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? for pro crappie guide

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hi, i have a question for you. i have a cabin on a 100 acre lake in northern minnesota. every spring i catch 1 pound plus crappies off my dock. in the winter i cant find them. the lake is bowl shape,mostly sand,small weedline that dies out in winter.there are two nice points that i have drilled a millon holes and searched all over them and have found nothing. there are no rivers or creeks that come into the lake. there has never been a winter kill. there are no major breaklines.the lake has a maximum depth of 22 feet.i have searched all around in the deepest hole at 22 feet and there is nothing there either. where are these fish. thanks for any help.

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Deep holes and basins are often hot spots for crappies because of the abundance of oxygen and food. However, the deep holes in lakes don’t always have the right mix of both. Often times, a moderately deep basin will hold a bounty of food and decent oxygen. While a deep hole will have plenty of oxygen, but minimal food. What I am trying to say is that you might not want to fish the deepest basin, but a basin that likely has a heavy sediment content on the bottom, which in turn, will bring food. You may also want to try fishing right under the ice, as your lake isn’t very deep and the most oxygen will be at the top. Another thing may be that since your lake is so shallow, the fish might not bite during the winter. Maybe during first ice or last ice only.

(Please note: Some of this knowledge is practical and some is theoretical. Meaning, I don’t know all of this from experience. Some of it’s from reading)


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Good advice seabass.
I have ran into situations like this. I always go to the deepest hole, or the deepest area around spots that I have had success and then work my way back.
The simplest advice I can give is to start at the break of the hole and work your way back towards the shoreline that you have had success catching Crappies. When you notice a depth difference drill many hole in that are and check for fish. Continue moving up the break until you find fish.
Also, you didn't mention, have you tried fishing the lake after dark? The fish may have a ceratain time they feed and the time slot may not be very large. If the fish bite at a certain time, say int he evening or after dark, then during the day they might not be detectable on electronics and may not budge from the bottom..
Also, fish may migrate from deeper water to shallower water, or vise versa at their feeding time.
It's all trial and error....
Hope I was of some help..

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One key where those elusive crappies might be and when they bite. The water clarity.
Typical crappie times in clear water is at sundown. the old Sun hit's the top of the trees kind of thing. But then again, it could be midnight.
I had fished a typical bowl shaped lake with clear water as a kid. the middle of the lake with a muddy soft bottom. The crappies started when it was dark. Then some years it was only good an hour before it got light out.
Don't be surprised to find the on the edge of the weeds.....Those are tough lakes to fish........ whats the water clarity ?

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • rundrave
      @Rick G   have you changed your approach or how you are fishing with no snow cover this year? It seems to really have changed things. Fish are spooky to  any movement above the ice.  Even just jigging a rod with your hand etc. spooks fish. Weed lines are not dying off etc., fish are staying up shallower etc.   I have had a lot more luck just dead sticking and bobber fishing and being away from holes or intentionally drilling holes in slush pockets or drifts to eliminate shadows etc.
    • smurfy
      Awesome cause Rick!!👍👍👌
    • Rick G
      Fishing has been pretty good for the most part with the exception of a slow day mixed in here and there. Been on a few different lakes in the last week. Ice conditions continue to fluctuate depending on warm and cold spells.  Right now there is 7-8 inches on the lakes I have been on. Snow cover is just about gone again, and with the warm days coming I think our ice season might be coming to an end locally.  Today I fished with a good buddy and we were on a mission... To find enough fresh fish to feed the folks at a local veterans home Friday dinner.  Mission accomplished!!!   Found a good mix of perfect eater size fish😁.   
    • leech~~
      Thanks for clearing up your statement.  So what is the daily limit down there?  
    • SkunkedAgain
      How thick is the snow on the lake? Is there any left?
    • Kettle
      His guide business harvests less than 1,000 teal a year. The state of Louisiana harvests over 150,000 teal a year and over 2 million ducks total. If that makes sense. 
    • leech~~
      Maybe I'm confused, but I hope one guide is not killing anywhere near the birds as an entire state of hunters?  
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end...   Ice fishing continues strong and it is still winter on the border.    Overnight temps in the teens and twenties are maintaining ice nicely.  Fishing continues to be excellent.  It has been an incredible year for walleyes and saugers with both numbers and size.     Resort fish houses and sleeper fish houses are available.  Some ice roads are allowing pickup trucks pulling wheelhouses as well.  Check with each individual ice road for specific limits.   As always, and certainly this year, it is important to stay on the resort ice roads.  It is tempting to go off on your own as there isn't much snow, but that is a risky move any time of the year.  Resorts and outfitters keep their roads on the best ice and monitor it numerous times per day.   Lake of the Woods enjoys an extended ice fishing season each year.  Fish houses are allowed on the ice through March 31st, the walleye / sauger season goes through April 14th and the pike season never ends.   The majority of ice fishing for walleyes and saugers is taking place in 24 - 34 feet of water.  Jigging one line and using a live minnow on the second line is the way to go.   Pike anglers fishing shallower shoreline breaks and reporting good activity and big fish.  Pike activity will only increase as we approach the month of March.  Arming your spread with a mixture of live and dead baits will allow you to quickly figure out what the pike wants that day. Alewife, smelt, herring, numerous sizes of live suckers, or even large shiners work well. On the Rainy River...  Most ice fishing is taking place on the lake.  There are a couple of resorts that ice fish on the Rainy River.  Know ice conditions or work through a resort or outfitter for safety.    The river is open east of Birchdale.  Those who enjoy the spring open water season on the river are optimistic the river will open early.  Is your boat and fishing gear ready when it does? Up at the NW Angle...   Another very good week of ice fishing up at the Angle.  Walleyes, saugers, jumbo perch, eelpout, pike and some big crappies in the mix.   Water conditions are clearer this winter compared to most.  For that reason, the morning and evening bites have been stronger than midday overall. Jigging one line and deadsticking the second line is the way to go.  Electronics help in determining what the fish want that given day and will up your catch of fish.   Ice fishing has been excellent, come on up.  It's still winter on the border! 
    • Kettle
      There's only one Waterfowl guide in the country that I went to. He runs about 20 trips a year. So he harvests about 185,000 less teal a year than some of the individual southern states. In MN, lots of the teal are gone before the early teal season 
    • leech~~
      Wow, don't want to be one of those guys.  But, you don't think such liberal limits down there, hurts the northern population next spring?  
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