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St Croix Icefishing lure staples. (pictures)


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  • sausageman

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  • croix walleye 6

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Kim, other than the Country Music, that looks like a pretty sucessful set-up. Maybe a dum question though, why couldn't you rig that with a standard rod/reel combo?

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sausageman, yea country musics gotta go haha but great video. I was fishing yesterday on the St Croix too and got skunked! was using fiska jig with slip bobber just like you posted earlier. fished 430 to 7 in 10-15 FOW near the bayport park. what was i doing wrong? where were you if you dont mind me asking? looked like WI side.

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sausageman

fished 430 to 7 in 10-15 FOW near the bayport park. what was i doing wrong? where were you if you dont mind me asking? looked like WI side.
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  • 9 months later...

Well I made it to the river yesterday with both crappie and fatheads minnows. Set up a tipdown with a med-large fathead minnow first, then while I was in the process of setting up a second tipdown with a small crappie minnow, the first tipdown went down. It was a nice 13" crappie!!

Early in the morning the crappies were very active and I picked up a dozen keepers, mostly on fatheads on the tipdowns. When they are on...there are on, no doubt about it. Ended up with two 13"ers, two 12"ers, two 11"ers and some 10"ers while rounded out with a couple 9 1/2". A plain red #4 hook seemed to outfish the 1/32 oz gum ball jig head when using my tipdowns.

Caught one of the 12" with a 1/16 oz glow red buckshot rattle spoon and minnow head. Some of the other smaller keepers crappies were caught on the fiska and maggots. Small crappies 6" to 8"er's were plentiful. Having three rod's rigged with different presentations helped find out what they preferred.

A few things to know about fishing river crappies...they are changing continually on what they want. When the bite is "on"...it doesn't matter what you are using. However, during the "off" times, which is most of the time....that's when you have to experiment and find out what they want.

A few years you couldn't buy a crappie on a minnow presentation....only maggots or plastics on a jig seemed to produce. The last couple years a plain minnow presentation has been a consistent producer along with a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head.

Years ago I would tie on a #3 jigging rap in December and take it off in March because that's all you needed to catch a mess of fish...walleyes, crappie, white bass, catfish etc...etc.

Like last year...there is a window when the crappies turn on. When they are on, make the most of it, because the hot bite doesn't last long.

Good fishing....SM

PS I'm a little embarassed on the youtube video I made last year on fishing with a tipdown. It was the first video I made and I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I'll make a better one as soon as the weather warms up a bit. Last week I was on Leech lake and the tipdown was working well on walleyes and perch while I was hole hopping.

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Well I made it to the river yesterday with both crappie and fatheads minnows. Set up a tipdown with a med-large fathead minnow first, then while I was in the process of setting up a second tipdown with a small crappie minnow, the first tipdown went down. It was a nice 13" crappie!!

SM,

Thanks for the great topic you started. We have been using tip downs here on the WI river ever since we moved here 8-9 years ago. I had never seen them before, growing up fishing in MN/ND. A lot of people use them here in WI.

We use them the same way you do, drill a bunch of holes, spread out the tip downs, then hole hop looking for active fish. It works great.

Any ideas on why tip downs are not used more in MN/ND?

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sausageman

RiverFish

I believe the main reason people aren't using tipdown's is that they don't know about them.

For example:

I was fishing on Leech Lake the last couple days and met two older guys staying at the same Motel. They hauled up a big permanent fish house the week before and have been getting a lot of perch along with some walleyes and pike.

When I woke up yesterday morning, it was minus 19 degree's .... so when the two guys invited me to fish with them I jumped at the chance. What the heck!!!

We ended up using my 5 tipdowns in their permanent shack with great success. We sat at the table...played cards...listen to music....drank rum and coke's all the while the tipdowns were very visible from the little table. These guys were telling me how stiff their necks were from staring down a hole the past couple days, watching a bobber.

These guys thought the tipdowns were the greatest thing ever.

Is sitting in a permanent fish shack playing cards my idea of ice fishing???? No, but with the frigid weather yesterday I really enjoyed the change of pace. We caught a lot of fish.

There is a learning curve on how to use them. When fishing in a shelter set up is key... you have to know what your are going to do before you get a bite. Example: Don't set the hook and then throw the rod over in the corner of the shack with the heater. Don't ask.

SM

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Yep the main reason is people haven't seen or used one yet. I myself have 3 I bought from fleet farm. It's built different from SM's. Instead of the pipe its on 2 folding wood legs. They are very sensitive and really fun when hot. How I set my line is pull line down to area desire, then I use the white little pin on reel to set line to stay. When fish bite I reel in like a regular reel without pulling up line how SM does his. Like SM said just plain ol hook n a small sinker. Too heavy of sinker, the tip will go down. Some days my tipdown would produce more fishes then the ice equipment. And SM, I was at that very spot a wk or days b4 you but closer to shore.

full-27741-28440-th.jpg

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sausageman

Thanks Sherman for your input.

I always thought the weak point on tipdowns is that getting the weight just right. That's why I went with the threaded rod with a couple nuts at the end that can be screwed in and out to adjust for different weights from 1/32 oz to 1/8 oz presentations.

I decided to go with the horizontal rod presentation because it works well in the wind. If the handle end of the rod is positioned directly into the wind I can fish in 15 mile an hour wind with no problems.

So what has been working for everyone else????

Turk where are you??? If I remember right, last year you were using a jigging spoon with a minnow head. What has been working this year???

DonBo??

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The tipdowns I use are handmade from PVC tubing, wooden dowels. Break down and take up no room in the sled.

Tip downs work slick when the school is active, and is great way to cover a lot of ground on a break or any structure.

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I'll be making my first trip down to the Croix later today and should be hitting it hard over the weekend. I'll let you know if I find a presentation that works for me.

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Any tip down available at retailers in the metro area?

The tip down that Sherman pictured a few posts earlier are very easy to make and cost very little. I run these type of tip downs that I have made, they work great.

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Fisherman For a Lifetime

Any tip down available at retailers in the metro area?

Absolutely! At Fleet Farm.

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Compilation of observations thus far fishing the river in 2013;

1) A plain red hook with a minnow has been out fishing a small jig head with a minnow.

2) Fatheads (medium) size with a plain red hook has been working well for me on the tip downs and slip bobber. If the bite is "off" I back off the size and downsize to a smaller crappie minnow.

3) I'm catching a ton of smaller crappies with the #5 Fiska and maggots during the slow periods. My best guess would be I land 5 to 6 small crappies for every crappie over 9 1/2 inches. When I set the hook, and it's a small fish, I'll take my sweet time reeling it up to minimize floaters.

4) Jigging spoons tipped with a minnow head has been working better then my beloved jigging rap. A smaller gold/glow red buckshot rattle spoon continues to be a constant producer of keeper fish. I've been using a Slender Spoon with good results, however when fishing deep the slender spoon has a tendency to dive off to the side which is annoying when the fish are on. When the fishing is hot, I'll stick to the buckshot rattle spoon because it drops faster.

5) For me, mornings bites have been better then most afternoon bites. Although recently I enjoyed a smoking afternoon bite.

DonBo, Cheetah, Turk...have you guys been seeing the same pattern?

SM

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Yep, deadsticking a minnow on a red hook has produced more fish for me than everything else combined. (though I've not been out much yet this year, and am only having minimal success overall)

It's a rare evening when the bite is better than in the morning.

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Yesterday was weird....very slow early, if fact I didn't ice a crappie till 9:00 am. Then from 10:45AM to 11:45AM it was smoking using this fiska and plastic tail combo. During this hot time...I only caught one or two crappies on the minnow set with tipdown. Small minnows caught more then larger minnows.

full-22443-28863-fiska.plastic.jpg

The crappies would move up fast through the water column and hit it, my line would go slack and I would set the hook. It was interesting to me, because they didn't react to this same fiska with maggots...only this plastic combo. Maybe I changed to plastic's when they decided to turn on. All catch and release today.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm pretty late to this thread, but I just found sausageman's rigging of the treble/minnow head to be great. I've had a lot of trouble locating those fast attach components and ended up using something else that didn't look as clean. Every time I went to Thorne Bros. they were out of those fast attach components.

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  • 9 months later...

I've been out a couple times now and it appears that minnows are again steady producers on the river.

I caught a lot of crappies on a #5 fiska and maggots but the crappies were mostly on the small side (8 1/2 to 9 inches). I did catch a couple 11 inch (plus) crappies on the maggots and plastics, but most of the larger fish were on tipdowns with a 1/32 oz white jig and a medium sized crappie minnow.

Another presentation that worked well was barely barely hooking a small minnow under the dorsal fin with a white #4 or #5 fiska and then working this presentation just above the crappie column. It's basically a more precise way of fishing the same tipdown presentation.

Here is a picture of the two presentations that worked the best the last couple times out.

full-22443-40348-img_0157.jpg

The white jig out fished the plain red hook about 4 to 1. Even tried a few different color jigs in the same weight, chartreuse, red, and green, but in the end, a small white jig out fished the other presentations we tried.

What are the hot lures working for you guys??

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Last year if it wasnt red it didnt catch fish down where I was on the river was funny and it had to be euro larva. I just plain quit getting minnows. will have to try the minnows again this year it is looking like

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citycountryboy

same here, white or neon green tungsten jigs with minnows. had luck last year with gulp minnow heads and plastics but not this year. sticking with minnows for now anyway. been catching a handful of keepers each time. south of crappie town.

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last year my go to was a red tungsten with a black dot on it. could not do anything on any other color. but killed them with that one

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Hello,

I am new to the river and am looking to catch some crappies,white bass, and catfish. Any ideas on rigs/ lures or baits for those species? I usually fish bobber with a jig and minnow on lakes but I'm not sure when it comes to the river. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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Icefishfun

I usually catch catfish or white bass on accident when fishing for crappie or walleye. If you get into a big school of white bass watch out...action is very fast.

With the above being said, the most luck I had for catfish on the Croix was a simple gold/red glow (belly) buckshot rattle spoon tipped with a minnow head.

White bass also seem to hit a flash lure like the buckshot with a bunch of maggots chandelered on the trebled hook. If you are on a school of white bass they are very aggressive and will hit most anything. I like using a #3 jigging rap tipped with maggots because white bass action is fast and the jigging rap fishes the fastest.

There are guys on this board that have a lot more experience icing catfish then I do. Maybe one of them would be kind enough to share what they use for catfish.

Good luck...SM

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  • 11 months later...

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • JBMasterAngler
      The mouth of the creek is quite a ways downstream from the landing, and you’ll have to cross several peoples’ docks. Entire stream is surrounded by private property. Sure, you can technically legally access the stream, but why would you want to bother with the headache of dealing with landowners that DON’T want you there? Stream is small enough to step across in most places, it’s very weedy, and lot’s of overhanging brush. Not to mention, below average at best numbers of small trout!   You want easy access? Buy a Wisconsin license! Right across the river in Pierce County alone, there’s hundreds of miles of public easements on trout streams that are ten times better than anything Minnesota has to offer!
    • JerkinLips
      Pike suckers are about 3½ inches long.  Walleyes really like them in the fall and early winter.  Caught my fish in 13-15 FOW drifting slowly.  Good solid bites.
    • delcecchi
    • JN13
    • fishingMN4eyes
      Got up Thursday evening to rain and pretty heavy wind Friday morning had us holding off on putting the boat in the water. Fished briefly Friday evening at sunset and picked up an 18" and a couple smalls. Fishing was decent Saturday morning but no real size, everything was 12-15". I had one that looked to be 17"ish flop off as I was trying to flip it into the boat. All the fish we caught were in 17-22'. We were fishing around about a 6' top but never caught anything on top. They appeared to be relating to the structure but not actually on it. Tried again Saturday evening for a couple hours and continued to pick up small walleye just like the morning. Sunday was windy again but we decided to slug it out for awhile and caught one decent perch and one small walleye. We fished similar depths and spots as Saturday but they weren't there. Marked them out in 35'+ but didn't feel like fighting the wind out in the big water so we called it quits around noon and never went back out(the wind never really did lay down or we may have tried again). Jig/minnow way outfished bottom bouncers/crawlers. Wish bottom bouncers would have worked better because it was tough to keep a jig down as fast as we were drifting and we never found a school to spot lock on.
    • Mike89
      that last pic is great!!   Hazel is saying oppps!!!  
    • MikeG3Boat
      I am heading up there tomorrow.  Where do you guys get minnows up in the area?  Tower or Cook or down in Virginia?  I have never heard of pike suckers?  How large are they?  Are you guys fishing the East or West side of the lake?  Let me know.  I am thinking of fishing the East side tomorrow and then headed to the west side from Thursday thru Sunday.  Any help would be appreciated?  I am a newby to the area.  Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks!
    • monstermoose78
      Finn and Hazel are getting along poor Finn get the biggest chomps from the baby shark teeth. Finn and I just want a nap, but we can’t as we are puppy patrol. 
    • monstermoose78
      Crap I am feeling like an old man today. Hazel is not letting Finn and I take a nap, but it is getting Finn and I ready for duck season.
    • JN13
      Asking $1,100 contact me at jen at malcotools.com
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