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Fishing Report April 2012

April 28-30, 2012

Slowly, but surely the water is beginning to warm, and so are the crappies.  You can now find 50 degree water in the black bottom bays on many lakes, and a few bigger fish are on the move.  The ducks, and loons, and herons, and osprey are feeding constantly in the shallows and that means the plankton is starting to bloom and the minnows have come for dinner.  The gamefish are right behind keeping an eye out for unsuspecting minnows.  We have not yet found a consistent bite, but the crappies are definitely feeding.  We caught only 4 in the first outing and then got 14 the next evening.  We got skunked the next afternoon and then caught 5 the following morning.  But we are finding some nice big ones in the 13" + range.  The biggest so far was just a hair short of 15.5" and about as pretty as a fish can get.  The gold and black speckles and iridescent green hues of the black crappie make it the most handsome of gamefish in my opinion.  I have posted a few pictures of these beauties in the Catch Photos section.

We mostly fished minnows, both big and small, and found no preference for bait size.  We caught some very shallow (2-3 feet) and some deeper fish (7-9 feet) and that seemed to vary with the day and the weather conditions.  Small shallow bays or channels that also hold some deeper water will typically be best.  The weather forecast for the coming week predicts a good warming trend, so I expect the next 5-10 days may be the best of the early crappie bite, at least for the shallow bays.  Timing is everything for this crappie pattern, so now is the time to get out on the water.

April 21-23, 2012

The weather hasn't warmed much over the last few weeks and neither has the water.  We did see more wildlife activity in the secluded crappie bays like herons and puddle ducks. so things are slowly springing to life.  The birch and aspen are just beginning to show hints of green and the dogwood is blooming, but otherwise it still looks like winter.  The main lake was still hovering around 45 degrees, but we found some 47-48 degree water in a small bay on a cloudy day and hoped to find a couple crappies sneaking in for a snack.  We were quite surprised to catch a two person limit of keeper slabs.  They were predominantly smaller males averaging 10-11 inches, but we had a few 12+ inchers.  The bass were active as well, smacking our crappie minnows aggressively, unlike the subtle bite we often see from the crappies.  We celebrated with a nice crappie fry that evening.  It shouldn't be long now before the bigger females start coming in to corner the minnows in the warmer water.

April 1, 2012

It has been a remarkable Spring with unheard of temperatures in the month of March.  The ice went out on most of the larger lakes in the area on March 25-26, which has to be near the record for early ice out.  We were the first boat on the lake again this year, looking for early crappies.  Water temperature in the main lake was 41-42 degrees and only a couple degrees warmer in the protected back waters and small bays.  We had one bite we thought was a crappie, but he outsmarted us.  We found very little sign of baitfish in the back bays and only caught northern pike.