Here in the metro area in Minnesota, we just celebrated official ice off on Lake Minnetonka on Saturday.
The lake was plum full of avid crappie anglers both in their boats and scattered along the shorelines. For most of us, it is a great excuse to get the boat out and stretch out the winter kinks.
Of course, it gives us a reason to hunt down the ever so popular spring crappies. Most anglers have a mindset to run to the nearest bank or series of docks in a small bay and start casting bobbers with jigs and minnows.
I gather that most of the time, early on they struggle, unless they by chance get lucky. The key is always finding the warmest water possible for those fish.
I always have the best luck when that water is flirting with the mid to high 50's. However, when I can't find that, I back the boat out of those shallow areas and start scanning with my electronics.
I am looking for suspended fish outside of those shallow areas where the crappies will head to spawn. Normally, what I will do is long line troll a #4 Salmo Hornet behind the boat around .8-1.0 mph and just cover the "staging grounds".
Once I am successful, I will stop outside of that area, and then start casting into the school with my jig and plastics. This past weekend, that worked like clockwork for us in the boat. We caught a few trolling in 8-10 FOW, then stopped to cast Northland Mimic tubes over them.
The fish were certainly willing to eat. We also learned that when using a jig, use something with a slower fall to it. Heavier jigs sometimes fall too fast passing the targeted depth of opportunity.
Give this a try next time you’re out. The more presentations you have in your arsenal will make you a better angler.