We will then break it down and explain how it works in more detail.   The video shows the topic list and the forum filter box. As you can see, it is easy to change the topic list by changing the selected forums. This view replaces the traditional list of categories and forums.   Of course, members only can change the view to better suit your way of browsing.   You will notice a “grid” option. We have moved the grid forum theme setting into the main forum settings. This makes it an option for members only to choose. This screenshot also shows the removal of the forum breadcrumb in fluid view mode. Fluid view remembers your last forum selection so you don’t lose your place when you go back to the listing. The benefit of this feature is easy to see. It removes a potential barrier of entry for members only. It puts the spotlight on topics themselves, and not the hierarchical forum structure. You as a member will enjoy viewing many forums at once and switching between them without leaving the page. We hope that fluid view, the new functionality is an asset that you enjoy .
Sign in to follow this  
Matt Johnson

Chasing Those Slab Crappies

Recommended Posts

Matt Johnson

Fishing for crappies can be both frustrating and rewarding, and its not unlikely that you can experience both in the same day. Crappies are gaining popularity among fishermen, whether its open water or ice fishing. Some fishermen just want constant action, but others are chasing that trophy... the slab crappie!

Since open water is here, and crappies are heavily targeted, I thought I'd throw out a few tips on catching those slabs. Location and presentation...

Location

Crappies will stage in deeper water throughout the midwinter months, and the term "tight-lipped" will be used from time to time. During midwinter, crappies change their directional movements. During early ice, you will find crappies moving more horizontal throughout the water column, chasing baitfish and aggressively feeding. Midwinter brings upon a change in crappie behavior. During midwinter, you will find crappies more keen on making vertical movements, especially at lowlight periods when the "drifting debris", better known as plankton/organisms, go to work. The term "chasing crappies" begins to diminish during midwinter, as locating them can be more structure orientated.

As late ice approaches, some of the crappies will relocate in slightly shallower water, while others will still remain deep. Sometimes you will find a school of crappies in 5 feet, while another school is still out in the 35 foot hole. I like to search for primary breaks off the shallow bays, these areas tend to hold those crappies "on the move" and roaming, and they are eager to bite.

Once open water begins, crappies will seek out similar areas, but you will find them more sporadic. Crappies in the spring will often times school up, and search for warm water. Locating these first open water crappies can be tough if you are trying to intercept them on their migrating routes. Mid-depth crappies will become prevalent at this time of the year. As the deep water crappies slide up you can find hot action if you can pinpoint them while they are on the prowl. Rivers and lakes will experience two different patterns. Rivers will open up a lot earlier then lakes, and locating warmer water will come a lot sooner in rivers as well. Lakes will call for a different approach which asks for a slightly deeper concentration. There are exceptions though, as fishing can never always be promising or concrete, its an ever changing process.

Locating crappies during the first parts of open water in lakes can be very frustrating. I first start by looking for areas where I found the crappies at late ice, these areas will typically hold crappies at first open water. Mid-depth structure and flats are good spots to look for, areas where you think crappies might hold migrating from deep to shallow water. Mouths of shallow bays are another good choice. Once those dark bottom shallow bays open up and the sun starts beating, you will find crappies moving in. The water in those bays will warm up the fastest, especially if you can find any inlets, runoff, creeks, etc, in the area. Those features only add warmth to the water, and in return, they attract crappies. Not all shallow, dark bottom bays will produce, but if you notice any algae or aquatic blooms then you may be on to something. Crappies are eager to feed once those shallow bays begin to develop.

The options for locating crappies during spring can seem endless once the water starts cooking, but until huge sections begin to warm, locating them can take a few trial and error outtings.

So...

  • Search out the late ice locations
  • Try to plot a path where you think the crappies will use as they move from deep to shallow
  • Mid-depth structure
  • Check primary breaks and shallow mouths of bays
  • Inlets, creeks, feeder streams....
  • Shallower dark bottom bays with any aquatic growth/debris

Soon you will begin to fine tune your efforts and figuring out a pattern will become easier and easier. Time on the water can be important, but a little preparing before hitting the water can make your time on the water more rewarding.


Presentation

Finding the crappies is the hard part, but sometimes what you do once you locate the crappies can dictate the amount of success you have.

When I'm chasing crappies during the spring I think plastics. With all the new tackle innovations out there today you can find plastics to immitate just about anything, whether it be a certain color, size, style, sound, texture...you name it, we've got it. Using plastics can be intimidating to a lot of fishermen, but by building a little confidence you will find that catching fish with plastics gets more productive everytime you tie one on. I like to throw 1-1.5 inch plastics for springtime crappies.

The 1.5 inch Kick-n-Craw by Catch-N Tackle is an excellent choice for spring crappies. It immitates a lot of what drives crappies into striking, with its creature-like appeal and awesome action.
You can find the Kick-n-Craw at www.catchn.com

Another option that has accounted for numerous fish is the PaddyTail by JR's Tackle.
paddytail.jpg
The PaddyTail comes in all different colors and is a dynamite bait for crappies.
PaddyTails can be found at www.jrstackle.com

I also like the line of Southern Pro plastics. Small beetle spins are a good choice too.

I'm not a heavy live bait fishermen when it comes to chasing spring crappies, although crappie minnows are another preferred method by a lot of people. Other live bait options include maggots, insects, grass shrimp, mealworms, crawlers, etc.

Bio-Bait is an alternative to live bait which has changed the way I ice fish and will also have a dramatic effect on open water fishing too. Bio-Bait is made with real bait parts, whether it be crawfish, larva, crawler, minnow, etc. Its live bait that you don't have to keep alive.
Bio-Bait can be found at www.catchn.com

I like to use floats a lot when targeting crappies during the spring, as well as throughout the open water months. The Wave Buster bobber by Todays Tackle is a good choice for crappies. The Wave Buster is similar to the always popular Ice Buster but geared towards the open water fishermen. With the ability to adjust to the weight of the jig for fine tuned performance, it makes fishing a lot easier and effective. Wave Busters and crappies go hand in hand.
You can find Wave Busters at www.todaystackle.com


Color can play a key role somedays. I prefer colors like chartreuse, white, pink, red and yellow for early spring fishing. Colors like purple, brown, blue and green have their place too. Some of the most off-the-wall colors that you think would never work might be the hot item on any given day, so don't count anything out. I've had days where I'll throw 25 different colors only to find out that two are producing.

There is no magic presentation that will catch crappies everyday, but you can develop an arsenal to cover all the bases, for all conditions.


I've touched just a small part of the whole crappie picture, and as we all know, fishing can change from day to day, hour to hour. I guess the only thing we can do is just keep casting smile.gif


Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

------------------
MJ5fishing@hotmail.com
Iceleaders
Catch-N Tackle and Bio Bait
MarCum
Stone Legacy
JR's Tackle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BDR

Nicely done Matt. You sure know them Panfish. Maybe someday we will have to fish together. I have used those Paddy tails from JR's and they produced very well.

------------------
I'd rather be skunked than follow the crowd!

Brian Rogers

JR's Tackle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
slick814

Matt-

I must say thanks for all the information, especially since I'm pretty new to the whole panfishing thing, especially Crappie. I caught a few thousand sunnies from my cousin's dock up North when I was a kid, but never actively fished for panfish as an adult.
I've recently (last year or so) started to pursue Carppies, and have been frustrated, elated, angry, and happy all within a short period of time..
Only one questiion for you..
Is there any way to get that long post of your to print?

------------------
Fishin' is life
The rest is just details

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BDR

Skick- you should be able to hight light with a left click and hold, then right click select print

------------------
I'd rather be skunked than follow the crowd!

Brian Rogers

JR's Tackle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
slick814

BDR - Thanks...
didn't even think of that old trick.. should've known to try it..

Again, Matt, thanks for the info. I know I honestly appreciate it!

------------------
Fishin' is life
The rest is just details

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  



  • Posts

    • Zachary Cisar
      I was out on Hiniker Pond last night. Had no luck with fish but I was after dark. Straight out from the pier about 30 yards you got a solid 3.75 to 4 inches. Duck lake has about 5 inches. Henry had 4 inches last week. Not sure about this week.
    • shaky legs2
        Doc was up there with a couple of his boys on Thursday fishing out of portables.  He gave me a call when he was on the ice.  I said, “. Let me guess what you got on”.  Red stripe Demon with a female fat head hooked through the pooper hole on the dead stick and a purple smelt rattling flyer with a minnow head on the other pole.  I nailed it.  He still uses a jiggle stick for his dead stick.  He had to sign off as a fish came in on the Vex.  Put it in the bucket Shaky.
    • traveler
      Not even a little kelly? Lol   Good to see a few of the old guard still checking in ...:)
    • JIvers
      Thanks for the reply. Ya, McNally's gets pounded right away. I looked at the ice in front of Schafer's in Onalaska yesterday; there was about 3.5" of ice near the docks, and then it got thinner in a hurry. Apparently someone got wet feet there earlier in the day.  I ended up at Lawrence Lake Marina just north of Brownsville yesterday. There was probably 4" of good clear ice, much better than what I found in  La Crosse. Will post pictures later, but I got one nice largemouth on a tip up at the Marina, one 10" perch, and a couple small perch.  Today I drove around Winona, and fished the backwater pond east of Latsch Island on the west side of the road. The ice there was...not real good.  I stuck close to shore on 3" of not-real-clear ice after my spud bar saved me from a cold bath a little farther out.  I caught a few small perch there, and a bunch of small bluegills. Nothing worth keeping, and nothing on the tip-up. Was expecting the ice to be a little better than what I found, but what do you do?    
    • leech~~
      No Lake Trout in the lake?
    • leech~~
      Thanks Guys.  Starting to feel better about may be getting the sled and porty out there.
    • kelly-p
      Miss the old days too shaky, we had some fun didn't we.  I don't miss working on the lake tho.
    • kelly-p
      Westwind, Roger's and JR's that I know of. Not sure of the cost.
    • Rick G
      Roughly 11inches... there were a few brave people who drove mini vans out
    • Wanderer
      @leech~~ There was all of 10 inches where I was but I’d say it was a tick more.