On Wednesday Alie and I spent the balmy afternoon fishing a west metro prairie lake chasing crappies around. The warm breezy weather reminded us of late ice conditions despite the 15 inches of Ice we were drilling through. With the mild conditions, the crappies cooperated in their aggressive predatory fashion.
What most people fail to realize is that crappies are very territorial and predatory. They are certainly underestimated as a predator, as they are normally deemed panfish.
When fishing these shallow prairie lakes or farm ponds, you must be prepared with the right equipment to be productive. You also must come geared to cover some ground, our augers certainly help us stay mobile. The 6" K-Drill equipped with the Clam Drill Plate and Milwaukee fuel drill is super light and makes drilling holes quick and efficient.
The great thing about this combination is that it has enabled Alie to drill her own holes and be more independent on the ice. Following up after holes are drilled, we grab our Vexilar FLX-28's and start hopping hole to hole.
We know the lake is shallower than 15 feet, so we set the knob to low power and the 20-foot range with the gain all the way down to 1. What this does, is keeps the weed clutter to a minimum, but also reduces the size of our jigs and the 4" sunfish that come under the transducer, looking like a 50" Muskie.
Using our Vexilar in these settings allows us to work each spot quickly. We drop down each hole, because these crappies roam these shallow lakes and it's rare to find them schooled up.
For a quick presentation, we would drop down a small Northland Forage minnow and about halfway down the water column, a mark will show up on the Vexilar and hammer the lure.
Sometimes nothing, so if nothing happens, we would give it a minute or two and move on. Another great presentation we were using was the 1/28th oz. Northland Tungsten Fireball jig with a Northland Impulse Blood Worm.
Small jig, but big plastic presentation kept the larger crappies coming and the smaller crappies would deter from the bait. After making moves and roaming these large flats for the crappies, once we dialed in a steady bite, we would then drill more holes in a tighter area to pinpoint more fish.
With these tackle presentations, Alie and I were using the Clam Ice Team professional series rods, particularly the “Matt Johnson Edition”. These 25" light rods are equipped with a spring bobber that would trigger the lightest bite. Smaller crappies were extremely aggressive, however those larger 12" plus crappies, pushed that spring up just a touch to indicate the hook set.
Fishing these prairie lakes and farm ponds are always very rewarding if you’re willing to put in the work with the right equipment.