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Minnows, really big crappies and fall fishing

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Years past I had the privelage of knowing and fishing with a gentleman who was a trophy crappie hunter. He has since passed away, however, I think of him often this time of year because that is when he was at his very best and consistently caught monster crappies. Jerry was a thinker, deep thinker. His choice of ammunition, minnows.
No, I am not talking crappie minnows like one would normally ask the bait shop for.
He used medium sized shiners like those going after sauger and walleyes. I used to give him a bad time about them and insisted he was a closet sauger/walleye fisherman and just got lucky with crappies. He would just smile and look down into his bucket brimming over with huge crappies. He would slowly explain to me that I had to remember the size of a large crappies mouth and the fact that crappie was so big. Sure he started out eating little bugs but as he got bigger, his appetite grew right along with him. He would then proceed to cast out and within a few minutes, bang another monster, many of which went right around two pounds. He would laugh and say he could catch crappies that ounce for ounce were bigger then some sauger and walleyes that fisherman were using the same shiner type minnows.
Thanks Jerry for the thought provoking memories.

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Ron...There are times when size apparently doesn't matter to crappies as far as food goes. I have taken many crappies, both spring and fall, jig fishing for waldo/sauger from shore. I have taken countless craps while trolling bait for waldo/ sauger and I have taken scores of the craps trolling number 11 and 13 raps for waldos and sauger. It is my theory that water temp/time of year comes into play with this. As the water warms in the spring, thru the summer months, and then slowly begins to lose temperature in the fall, the fish's metabolism is such that food is readily processed....they eat more often and demand larger offerings. At times the size of what they are willing to eat is governed only by how big thier chops are and a large crappie does have, in fact, a big mouth. If you are a devout bait fisherman, you will have had to notice the obvious preference to baits that get smaller and smaller as the winter water temps clamp down on the fish. Then again in the spring as water begins to open up, they begin taking larger minnows- the larger minnows correlate with the water temp...warmer=larger. Crappies are interesting fish to follow. Not only are they one of the most adaptable fish in fresh water, the way they behave makes them one of the most challenging as well. Understanding how water temperature is perhaps the biggest burden in figuring out how these fish operate and in this northern tier pile of states water temp is dictated by season. Right now is the season of large fish, thus larger baits may be needed.

Sure life happens- why wait....The Crapster....good fishing guys!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Fathom
      Set up deeper on rock reef for the rest of the weekend and only managed one fish (26" eye), missed a couple others. We wanted to stay deeper due to all the traffic on the lake. We did enjoy a good time at Fishing for Ducks, we saw a nice walleye pulled through the ice but it only measured 27.5". Talk about a bummer for that guy!
    • Jarrid Houston
      Roads to the islands always need to be taken very cautious and I would encourage going with someone who knows the area..  I believe they were shutting down the highway H extension due to this recent weather we just got?  Plenty of fish and opportune situtations in the bay.
    • cookie129
      Another crazy busy weekend is in the books. I really enjoy giving out my fishing/what's happening on the lake reports but finding the time has been tough. To say its a grind is a understatement.
       I can tell you again as the season winds down I'm never ready for it to end, as I truly love being out there in my trucks, moving houses, plowing the  hillmen highway, giving advise, helping other fishermen when they do something silly, Driving into a snow bank, dropping there gun down a hole or any other important object like there keys. Every year all the workers seem to get a little grumpy as fighting mother nature, going from sun up to sunset takes a toll physically and mentally. It also seems I ruffle a few feathers every year and its never my intent  so I have to chalk it up as a long season. If I stepped on anyone's toes it sure was not planned or intended as all most every day plan a turns to plan b and c. Mother nature dictates where I go sometimes as well as any plowed roads that can make our job easier. The cookie shuffle worked very well this year as I tell everyone that gets lost in my maze of trails. I'm not a road engineer.
       Man did we get overwhelmed with wheel house's this past weekend, any fish coming from southwest had to go threw a gauntlet of hooks to find my fishermen.
       I had two wheel house's  that I set up at the end of the hillmens highway and was surprised how bad they did. I guess I should of went south not east? The nw road has gotten to much to maintain, there's one lone house out that way that will need a new trail made .
       Its all started Thursday as jonnny boy and I prepped for the weekend with Joe, Zack, Adam and   his crew arriving fro florida. Zacks birthday wish was fishing red lake, they had a blast. They went to westwind where they enjoyed a fish fry, plus they took home a few fish with a couple even getting a ride in florida fish house as we moved a small distance to put it on fresh ice for there last night sunday. Last year when they came we landed on the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie mother load? I think  they had dreams for a year of repeating that. Every year is different and again this year was no exception.
       Ben who proposed in old Minnesota to Shawna 8 years ago were in old Minnesota with there two adorable kids. Louie the fishing machine and his little sister Willa plus there friend Nelli.
       They had a blast also with Shawna getting a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie to boot. They also managed to take home a nice batch of upper red lake walleyes.
       Hunter and his two buddies were in north Dakota. It was slow but they also managed to take home a batch of fish.
       Charlie and Rizzo were in montana , They were very serious about there fishing and went home with there 8.
      Jeromy and his gal were in north Carolina Saturday, sunday . They also managed to get there 8.
       Sunday was a very tough day as we had all 5 houses re rented. I was planning on moving all of them so we battled mother nature the whole time as a ne wind with 2 inches of snow made it impossible to see. At one point I was getting sea sick as I struggled to see, With the sky, horizon and the lake all the same color. wow what a struggle.
       It took us  7 1/2 hours but we got every thing cleaned, moved.
       Mother nature has given us another bout of snow so tomorrow I will let every one know how the houses did the last two days as its time to check the fluids and fire up the fleet
    • nickeleye
      Figured I should report back... I fished prime time on Saturday morning and Saturday evening. No action. It didn't help that I forgot to grab the vexilar on the first outing, but it didn't help to have it on the second outing either! ha! Marked a few but couldn't get them to bite. Used a GPS chip to punch some holes over structure, but when I came back with the vexilar, they weren't quite as deep as I hoped. Thanks for the pointers BrianF
    • LucasLongCaster
      Around this time last year this thread was started by @Royal_Dutchman. I got my trip planned for April but by the look of the extended forecast it's not looking to promising, especially compared to where it was at last year on Feb 23rd. 
    • osok
      Been a brutal hard water season for me as well, figured it was a continuation of my fall fishing luck. 
    • Wanderer
      Thanks guys.  I checked out Modis for ice coverage and Navionics to help understand how things are laid out.  Knowing what areas certain fish prefer and those typical depths is a big plus.
    • urbaniceteam
      My wife and I are hoping to get up to Mille Lacs this Saturday and spend the night on the ice.  Does anyone have any last minute availability?  All the resorts I've contacted are booked. Thanks!
    • Borch
      Lots of nice fish!  Central Mn is cranking out some nice panfish.
    • eyeguy 54
      I did till about 2 then just had to go for a bit. LOL 
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