Best Bet…Crappie

The lake is just a foot from being back to summer pool and water temps are in the low eighties and gin clear. Typical for this time of the year.

About the only fish that will bite consistently are the crappie. Yeah you can find a school of white bass and search the whole day for them and watch them not feed until almost dark. Or pick up a couple walleye trolling whereas you could get twenty or more a month ago. Such is summer these two species get particular about feeding times. Whites at dusk and walleye way after dusk.

The crappie however are very predictable. Each morning they start out roaming out in deep basins or mouths of coves mid lake to the south end schooled up searching for shad. Then the southwest breeze starts to pick up as do the pleasure craft. This causes the crappie to move towards deep cover and suspend above it or near it. Most anglers hate the pleasure craft, you just have to be in a big enough boat that they don’t bother you and besides they are helping with the bite so we embrace them.

Out comes our best method for all the anglers in the boat to catch a ton of them. A simple slip bobber rig. We use fifteen pound Fireline Crystal braided line then go down to a barrel swivel and attach a leader about a foot long of fifteen pound Seagar fluorocarbon line and a number four light wire hook. Usually a quarter-ounce weight and a slip bobber big enough to hold it all up.

The trick to this is boat placement and of course the knowledge of where a ton of deep brush piles are located. You throw a marker just slightly up wind of the brush then get the boat off to the side and instruct your anglers to throw to the marker and allow it to slip to the setting and at this time 12ft. has been working the best. The wind and boat traffic will move the rig across the brush which is slightly deeper. The crappie rise up and inhale your minnow. You will see about a dozen or so big enough to keep then move on to the next pile and repeat the process.

All of our guides are having a ball doing this simply because of the constant action and the look on all the clients face at just how many times they catch a fish. Young and old anyone can watch a bobber go down set the hook and reel in a tasty crappie.

This pattern will remain the same until late September and we are blessed with Lake Shelbyville being wide enough and deep enough to keep a constant summer bite and oh yeah don’t forget it is packed full of millions of hungry crappie.

Just give our guide service a call at 217-840-1221 or go to the website and shoot us an email at and we will be happy to get your party out to get in on this fast action. Kids are not only welcome but embraced.

Steve Welch
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