Crappie have always been a favorite fish of mine to catch ever since I was a kid. They are easy to handle, fight extremely well thanks to their shape, and can be fished for in a variety of ways from shore or smaller watercraft.
I used to catch them with grandpa in his canoe and we'd catch good ones on Shadehill Reservoir through the ice. I've got a great memory of ice fishing with my dad where a large school of 15" or better crappies was suspended beneath us and were making it difficult for my dad to get through them to the walleye below. So he was cussing them out (remember he's a walleye purist--to him, if it ain't a walleye, it ain't a fish) while I was having a blast bringing up these huge crappies that many fishermen would have loved to have the chance at catching.
Finding good sized crappie in the Hills has always been a challenge due to many of good ones being caught, then kept, and the fact that there really aren't a lot of places here that have them in either quantity or quality.
A small body of water near Bear Butte State Park has recently become a hot spot for fish since this past winter, when good sized walleye, pike, and crappie were being posted on social media. This summer, the trend has continued.
I tried shore fishing there a couple of weeks ago to no avail. The cattails are so thick that getting on the water was the best chance and I had an opportunity to fish with a friend of mine and his daughter this past week to get at them.
Bear Butte Lake is ideally sized for small boats and for the fishing we were doing, Aaron's was perfect. We threw out bobbers and jigs with minnows with one rod and pitched jigs with grub tails with another.
Using my T-Pod sonar bobber from SonarPhone, it was easy to see why the area was a one for some crappie action. Full of weed lines in anywhere from 6-9' of water, it was perfect area for crappie on the hunt.
Once we set the bobbers to the correct depth to keep the jigs over the top of the weeds, they were top catchers of the morning. Using Clam's 1/8 oz. tungsten Tg jigs, the smaller sized head and long shanked hook allowed the use larger minnows than similar lead jigs would have allowed, and the results spoke for themselves with several large crappies being reeled in.
With the jigs we were pitching, I was using a larger 1/4oz. Tg jig and 3" Northland Tackle Impulse SwimN' Grubs to find some pike or walleye, but crappie was all that would grab them too. It was a fun morning and even better that there's finally a lake around here with some good crappie in it. I'll be back with my pontoon!