FISHING THE ICE OUT CONDITIONS FOR CRAPPIES   1 comment

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The nip in the air is refreshing. But, the tug on the line is even more stimulating.  The only drawback to spring crappie fishing is reaching out to grab hold of an icicle called a fish.  They numb the fingers as you try to control their movement.

The ice is gone from rivers and crappies are moving into their spawning areas in the backs of coves and feeder creeks. Early ice out there can be a great deal of pre-spawn angling in the channels and bays especially if the water is too cold for spawning.

Crappies suspend in relation to points, sunken islands, sand bars, creek beds and debris found in lakes and impoundments. When it comes to spawning they lay eggs in water three to eight feet deep once the temperature nears the mid 60-degree range near cover.

White crappies tend to like brush piles, bushes or sunken logs. Black crappies like reeds or other weed growth.

It is best to begin seeking likely summer holding areas. Then backtrack to the nearest deep creek bed.  Follow the channel to the best available holding area.  Some creek beds are more promising than others.  Ones with wood in or near the creek bed are best.

Standing timber and sunken wood is excellent. Even stumps will do the trick.  The more dense wood has the best chance of holding fish.

If the river or creek does not seem to have any wood available, either visible or concealed, then try the bends and intersections. Sharp bends or intersections with roads and secondary channels often produce.  Dark bottoms on the north side of lakes are good sources of fish.  They get the early sun and hold warmth longer.

Channels that dead end minimize current flow that draws off warm water. Good bays with no channel or at least not an adequate one, serve the same purpose.  If all else fails try deep water and fish deep.

Jigs are the bread and butter of crappie lures. A good assortment of 1/16- to 1/64-ounce jigs, in colors of white, black and yellow, are basic.  Couple them with tube bodies of the same colors.  For natural baits, the basic is minnows or waxworms.

Still fishing with slip bobbers and minnows can produce a lot of fish. It is important to remember that crappies are very spooky.  If disturbed, they will stop feeding.  The best pattern is to locate the fish and then make long casts to them.  Make short pauses in the retrieve of about 30 seconds each.

The strike will usually come as the jig begins to settle to the bottom of the length of line below the bobber. Small sensitive bobbers help anglers notice the very light bite that often occurs.

 

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