CATCHING SUMMER CRAPPIE   Leave a comment

Fishing for big crappie continues throughout the summer is just a little different from spawning fish.

Finding crappie in the heat of summer requires the use of electronics.  The fish are usually suspended in the deeper water and not in a large a concentration as in the spring.

One has to do some scouting.

The scouting may result in finding a school of redear sunfish, pumpkinseed or bluegill.  One can only tell the difference when the catching begins.  If all that is found are fish other than crappie, then it is time to move on to another location.

A likely place to find fish is submerged wood in deep water.  Move the boat back and forth over a stump that is located on or near a main lake point.  Once the stump is located, place a marker in the water and backed off a little.  Then flip a small jig to the marked stump.

Other structure that holds crappie in summer include such things as:  weeds, brush piles, a subtle drop in the bottom or even those deeper drops created by the mining under the lake.

If one takes the time to learn how to read a fish locator, any unit will work for this type of fishing.  You can get away with a very inexpensive unit if you know what is appearing on the screen or flasher.

Experienced electronics users find the thermocline, that area at which water stratifies into warm and cold water.  Little oxygen and no fish are located below the thermocline.

If you take your time locating structure and then fish above it, chances are good for some nice crappie.

Crappie jigs work for these fish the same as those found in the brush in spring.  Sometimes the summer crappies are a bit more finicky.  Overcome that with the addition of a small minnow to the jig.

Slip‑bobber rigs with a small jig or straight crappie hook tipped with a minnow work well too.  If you get into a mess of fish then a jig is probably a better bet.  It is easier to get a jig out of a fish and get the line back in the water than to take the time to re‑bait a hook and drop it overboard.  The secret is to get the fish while they are feeding and before they decide to move away.

Do not spend more than about 20 minutes in any one spot.   Fish may be on a given spot for a while and then move away for no apparent reason.  That is why some days one can catch fish in a particular location and come back the next day to no fish.

Another problem with summer crappie fishing is sometimes it seems only the small fish are biting.  A good rule of thumb is to go deeper for the larger fish.  One way to get past the problem getting your bait through the small fish is to back the boat off a little.  Once you get the bait down to the desired depth move the boat back into the location desired.

Fishing for crappie during the dog days of summer can be frustrating.  But for those who try this pattern the reward is a nice mess of crappie fillets on the grill in the evening.

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