Panfishing is a BLAST!!! I love catching Spring Slabs. Fortunatly there are many good panfish lakes within a couple of miles of my home.
Shortly after ice-out, the darker shallow bays have a bug hatch which draw minnows and the crappies. First, the smaller males show up in huge numbers and boating 100-200 fish for my clients is not uncommon. As the water temperatures increase, the big females move in to the same bays. At this time, the numbers drop to 40-60 fish a trip but the size is much bigger. Last year, a 1 pound 7oz crappie took top honors. When the temperature increases again, the sunfish move in and the crappies slid out to deeper water.
I have two observations to share. When you have a cooler day, the crappies will slid into a little deeper water in the bays. They do not leave the immediate bay however. When its warm we will catch fish in 1-2 feet of water, but on cool days they will move into the nearest 4-6 feet of water.
The second observation has to do with bait. On warm days fishing aggressive works wonders.It is hard to beat a jig/plastic combonation or a beetle spin. On cool days slow down and use a jig/minnow combonation under a small bobber.
When the sunfish move into the dark bottom bays, I actually take my crappie clients to clear cooler lakes. The timing is perfect. The BIG SLABS will be shallow on these lakes and they will be hungery! Usually they will be on beds now and we actually will sight fish them.Again, read the mood of the fish based on the weather and use the bait combo that works for the situation. We often boat 40-60 big crappies on these trips!
I have to stop writing and go hook up the boat. In a half hour I will launch my boat and the 2012 guiding season. I LOVE spring crappies and the HUGE smiles on clients faces.
See You on the Water,
Posted in: Panfish
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