Spring has definitely sprung, however in the world of fishing, the water is still a bit chilly; even frozen once you get a bit north.
On a recent Crappie trip, the cold water scenario is exactly what my buddy “The Hitman” and I encountered on Rice Lake. The main lake water temps were 51 degrees with a couple of back bays getting towards the mid 50’s.
Our day started on a weedy flat that “Hit” has fished in the past. We were picking up the odd Crappie, but certainly nothing like it should be in the spring. When everything aligns, it’s usually fish after fish, especially if you find a tight group of them.
We started out with a combination of fast and slow baits to see what was happening and soon found that the fast search baits were out-fishing the slow. Our set-ups consisted of small crankbaits and spinnerbaits for the search style baits, and the usual small tube jig under a float for the slow baits.
I must mention as well that there was a pretty good sized group of boats in the area and it’s always a good idea to keep an eye open to see if you can pick up any details as to the “pace” of the fishing. In our case, we could see very little happening with the float & jig method, so we both quickly moved to the fast baits and did better than most of the boats. It’s all about common sense and being ready for all conditions.
Knowing that 51 degrees is pretty cold, we headed off to one of my “really old” back bays to see if there were any spawners, but to my surprise, the area was void of wood & weeds, plus the bottom was really silted over. Crappie need some kind of hard bottom to spawn, so this was simply a scenic Rice Lake cruise in the cold wind.
We decided to end the day where we started (where the fish were of course… why do we always want to find better when good can be great in comparison???) and picked up right where we left off.. one fish at a time, but enough to keep us happy.
By this weekend coming up and the few weeks to follow, these Crappie will be in and spawning and then out again. Stay on them, try and play around with techniques and when you score, enjoy a nice fresh feed of fish.