DSCN3652The rain is coming down steadily.  Not a thunderstorm but a strong summer shower.  Under normal conditions we probably could have fished.  But, this was also to be a photo op too.  Camera equipment does not hold up in such conditions.

After a couple of hours wait, we decided to give up and go fishing another day.  But sitting in the trophy room the discussion centers around the pattern we would have used.

Kyle Schoenherr ( is a professional crappie angler and guide in southern Illinois.  Our plan was to fish the clear waters of Lake of Egypt for black and white crappie.  Like the name of his guide service, he fishes for crappie all year.

He finds that people overlook the winter and summer months when planning a crappie fishing trip.  The fish are still there and they have to eat, it is a matter of finding them.

Kyle fishes a number of lakes in southern Illinois but likes Lake of Egypt in summer due to the clarity of the water.  The fish are in a post-spawn pattern of feeding heavily to recover weight loss of the spawning.

With the help of his Lowrance down imaging and side imaging electronics he is able to locate specific fish.  He finds them about 10 to 18 feet deep in water that is 15 to 30 feet deep.  Most of the time it is in brush that rises from the bottom up to the 10 to 18 foot level.

The black crappie and whites are about the same length but the blacks are thicker and consequently weight a little more.  The blacks tend to stage nearer the surface and the whites are below them.  The black crappies are the first to move into the weed beds and the last to move out.  They have feeding patterns like a bluegill consuming lots of vegetation.

On Lake of Egypt Schoenherr finds most of his fish in the deeper water found near the dam and east about two-thirds of the way down the lake.  The water along here is about 20 to 25 feet deep and holds fish longer.  In the first two months of summer the water and air temperatures are more consistent fishing due to lack of movement from the fish.

Kyle’s electronics are very important to him in finding fish.  He locates brush piles and schools of fish.  Suspected brush piles must come up from the bottom or else you may be looking at schools of bait fish.  He finds the new down imaging system from Lowrance allows the actual counting of individual fish.

Regardless of the brand or type of electronics one is using, Kyle stresses the need to learn how to use it effectively.  Then you can trust what you see with it.  He spends time with his electronics even if the fish are not showing up.  If the fish are not biting or maybe on a day like today Kyle will spend time with his electronics learning more about them and the lake on which he is fishing.

The main electronics he uses are the sonar and down imaging.  The sonar has a larger cone of the two.  It can locate structure and then he can focus the narrower cone of the down imaging.

Once the structure is located and the fish spotted it is time to mark the area and begin to fish.  Kyle drops a marker buoy and allows it to sink to the upwind side of the structure.  Then he backs away to approach it again from the downwind side with his tackle.

He uses a heavier H weight instead of the more common weights usually associated with markers.  The weight sinks faster and sits unmoving flat on the bottom without rolling.  Kyle uses 8 to 10 ounce weights.

Although he prefers to fish without a slip cork, he is aware that his clients prefer their use.  He uses 16-foot long BnM poles with minnow rigs even in deep water.  The longer poles show the slightest movement on the tip.  It helps with the light biting black crappie.  The longer poles are not for single pole fishing.  In single pole fishing the 12-foot pole is his choice as the stiffness of the pole provides a better hook set.

If jigging in open water, Kyle likes to use two ultralight poles with a rear reel seat.  He holds one in each hand and the ability to hold the pole above the reel makes for a more comfortable jigging operation.  Standing with the pole in hand, one does not have to provide the jigging action as the sensitive ultralight pole reacts to the wave action on the boat.  It imparts the slight motion of a live minnow without any input from the angler.


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