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Crappies


MNCPRGUY

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Heading up next weekend for the first time to URL. Can someone shed some light on the crappie bite. I've found enough pictures of 14-15" slabs to make me drool but most of the information I've found sounds like the days of large crappie catches are long gone. Is it worth venturing out from a sleeper to target them or should I consider myself lucky if I hook a passer-by?

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Peejay,Good luck finding crappies. I have been there 7 or 8 weekends the past 3 years,2 crappies total. Was there wed thru fri last week,never heard of one being caught. Walleye was hit and miss. 30 total(2days and nights) Bring a snowmobile if you plan on moving away from the plowed roads.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

PeeJay,

I made 4 trips up there last winter and caught 40 + crappies. The year before more than 200 in 4 outings with 2-4 people fishing. If you're willing to look for them you may find them. Fish aggressively moving frequently until you find a school and catch as many as you can while you have then under you. A few crappies are just starting to show up and travel is very tough with all the snow right now. It'll get better through the winter. Chances of catching lots of slabs are remote in most Januarys. But it's amazing how fast the bite can turn on and then off again. Usually your best chance is in February, March and April as slabs start staging for the spawn.

Good Luck!

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We had a sleeper up there last year and just killed the crappies and walleyes every night we were up their. Granted it was a 2-3 hour window everynight for the bite; but was it ever worth it. It's all about scouting and finding the right spot. May I note that we caught all of these crappies from mid-january through mid-march in the same spot. Everyone seems to think you need to move out miles and miles onto the lake to the "so-called" crappie grounds. We kept our lips zipped and caught crappies for 2.5 months straight. There wasn't one house within 3/4 mile from us in either direction. We were no more than 3 miles out. Red lake is flat. Whenever the ice freezes the crappies aren't telling themselves lets race out 6 miles on the ice. Moral of the story, find your own fish and stay along ways away from the crowd.

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Quote:
Peejay,Good luck finding crappies. I have been there 7 or 8 weekends the past 3 years,2 crappies total.

That was not the case for me, we did good on our last two trips up to URL at the end of ice season last year. Best years for me is when I started going up there in 2003.

Peejay- You can find them, or they'll come through yoru area and you'll have fun catching them! Sometimes you have to move a lot, sometimes they'll be in the area where you start fishing for them...it has been that way for me most times when targeting crappies. I fish with the same set up for walleyes/crappies using crappie minnows and caught many 18-22" eyes. Good luck and enjoy your trip!

upnorth- that is pretty good...not very many people go out less than 3 miles! depends which resort/road you go out of I would say.

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His house is the "Ice Castle" house with the truck parked by it...you can't miss it!

As for the Crappies, here's my take on it! No the numbers aren't what they were, that I can assure you. Are you gonna absolutely catch em' every time out? Nope, but if you work hard at finding them, you "might" find some and quite possibly catch a bunch if you do the right stuff after finding them.

Unless you are one of the lucky few on this site, who just happen to find the mother of all sweet spots as mentioned above, you are probably going to be disappointed. More folks go home with less than a successful Crappie trip than those that do...it's a fact. I don't care what anyone says, it's the truth. Don't set your hopes too high and the trip should be fun anyways and you will probably at least catch a decent number of "fish", maybe not Crappies, but hey still fun??

I went to Upper Red the past few years for a couple of outings and here's my opinion...and the whole "move and you'll catch fish" saying. I'm not sure how many outings I went on, but a few each year anyways...and each was different. I did notice though that the fishing "in general" was tougher than ever last year.

I would say about half my trips involved drilling literally hundreds of holes during each outing and being absolutely dead tired after the day was through. What did I have to show for it? Well on one outing I did quite well, catching my limit by my self and reeling in a lot of Walleyes to boot. The other trips, not much to speak of. I think I caught another couple of Crappies all year, but that was it...and I can guarantee I worked my $%% off trying to find fish, so the move, move, move thing doesn't always work...trust me. Does it up your odds? I'm sure it does, I'm a strong believer in finding the fish and not waiting for them to find you, but again, don't think that by moving a bunch, you're gonna catch fish.

The other trips involved me setting up my sleeper and just hanging out. The year before last, it was pretty good on a few occasions, but the bite was the worst ever on a couple outings, even getting skunked on one trip. But I only blame myself on those outings, because I just sat there waiting.

Don't expect to catch Crappies, If you work hard and maybe get a little luck to go with it, you might catch some Crappies. Even if you don't catch any Crappies, at least you know you worked hard and did everything you could to try and catch them...right? If you just sit in one spot all weekend or only move a couple of times, and don't catch any Crappies, you should blame yourself for the poor fishing and not the lake. At least with the active approach, if the fishing is poor, then you can honestly say the fishing was poor and you can sleep well knowing you tried. There's nothing I hate more after a trip than thinking to myself, "man I wish I would have moved more or tried harder"...because what if, right?

Take this long rambling however ya'll want to, but that's all I have to say about that and it's my take on the whole thing!!!!

Talk to ya later...and good luck if you do decide to go.

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Well said. Its very rewarding when you put the work in and finally connect with just even one, of those slabbers.

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I went twice last year and once the year before. Out of three trips, and a group of eight people we caught 2 crappies. Luckly, I caught one of them on my last trip up there last year & mounted it. IMO the lake is a great fishery and the walleye's are unreal. Crappie's seem to be a little tougher to come by and wouldn't go with the attitude that your going to catch a lot of them, but with the attitude that catching a trophy one is a bonus. However, our group did pull a trophy pike through the ice on every single one of the trips.

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Wow! Thanks for all the great posts. Very informative and helps to put things into perspective. I'll be happy if the kids & wifey can pull up a fish period! Any species, any size! I'll start with the sleeper and go searching from the portable if needed.

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Good luck PeeJay, it's a blast.If you happen to catch a few crappies it will make your trip.You will end up with the walleyes keeping you busy.This year we have caught 10 crappies for two of us on one trip.We will be back in Feb.Fun lake also you never know when your going to hook that 40 inch pike jigging for eyes and just makes a fun battle.

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