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CrappieJohn

The mighty Zum....

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CrappieJohn

Did the lake for a couple quick hours today and found things a bit different from my last trip out.

The wind from the last few days has settled the heating down in a few areas and actually pulled the temps down into the forties in a couple spots. This was surface temp. That at eight feet was still fairly constant at between 52 and 54. I did find one small eedy area that was laying in at 53 on the top, but for the most part 50 to 52 was the norm.

I tried the highbanks today as well as the deep water across from the Ponderosa and it was there that I found a huge concentration of fish suspending over the really deep (30+) water. Not surprising, this is where I found the warmest deep water too. I was able to pull about six fish off this school by fishing at about five and a half feet. This school was somewhat scattered but was about a hundred yards long and went basically from where the water was deepest at shore out about forty feet. I shut the graph off and hit the flasher while I drifted thru this maze and it was quite impressive.

That may have been the mother lode for fish, who knows, but I did my best on the lower lake actually from RyansBay on down to where this big school began to develope. I was targeting the first primary break and found several fish waiting just off from it in deep water.

Colors today were different as well. The normal hottie for me was quiet with pinks and blues doing well and the paddletails were not as hot as the rat-tailed grubs I was using.

Todays high skies, cool wind and high pressure made for some interesting fishing indeed. The good points were quiet and no fish were even marked near the ones I usually do well at. While typical for a cold front senario in not yet warm water, what I found today makes me think a shift is coming in the fish and where they will be found within a few days.

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carlcmc

rat tailed grubs, paddle tails the list goes on. When will my tackle box and experience ever match???

:-)

Thanks for the update. Maybe I will have my trolling motor installed by this weekend so I can got out on zumbro. I wish I knew how to change up my presentation like you describe to pick up on them.

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CrappieJohn

Carl.....during cold front situations I don't neccesarily down-size in a literal sense, but rather get rid of the action creating tails. These baits with the thin rat-like looking tail (crappie and panfish stingers from Southern Pro, even larger versions of the replacement plastics for Custom Jig and Spins ratsos, and the flicktails)are excellent profile reducing items and when fished at the depth the fish are at are fished using no action. The wind and wave action will power these baits up and even negative fish are hard pressed to leave them alone.

There are some new plastics coming soon that are exactly what I am using. They will not be available to the general market for a couple weeks yet though.....hold on.

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CrappieJohn

I had the pleasure to share the boat today with WxGuy. While the fishing wasn't all that hot, the company and sights were great!

Wx beat me to the first fish.... a sunnie, but I finally bested him with some very decent crappies. Things are on the change out there.

The deep water temperature has given up about 2-3 degrees now and the surface temp was only running between 49 and 52 that I could find. This has really got the crappies either bunched tighly or scattered. An irony was that we found some very warm water tight to shore and shallower that I would have looked intentionally and that was where the crappies we got into were. The cold nights and daytime winds are helping to keep the chill on....nothing unusual for this time of year though.

Chartreuse pepper and Junebug/chartreuse paddletails were the baits today. We bumped into Downtoearth and he had about as much luck as we did, but his fish came off the black/chartreuse paddletail.

We were able to sneak up on a couple nice deer laying in the woods, saw an ospery nail a fish and got to talk with the DNR test-netters. They were looking for the elusive muskies without a lot of luck according to them.

While the fishing could have been better, the company and the chatter was good. I think we took care of about eight or nine world problems this morning....but don't look for an immediate change. lol

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Down to Earth

Made it out for my first trip on the Zumbro today and officially broke in my Crappie Tom Signature Series Crappie Rod.(See Below)

Got a couple fairly early on a black & chart. paddletial at the 5-6' level in some deep wood and that was about it. 8' water temps ranged in the low to mid 50's. Tried a couple other places as well but nothing active. Saw Crappie Tom and WxGuy out as well.

A couple of notes: Debris was all over the surface. Driving to my first spot was like doing a slalom course dodging all of the floating driftwood and crud. Also the carp are starting to get active on the surface. Had a couple give me a heck of a scare that I nearly jumped out of the boat.

zumbrocrappie414200537kx.jpg

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Dan Thiem

Nice job Andy!!! What do you mean "deep wood"?

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Down to Earth

Dan,

"Deep Wood" in this instance refers to the particular structure I was fishing. Water depth in the area is in

15-18' range with wood structure present pretty much from surface on down to the bottom. I was fishing this at the 5-6' depth. Hope this presents a little more clarity.

Crappie Tom may have a better way of explaining what I'm trying to convey.

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CrappieJohn

You did fine Andy. Dan is really "rural" if you get my drift and things have to be laid out carefully for him. lol The last time I mentioned getting him to some deep wood he stated that he carried it in his tackle box, but could not understand what we needed it for when the bugs weren't out yet.

Deep wood is any sort of tree related snag or structure found deep in the water column. As Andy stated, sometimes it can be a tree located in such a way that the limbs and branches extend from the surface to the depths. This is not always the case. Lots of good deep wood are visible only to electronics or cameras. Those areas where the wood can be seen above water and extend to the bottom are troves for fish, especially in the fall.

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Matt Johnson

Another shot of Andy with some crappies...

andycrappies.jpg

Good Fishin,

Matt Johnson

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CrappieJohn

The pond is changing. I gave it a go this morning and found some fish right off the bat. All taken from over deep water and all were upward hitting at about five feet. Put the bait deeper and the hits quit.

Today was the first day I have gotten a fish on blue this spring....one of my little signals that things are going to change. Chartreuse was another good producer as well as the Junebug/chartreuse in the Culprit paddletail. The fish would not hit a rat tail.

The water at 8 feet was at 52 today as was the surface at 10 am. Some of the activity was away from wood structure as well. Corners were solid producers today yet and nothing out of the channel once I got away from corners. The bays were showing some activity from sunfish, but they were on the small side.

I hope to get some pics up a bit later.

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Matt Johnson

CrappieTom's pics...

CTcrappie3.jpg

CTcrappie4.jpg

Good Fishin,

Matt Johnson

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mnz71hunt

Tom,

I know you like your plastics, but --- what are the best options for live bait?

Is the bait shop on Hwy 7 from Mazeppa to the Green Bridge still open?

Are there any good options for bait in Oronoco?

Is the pattern at sunset similar to the morning bite?

Thanks

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CrappieJohn

I'm not certain about the shop on Co.Rd 7, but the station on the hiway at Oronoco has always had bait. The signs are up yet for the one on 7. Lets see if Dan can help here.

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Dan Thiem

Yep, it's called Corner Bait and Tackle. They are open for business.

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CrappieJohn

I went to the lake this morning and got wet. Probably wetter than the fish.

Water temps are now in the mid to upper fifties with 57 being the warmest I found. I did not check at 8feet, but the fish I caught were all cooler to touch than the surface water.

The water has come up...likely the city raising the lake to summer pool. The water is a bit dirtier than last week too.

I found just about all of my fish on the break today, not deep-not shallow. All came to paddletails, primarily the new purple /chartreuse ring bodied on that will soon be available. A couple nice fish came of the also new and soon to be available CrappieRat, a rat-tailed, ringed bodied grub. Black/chartreuse was the hot color with that bait.

One very notable occurance today was the much increased presence of bass, both large and small mouths. One lm went about 5 pounds and I had one smallie that was close to that mark too. All of the bass came off structureless breaklines with the break being in at least 8 feet of water. These guys are real eye poppers when you are expecting a crappie hit. Sunfish numbers were also on the increase today.

All told I fished for about 2 hours before the rain got to me. I had two of my 11 crappies in the pail, destined for my lunch, when a downpour soaked me to the bone. I thought I might get enough for dinner actually and figure another hour would have provided a good number of fish to sort through to get six, but Ma Nature changed things a bit, so those guys even went back.

I will have to go again tomorrow I fear and hopefully the weather will be a bit more conducive to staying dry. The rain gear is definitely coming out of storage.

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carlcmc

as always, a nice report. thanks.

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Down to Earth

Great report Tom. What was water clarity like today? I'm curious as to what it will be like the next couple. The water going under the 4th street bridge was no visability. Usually I can see the bottom no problem, but today it was like chocolate milk flowing underneath.

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CrappieJohn

I thought the water was real colored today. The river behind the house along with Cascade Creek are running good and dirty too, so it's all going to come into play. he fish I got today were some real dandys. I actually had a hard time finding some 10 inchers for food, but the rain sort of cooled my jets and they all went back.

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CrappieJohn

The boys and girls were playing hard to get today. This passing front had them much deeper today and the points/breaks did not offer up much for activity, but vertical wood was nuts. I caught all of my crappies, and many of these were real bruisers , in 14 plus feet of water around wood.

Water temps are at 58 now in the eight foot range and I suspect that is why the breaks began to heat up. Actually thee water was warmer at 8 feet that at the surface today and probably accounted for the deep action. The water did not seem to be any dirtier given the rain yesterday.

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CrappieJohn

DownToEarth and I made a voyage out to the drink this morning a were met with cold air, cooler surface temps and much colder core water temps today. The surface water was hard pressed to be 53 degrees and the water at 8 feet had given up three degrees since yesterday.

The rain has not not darkened the water at all and actually we found a fairly clear water in the regard, but there is still an awful lot of floating crud to deal with.

The wind today was an issue and it finally bested us.

A couple different styles of paddletails were the fish getters to, and the color scheme was , as about always, something with at least a hint of purple ahead of chartreuse. Given the cold front, we did notice thatthe fish were rising fast and hitting hard. We were hardly any deeper than 3 feet at the float but had to be in much deeper water and structure was a bonus.

We found some crappies in the 10 1/2 to 11 inch range and some eight and a half inch sunfish. Numbers were down though .

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carlcmc

Hey Crappietom,

I'm going to Lake Rathbun in southern Iowa May 14-19. This is supposed to prime Crappie fishery from what I hear. They have an annual event called crappiethon which will fall on may 14 th and i'll be fishing the 15th on. I plan to bring some of the culprit paddletails. I have the junebug/chart and black/chart. I see you mentioned something about a bit of purple ahead of chart in your above comments. I'm assuming that the time I'm going is going to be some spawn action or a bit after i guess. Would you recommend any different colors of paddletails or other crappie lures to try? I have very little experience fishing crappies. Do you ever do well or recommend using minnows?

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CrappieJohn

Rathbun is a big lake. You are probably going to hit it right about on the head spawn wise....maybe, just maybe a bit post.

The colors you mentioned will work fine....when I spoke of a bit of purple ahead of the chartreuse, I had another plastic in mind, but the Culprit Paddletail in Junebug has the purple cast to it and will be good. Try putting your chartreuse plastic on a purple head! I know....it sounds like a pukola color combo, but just......

I have cousins that fish the heck out of that lake and love it. Do your self a favor and get a map of it before you go. Study it! And do a search on the fishing there.

Your question on bait. I don't use any bait in open water except for a waxie when things get real tough. Minnows and I are not good company. Too many fish get deep hooked and injured and cannot go back while using them. I'd rather have a hit and miss it than kill a fish I have no intention of keeping. And you larger fish will fall to the plastics.

I won't chide anyone who wants to use bait.....not everyone is cut out for plastic. I simply prefer the fishing without the hasseland implications of bait.

Here is a picture of a nice bluegill Tom got this morning.

Andy

picture12227jm.jpg

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