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I did the lake this morning and had a riot. I found several pockets of very active fish in breakline areas adjecent to shallow shoreline structure and at times it was a fish a cast.

This was one of those days where playing with color really paid big dividends. I started with my usual and soon found the first bunch of chompers using it. After about 10 fish they cooled a litle, so I tossed in another color (same body-Stub Grub)and it took right off again. Then another color change and yet another. It was nuts.

When I would move from one piece of heaven to another I always went back to the tried and true as the search bait. All told, I found eight such pockets today and in one did 13! color changes and stayed with fish all the while.

The water has come up a degree or three now and things will be happening soon.

I caught seven species of fish today: both black and white crappies, sunfish, large mouth and small mouth basses, northerns and a muskie of about 20 inches. One of the northerns was about 37-38 inches. The bass were not huge with the largest being about two pounds. Its great to get the "extras" in with those targeted. Some of the sunfish today were absolute pigs....not a lot of them but enought to make a guy happy.

It was a nice morning out there. The orioles are there now in full force and I saw one of the osprey dive and get a fish. Those are some kind of neat birds!

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Tom,

My boys and I went out to the lake last night after supper and had about as much fun as you. We found areas that would also produce a fish every cast. Same as you described, a break next to the shallow. There was also some thick weeds along the shallow. We didn't keep any but it sure was a blast.

We ditched the bobbers and just casted the stub grubs and paddle tails. Even the mixed in bluegill was very aggressive. All the fish we caught hit the jig hard, both on the fall and on the retrieve. It seemed like the color didn't matter because all three of us were catching them and all three of us were using something different.

The boys now call THAT their favorite style of fishing. But that changes about every time we go out.

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Hey CrappieTom,

Can you tell me where you purchase these stub grubs and paddletails you keep referring to? Do you have pictures of them that can be posted? Just curious. I would like to try them out and get the same fish action everyone else is getting.

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Nuts....(love it),

Culprit is the maker of the paddletail which I refer to most of the time. The Stub Grub and Crappie Rat can be seen in the crappie forum under the "crappie plastics" thread. The Stub Grub and the Crappie Rat are available from JRs Tackle. I'm not certain if the on-line catalog shows them yet, but Jrs.com is one way to get those two products. If you drop me an e-mail, I can get more specific about the paddletails. Just click on the TSJigs link below.

You may want to try FM's "tackle city" link too, as the Stub and Rat may be available there as well.

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I got paddletails in town. The stub grub i think u have to buy online but im not sure cause i cant find them anywhere.

(can't name a non-sponsor business)

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Hey CrappieTom. Not sure if you fish for Northern out there much but what areas do you think are the best spots? When ever I try fishing for them I very rarely get them. But when I'm out throwing raps for bass thats about the only time I come across them then snap the goes the fish and lure.

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Fished Zumbro tonight with a mixed bag ranging from rock bass to northern. Plenty of waves from skiers and jet skies made things a bit annoying at times. Only caught a couple crappies. After the action died down a bit my son started getting a bit ansy and we headed for home. Here is a picture of the northern that my 3 1/2 year old son took with the digital camera.

zumbronorthern52420052qb.jpg

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Nice Andy!

The kid is only 3 1/2 and can take a picture like that? Good job!

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Thanks for the info on the paddle tails and stub grubs CT. I will have to get some of those and get some crappie action too.

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Hey crappieguy,

Where did you find the paddle tails in town? I was wondering if maybe Fleet Farm has them or maybe Gander Mtn?

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Hi all,

I agree with Crappie Tom that the fish were out in force yesterday but maybe its just luck or technique, we only caught one crappie. I could see the slabs with my polarised glasses as the water was pretty clear but I could not get them to take my minnows. even when I dangled them, with no bobber , on a blood red hook right in front of them, most of them just swam towards the minnow, took a sniff and swam away..... ARRGH!!!! Funny and the day before, it was SUPER fishin... hmm..

question for CT: did you get any success with minnows or did you just stick to your paddletails etc? I threw a few but they didn't take. maybe its the way I am hooking my tails, how do you do yours and what colours?

thanks Tom

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I did a 2 1/2 hour number this morning and all I can say is...."wow". The toothies were else pestering people for the most part, but one had to make an appearance and it was something to see. I had just hooked up a sunnie on a paddletail when....boom. This northern was on for all of ten minutes and I even had to chase with the electric twice. I got this beast right to the net when the line parted....it went from side to side thru the chops and two pound doesn't hold up well on teeth like that. If memory works well yet, this one was a good two pounds larger than the 18 I got a couple years ago. I can't say how it got it, but this fish had a scar about a foot long on one side.

Crappies and sunfish were outstanding in certain areas this morning. Like yesterday, if you found one, you'd find lots of them. They had not moved up on shore yet, but weren't real deep either. I fished about 2 and a half feet down. Color was a bit more critical today with the orange body/chartreuse tail Stub Grub doing the honors mostly. The purple/chartreuse tricked a few too as did the white body/chartreuse tail. The later did good in the Crappie Rat too.

Water temps were pretty much the same every where I went today.

The Stub Grub has really gotten to be a desired sunfish bait with me. In the last two days I have hit on 11 sunfish that went past the 10 inch mark - all returned. Every one of these fish have had the entire grub/jig in it's choppers, deep enough to require forceps to get the hook out.

The total number of fish caught today was close to yesterday's total and will only get better as the water warms.

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I'm going to have to get some stub grubs. What colors would you recommend to start and where to order?

I have caught nice sunnies on the junebug/chart paddletail as well.

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Hi Crappie Tom - thought I'd give you a report on how plastics worked on Canadian crappies.

We put the paddle tails to the test yesterday in a Canadian lake and all I can say is wow. We had a father and his 19 year old daughter along and she was doing okay with minnows until we fixed her up with a paddle tail. Then she caught more crappies in 10 minutes than she had caught in her life and Dad was so proud he had a hard time paying attention to his own line!

Also tried a 10' crappie rod and think I'll stick with my 6'4" St. Croix from now on.

uffdapete (from Fishmeister's desk)

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Cold rain, cooler air, and a cold front equated to a different bite this morning. Fish were no on any shallow water early on, but as the sun hit on the water and warmed it some the fish seemed to be eager to get back to whatever they do.

While the fish were coming back to the shallows a little, they still had some chopper trouble. Hits were pretty subtle and often times I'd cast a paddy of one design or another into a spot and get hit each time but never hard enough to hook up, but then I'd pitch a hair ball back in there and bang!

I caught quite a few fish in the 1-1/2 hour jaunty, considering the conditions. 52 made it to the boat, none kept and they were a mix of sunfish and crappies. Not very many small fish to fiddle with today either.

The sun today should replace the lost heat and get things back on track.

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Was out on the Zumbro last night only managed to catch a 26" Northern. Had a few tags on a small rap I believe the must of been crappie or white bass not sure though. As soon as I got out there my fish finder took a crap so i gotta get a new one. Anyone know what would be a good one for around $150?

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Today was in the dumpster. The sunfish were hitting and many of those were again pretty darned nice, but nada on the crappies. This front that came railing in on us last night cut into the air temp and the water temp.

Not even the toothies were agreeable, but one huge sucker did come up and inhale a paddletail.

This weather situation is starting to suck in my opinion.

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I'm telling you Tom, those paddletails are a rough fish magnet.

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The one you caught Andy was a dink compared to this one. It even did the salmon jump thing three times.

Actually, carp, suckers and catfish will readily hit any kind of plastic as long as it is in their site/strike window long enough. This may be the reason I tend to fish plastic fairly fast.

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I'll admit, I don't get out on Zumbro as much as you guys, but the numbers of fish you folks get in a day exceeds probably all the fish I've caught out there in 5 summers! I'm very impressed.

The only electronics I have is a simple depthfinder, no fish finder/graphics/etc. Is that the one missing piece of the puzzle for me on Zumbro specifically? I most often fish what I think you call the High Banks, and I've tried many other places on the lake, but usually with no luck, or maybe 1-2 bites then nothing. Also fish on either side of the dam by Ponderosa. Most success has come on the High Banks, but rarely ever in a great quantity. I'll also admit, I'd consider myself an eternal beginner, most often fishing worms, waxies, and crawlers (never got any action out there on plastics or by casting/retrieving). Any advice? General locations? Depth suggestions? Motivational thoughts? One of my problems is that I don't often get alot of choice over the days I get out there, and I know the importance of experience in anything. I actually only get out there about 4-5 times/summer. To me, Zumbro has always seemed a bit intriguing, since I hear all these reports, so I know they are out there, it's just the challenge of finding them and then getting their attention.

Ok, that sounds like I'm whining, so I apologize...just kinda frustrating since its the closest lake in this part of the state, and the only lake I have tons of luck on is over an hour away. Anyways, thanks for listening, and thanks for all of your reports and education in your postings!

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Trip....

The Zumbro is a challenge from any standpoint. When one considers the deep water physiology of the lake, throws fish into the equation that are probably the toughest to learn and then toss in whatever Ma nature thinks is good for a day and you will have your hands full to say the least.

In your post, you imply that your fishing is restricted or concentrated during the warm weather months and that you are generally fishing the highbanks along with that shoreline near the dam that tends to furnish deep water. So far you are right on the mark for summer fishing, but you are most likely not fishing the depth where the fish are relating to.

You indicate that you are short on electronics that can idenitify or mark a fish, while I don't spend all of my time looking at the screen of the lcr, I do think they are handy for at least giving you an idea where the fish, regardless of specie, are favoring in the water column. Inexpensive models are available today that do a world of wonders and even tell you the all-important water temp as well. I honestly think that this would be a good investment for you. A map of the lake is another consideration.

Wild Goose sprots has a map that shows all of the shoreline. In studying it, you will find that there are a ton of areas with shoreline very much like those found along the high banks. Too many people get hung up on the idea that you need this super deep water to hold crappies. What you need to look for are the areas with super steep submerged shoreline (a very radical, steep drop from water's edge to the bottom of the deeper water) and water at least 12 to 15 feet deep....it doesn't have to be 25 feet like so many think. Just a really fast drop in depth. You can find these spots on the map and then concentrate on them.

Understanding the fish you chase is essential. Seasonal movements and water preferences become critical issues if you want to stay with the fish. This is the costliest part of success on that lake, as it involves being on the water a lot in order to see how the influences of season, water temperature influence your quarry. And then there is the weather issues that come into play almost daily.

Rains heavy in nature will affect the fish in many ways. Rising water not only changes the perspective of their world, but the fish will also be affected by the temperature change that accompanies the increasing water load. I degree of temperature change in the negative will shut crappies down or put them into a negative moods. Rising water also drags in mud and silt, coloring the water and making visiblity an issue. Bait profile and colors the provide contrast are needed to be seen or have their fish "feel" the bait's presence. One of the things many anglers forget to think about is the watershed for this lake....it is huge and diverse. Most of the incoming water from the two feeding branches of the Zubro river is drained off from farm land. While the area around the lake may not even get any rain, outlying areas getting dumped on can make a mess out of the lake in a flash. And too....consider how well the flood control program in Rochester works at getting water out of town and down to the lake.

Cold front wreak havok on the fish in the lake year round. Granted, they play less a negative role when the water is heated during the summer months, by even then knowing how these fish react to them is essential. Generally it means fishingmuch deeper and slower. You may need to scale down what you are offering.

If your fishing is limited to the warm months, the one thing I would do is eliminate the live bait. Plastic offers a wider range of use/opportunity. You don't have to drag a bucket and still see the bait croak. You can fish way more aggresively and cover the color needs way better. The fish you catch tend to be larger and are way less likely to be deeply hooked making them more returnable to the water should you just be fishing and releasing.

Even hair jigs will outdo bait.

If you need to smell things up a tad, the Exude baits designed for panfish are excellent choices while unscented paddletails like the Culprit or Jrs Stub Grubs simply

are very hard to beat for all round fishing. Other scenting can be done with a spray or a dip product (I use cod liver oil from the drug store...$4/ 4 ounce bottle)and the powerbait nibbles working along with the gulp maggots.

The Zumbro is not an easy study. I'd pick up a locator with water temp capability and a map. Study that map so you have a good idea of where you need to be. Go to those point. THEN turn the locator on and hunt for your fish. Hint here: crappies will seldom be on the bottom during periods of stable weather. If it is bright out and the water is flat, look deeper for them. If you have clouds or the wind is rippling the surface at all, they could tend to be higher. Don't look for dense bunches of them, but rather look for lots of random marks at the same depth within a fairly small area.

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CrappieTom,

Wow, what a response! Thank you very much for the information, I really appreciate it.

One quick question, I'm guessing the map you are referring to is better than what is out on the DNR website?

Thanks again for your reply (and all the other info and education I've gotten from yours and the other posts). You've got me motivated to get out there again soon.

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Trip...

There are not many maps of the Zumbro. The one most commonly used by the dnr and for sale locally are not too terribly up-to-date. For all practical purposes though, you will want the map to show you specific areas of radical shoreline/deep water other than the couple you have been searching around. I would not use the map if you were to go looking for a specific shallow water. Siltation has changed the shown depths over the years. Deep water depths may have also changed some, but you are looking for the severe change in deth as it relates to steep shoreline, not the overall depth of the water.

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I spent the weekend camping on the river at my cousins house. They live 1 mile north of 61 and right on the river. Fished using nightcrawler and caught 2 sheephead. Little later, line starts goin, set the hook and expecting another sheephead or sucker and here comes a walleye. Only it wasnt a walleye, it was a saugeye. Anybody else catch these? Didnt know they were in the river. It has a spotted dorsal fin, blotchy sides that were mud brown and a very faint white spot at the bottom of the tail fin. I'll post a pic when i get the camera back.

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Hit the Zum yesterday afternoon/evening with some luck. Things started off pretty slow with a perch, rockbass, and a small sunnie. Color/type of bait played a huge role with the crappies. After we found the hot bait we ended up catching close to 35 crappies by the days end. A few of them were pitch black in color. I assume that had something to do with the spawn.

F.F.

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Found a solid crappie bite last evening on the Zum... After the pleasure boat traffic disappeared, we had the lake to ourselves. Fished strictly plastics, and found most the takers several feet outside the wood. A small percentage of the fish were right on the structure.

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