Best Bet…Crappie

The lake is about two feet high and slowly falling back to summer pool. Water temps are running 81, and the water is gin-clear.

For the serious walleye fishermen, they are still picking up fish pulling bottom bouncers and spinner rigs, but not near the numbers they were a few weeks back. I believe every year about this time, the walleye start feeding at night due to extreme heat gin-clear water and ski boat pressure. You might give it a try, but our guides work daytime hours so they can’t guide a trip during the day and do another at night.

The white bass are still suspended out off gravel bars and points. The wind will dictate where they will be set up day-to-day. Wind moves the bait balls around and the whites follow them. Our 1/2 oz Candystriper cast out into the school and let it freefall through them until it hits bottom then pop it and reel it back works great and you will get a lot of strikes doing this.

The crappie are in their summer patterns and for the next three months, you will hear me talk about thermoclines and fish location. Clines for depth wind for location.

Along about this time the lake has a big algae bloom and as it grows, it gets heavier, and then it starts to sink. The thermocline will hold it up at the 12-16 foot depth range. The baitfish like to feed on this algae, so the crappie follow them, and now you have the perfect scenario. All the crappie in the lake are in the same depth.

You can use a couple of different methods to get to them. One is set your boat up to spider rig and fish six rods out the nose of your boat for you and your partner. Each rod has two minnow hooks on it to cover different depths. Now you have twelve minnows hovering right above a deep brush pile and the action is extremely fast and you just weed through the small fish all day. Hundred plus fish and fast action keep everyone busy.

The second method is to give all your fishermen a rod set up with a slip bobber set up at right now about 12 ft. Find yourself a brush pile on the main lake that is in at least twenty feet of depth and the top of this brush pile is about 12ft. It will be loaded with fish.

Throw a marker buoy on it at the top end and upwind of the brush pile. Tell your fishermen to throw just above the buoy and allow it to slip down to the set depth. The wind slowly drifting your bait across the plie is more than they can take. The cork goes down and you have a tasty crappie. This is the pattern I love most – everyone in the boat catching plenty of fish and the ability to set on one pile for fifteen minutes and quickly move to the next. Do this all day and you won’t believe how many crappie come aboard.

Of course, this time of the year is more important than any other to get one of our guides. They know where all the productive piles are and have the best electronics onboard to locate them. You must fish about twenty plus piles a day to get the boats limit and then let them rest to re-fill so you need to know where twenty more are to fish tomorrow. Plus you need advanced bait systems on your boat to carry 15-20 dozen minnows because you will use that many.

As most of you know, I am down with yet another shoulder injury but I have recruited the best guides on the lake to work through this guide service, so we are the largest and busiest service on the lake. Just contact me through the website or give me a call at 217-840-1221, and we will get you in on this great crappie action.

Steve Welch
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