Summer Trolling for Crappies
Location: Alexandria Area
Water Temp: 73-78 degrees
Conditions: SW Wind at 25-30mph
Presentation: Salmo #3 Hornets
The summertime patterns are in full swing for pan fish in the Alexandria area. The bite on several lakes is excellent and I had the chance to get out to do some scouting during the week. When most anglers are walleye fishing, don’t forget about the pan fish bite. One of the best patterns and techniques is trolling the middle and deep structure weed lines. This can be an excellent way to catch big bluegills and slab crappies. The reason I like it is that I can cover more water and can pin point where the fish are along the weed lines.
The presentation that has been my go to bait is the Salmo #3 Hornet. Salmo has two different styles of Hornets, the floating and the sinker Hornets. Both work well and the one that I’ve used mostly is the floater. Reason being is that I can get right in the thick of the weeds where the fish are relating to. One tip that I can give you is that I will use a split shot about 18 inches from the Hornet to help get a little deeper. Yesterday, we were fishing in 8-13FOW and the weed lines were very thick in 8-9FOW so I set up trolling on the outside of that line of weeds. Even at times, we would slide out to 13FOW over lower patches of weeds to catch fish.
Speed and Distance:
Speed and distance are the most important part of having success with this technique. It was funny, Tom Batiuk,Colby Gallagher, and Rich Lemmer joined me on this pattern and the one thing they said to me was that they were getting hits but not hooking them. I asked, what’s your trolling speed? They said 1.5mph. That is too fast and if you’re in areas where the weeds are thicker you’re going to get hung up.
You will want to slow down to 0.8-1.0mph. This is the ideal speed and where the Salmo Hornet will be able show the swimming action to get the fish to strike and to hook them. Speed is one part, but the distance is another part of the equation. The best distance of line is 20-30 feet behind the boat. The speed and distance will be right in the hot zone when trolling the weed line structures. Kelli and I started out on our first pass through and caught 7 crappies and a few smaller pike.
The colors that produced were the #3 Black Tiger, Green Tiger, and the Dace Blue. These were the best color on this day, but remember to change things up as your trolling. Showing different colors will trigger different bites. On Friday afternoon, trolling the same stretch of weed lines the result was different. I Caught a few other species other than crappies. I caught a 21” and 24” walleye and a 20” largemouth bass using the Salmo#3 Orange Crush and the Holographic Blue Shy. I started fishing in the late afternoon and wanted to use brighter colors. Does color really make a difference? I believe it does at times, but who really knows. I will continue to let the fish let me know what they want and at the same time I’ll always be prepared with all the colors, just in case, because you never know what that hot color will be next.
This pattern can be used on just about any lake that you fish. You just have to work the structure you’re comfortable with and you will be able to fish this pattern all summer long. So the next time you’re out and have a hard time locating fish, give trolling a try. You’ll be surprised at the results and you never know what you’ll catch either. You can catch anything!
Until the next time, be safe and we’ll see you in the outdoors.