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How To Catch Crappie More Deadly Methods Archives

Last Update December 15,  2015

My very favorite  fishing subject. Summer  weed line fishing for panfish. You can successfully have very good to excellent consistent fishing throughout the summer. I do not see many (if any) fishermen using this technique. Which is all the better!!!!!

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(Left , A deadly deadly method that works all season long. In the middle The Gulp Alive One Inch minnow, On the right a green 1/32 ounce jig.  On the left gulp alive spray. I do not receive compensation for the Gulp product . I am just a reviewer of the product.)




The weed line typically in the summer grows to about 10-12 feet in depth around most lakes in the summer. This renders most of the shallows unfishable, chocked with weeds.  Also what the summer weed growth does is push a big concentration of fish (both predator and baitfish)  to the edge of that weed line.

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Things are looking good  as far as the weather goes here in central Minnesota. Finally the weather seems to be breaking to spring from winter. Just last week we had an 8 inch snow fall and temperatures as low as the mid teens Fahrenheit . It has been a very cold spring.

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In Minnesota we are a good 3 weeks late. Today April 29 with the temperature roaring to a high of the low 70’s the ice should be starting to go out of some of the small to medium size lakes. I can report that around my area the small ponds just lost their ice a couple days ago.  Yes and  a few fisherman have been spotted fishing from shore! Reports have been as expected slow.

With the ice just off the small ponds the water temperatures are still in the 30’s. It will take just a few days of weather like this and the panfish bite should be on! Happy days will be here again. Fishing season! Seriously it is a great time of year after a long cold winter to see those lakes open up free of ice and get out in the boat or fish from shore.

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Ice Out Crappie Tips

Lasted Updated April 24,2013

Here in Minnesota I am looking out my window as I write this article. It is April 7 and there is still snow on the ground and the forecast includes more light snow. It is a late spring but within the next  2-3 weeks the ice will be going out. That means one thing for the early fisherman and that is crappies and sunfish in shallow water.

 As the ice receeds crappie and sunfish will move into the open water bays and channels even before ice out on warm days.  If possible key your fishing on days with stable warm weather. These conditions will likely make the movement of fish into the shallows to feed. This is not a spawning movement. Even before the ice is totally out it is still possible to have good fishing. 

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How to fish crappie

Spider rigging for crappie is a very popular and extremely productive way to catch crappies.  Spider rigging very popular in the southern US where multiple rods per angler are legal. Here in Minnesota spider rigging is not legal unless you use one pole / line per angler. So be sure and check your states regulations before considering this method. A spider rig starts with a slightly curved bar about 6-8 foot in length (where the poles mount) .

On the bar there are 8-12 rod holders that will hold rods and will fish over the front of the boat. You fish with no more then 4-5 rods per fisherman. If two people are fishing they would use at most 8-10 poles. More then 8 poles can get too much to manage. Multiple hits with fish on are very common. Yea, sounds like a lot of fun.  You mount your rods in the rod holders using half the poles being 16 feet and half being 12 feet. Yes these are specialized very long cane pole type.

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How To Catch Crappie Using Night Lights

An underutilized method for catching crappie is to use lights at night. You set up 1 to 3 bright halogen lights on a dock or a side of a boat. Car lights on styrfoam are an option or other light systems.  The lights will set attracting a food chain in motion. The plankton will be first , followed by minnows, then bluegills, crappies , and sometimes larger fish such as walleye.  This method works all summer to fall.  Be sure and check your state regs to make sure this method is legal.

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How to catch fish in the fall.

From my fishing journal Sat Sept 15. Today I am going to try a something different. Instead of  fishing one of the many medium size Minnesota lakes in the area I am going to try to fish a small 25 acre lake which is only a few miles from my home located in a park. This lake is only about a ¼ mile long by 100-200 meters across. There is no boat landing so instead of taking my big fishing boat (17 feet) I take my small very lightweight 12 footer (which weighs 60 pounds). 

We have fished this lake only a couple times before and had pretty good success. Today Sept 15 is a bright and sunny day,  a high of 80 degrees is forecast.  A warm up from several days of cool fall type weather with the temps ranging from the lows of 40 at night to upper 60 and low 70. This cool spell has lowered the water temperatures. Most of the time this would be a good sign for fishermen who want to catch fish.

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The following is from my fishing journal Sept 1 2012. I pull into the boat landing a little later then I would like about 7 AM.  This morning it is just my springer spaniel and myself. Fall is in the air.  A great time of year! Temperatures have dropped to be too cool for shorts this time of morning even though the temp will reach 85 degrees later in the day. The sound of gun fire in the distance reminds me that the early goose season here in Minnesota has started. Fall a great time of year for both fisherman and the hunter.







Left my favorite panfish bait described in this post.


The last two weeks of August and the first 2-3 weeks of September can be known as the very toughest time of year to catch any fish species. Referred to as the summer doldrums, the dog days of summer, or they just ain’t bitin no use to goin fishing are terms tossed out there.

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Crappies in The Timber / How To Catch Crappies

How To Catch Crappie.

Many lakes have large sections of timber or trees that are flooded. The flooded timber attracts bait fish, which in turn attracts crappie. For crappies how do we fish this structure and what do we look for? The very best crappie timber has lots of branches. The more branches the better. Look for leaning timber at an angle .The more timber leaning together the better. An example you have a tee under water that is leaning at a 45 degree angle. If you have 2, 3, or 4 are better than 1. This leaning timber provides shade and cover. The leaning timber will generally out produce standing timber or stumps.

Equipment includes 10-11 foot crappie rods. You can find these special long lines at your sporting goods store or online. For lures use a small hair jig in 1/32 to 1/8 ounce or use a small 1/8 ounce beetle spin lure. You are not going to use a bobber while fishing these jigs in the timber. The reason for using a hair jig and a beetle spin (a small jig with a spinner on the end is that they fall very slowly. Also use high visibility line which will help you detect strikes more readily.


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A seldom used method that works great for crappies is trolling a jig and bobber system. This system is a great search system used in covering a lot of water. Examples of

situations you can use this system is early spring when the fish are not in the shallows but may be in a little bit deeper water adjacent to the shallows. Say you are fishing a spring day when the temperature is not optimally warm to draw fish into the shallows and have a good shallow water bite. On this day you are casting and casting and not getting much results.

It is time to deploy the trolling a jig and bobber system and go into search mode for those crappie. Ok here is how to setup  trolling a jig and bobber system. You will be fishing the deeper water outside the shallows where you would normally be catching your spring crappie. You will be trolling a jig and bobber system in passes at different depths. As an example you have a shallow water bay that normally is a good crappie producer.

Your going to make 3 trolling passes. The first pass you are going to watch your depth finder and stay on a depth of 6 to 8 feet. You will rig a 1/32 oz or a 1/64 oz green or yellow jig with a minnow or a 1 inch gulp alive minnow setting the bobber at a 5 ft depth. Next cast the boober and jig a good distance behind the boat (say 100 feet). Take your trolling motor and at a very slow speed setting start trolling and watch your depth finder to stay at 6 to 8 feet. Zig zag or snake troll slowly along the 6 vto 8 feet countour.

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How to catch fish with a small crankbait. Try this method . Take the very smallest crankbait such as the 1″ rapala and use it. It is a great multi specie bait. It works through out the year. In my opinion it is at its best on the deep weedline during the summer. These small crankbaits run 3-5 feet

under there surface. It is  a great search bait. You cover a large amount of water quickly. Your just as apt to catch a bass walleye , northern pike or nice panfish. Many times the fish (bass, walleye , crappie) prefer the smaller crank bait as opposed to the larger ones such as a number 5 or 7 which is too large too catch your crappie most of the time. Once you locate some crappie with the small crank bait you might want to through out a marker bouy and work the area with a slower presentation such as a 1/32 once jig and minnow or jig and super bait minnow below a bobber. Or if you catch a couple walleye mark the spot with a bouy and try a jig and minnow without a bobber . The small crankbaits are good when working sandbars or shallow rocks. Another tip if you see bait fish rising to the surface there is likely a school of fish hearding the bait fish to the top. When you see this condition grap your rod rigged with the small crankbait. I recommend a light or medium action rod with a spin cast reel with 6 pound test. Tie your line directly to the crank bait for the best lure performance. Try small crank baits for catching mor crappie and bass. You just do not know what you are going to catch and thats what makes fishing these lures so fun!

 Pictured right small crankbait


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