Best Bet… Crappie, Walleye, and Sauger

Water temps on the north end are running about 65-70 degrees, so it has warmed up considerably. The Corp has slowed the drawdown as well. Currently, the lake is four-feet under summer pool, and very soon the Corp will change the rule curve and allow it to reach normal summer pool.

The crappie spawn is well underway on the north end, and soon with the rising water, this will bring in a whole new batch of spawning crappie. The larger fish have learned through the years to wait it out. Right now is that time up on the north end as my guides have been seeing some very nice fish this past week running in that pound to the nearly two-pound range.

As I have said many times, jigs work fine but I prefer a large to most angler’s minnow under a slip bobber. Male crappie do not want these predators near their beds, and they have been guarding them for some time so are extremely hungry. Besides at these water temps the male Largemouth Bass are moving up into these same areas the crappie use and it is a ball to hang onto one of these on light tackle. We have one that guards the same stump every year, and we have named him Elmer and many of my clients have caught and released him sometimes more than once in the same day. I always get kids coming up to me during show season and asking how Elmer is. Last I saw him; he was pushing five pounds.

The water temps on the deep, clear south end are getting right as well. This end is full of healthy black crappie, and you can put together a nice bag and see a hundred fish day with little problem. Same method shore line horizontal wood with a cork. Be it a jig under it or a minnow.

Seventy-degree water temps also trigger our first of many shad hatches. I always tell our guides while launching at daylight keep your eyes peeled at the concrete ramp. You will see the first fry feeding on the algae. You then know in a couple of weeks to get out the walleye tackle.

Tackle for us means setting the boat up to pull bottom bouncers and spinner rigs and cover the ledges up on the north end concentrating on offshore stumps. We tie them ourselves much shorter and with heavier line, so if you come into contact with a stump, you can still pull it free. Plus we catch some very big Bass doing this as well.

You can use jigs and twister tails and believe me it is still the number one way most fish for them. If your boat is set up like mine, you the wind’s effect can’t keep up with the number of fish we get by simply pulling four to six spinner rigs by a stump turn on a dime and do it again. Speed triggers bites, and sometimes all it takes is the perfect angle going by that stump. On Shelbyville, this entire bite is triggered by the new shad and the wind’s effect on where they will be from day to day. Plus the crappie on the north end are getting into post spawn habits and feeding heavily, and they love spinner rigs as well.

These next few weeks should have some of the best fishing we have to offer. Our guides have been dominating the local crappie tourneys, but they are all but done, so this will free up their schedules for more guide trips, so don’t hesitate to call us and set something up. Call Steve Welch at 217-840-1221.

Steve Welch
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