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  • Hot cold water crappie fishing by Brad Wiegmann

    Crappie fishing just wasn’t that good the last month with record high temperatures, however, it’s quickly changing to red-hot as the water temperatures drop. It will only get better and better for most anglers as crappie migrate to winter habitat. Targeting ledges and breaklines, anglers enjoy some of the best crappie fishing of the year.



    Recent weather changes have moved the majority of baitfish from back of coves and feeder creeks towards the main lake. Crappie fishing guides like Lance Lutke (www.lancesguideservice.com) are enjoying the cooler temperature and looking forward to great crappie fishing in the upcoming winter months.

    “Although, we are blessed to have an abundant shad population in the lakes I’m guiding on it can also make crappie fishing more challenging. Having too much bait right now means it’s harder to see the crappie on the Lowrance electronics and even artificial lures. However, the plus side is the crappie we are catching are bigger,” said the Grand Lake and Lake Oologah guide.



    Normally during this time of year, Lutke will be fishing 18- to 30-feet deep, but the bait and warmer water temperatures has them scattered. “The colder water temperatures will get them back to where the crappie normally are during this time of year,” said Lutke.

    He relies on his electronics to locate crappie when fishing during the winter months. “I use two Lowrance Gen3 touch units to find shad and crappie. In fact, that’s how I know how deep to fish the lures to catch the crappie,” said Lutke.

    To locate shad and crappie, Lutke sets his sonar unit to have four windows open. “I will have one window showing mapping of the area I’m fishing, one window open with traditional 2D sonar, one window open with SideScan so I can scan out to both sides of the boat and one window open with DownScan to get photograph like images of what’s below the boat including bait and crappie,” said Lutke.

    When it’s not too windy, Lutke fishes breaklines normally located away from the shoreline. “Breaklines are areas where crappie can move up and feed then move back to deeper water easily. Some of the breaklines I fish will have brush piles, but a lot of them don’t. Really the key to fishing breaklines is when it’s cloudy crappie will spread out so you have to cover more water, but when it’s sunny the crappie will bunch together making them easier to catch,” said Lutke.

    One other area Lutke fishes during this time of year is ledges. “Crappie will hang around ledges or move to ledges following schools of shad making them great for catching crappie off of,” said Lutke.



    Typically, Lutke sets up his rods using a dropper loop with two 1/8-ounce jigs and no float. The lures are 3-inch Fle Fly (www.flefly.com) Crappie Kickers rigged on 1/8-ounce Fle Fly Pro Series Jig Heads. Since he’s fishing mostly stained water, Lutke uses buster Brown, Electric Blue and Electric Chicken color patterns. Lutke combines an 8-foot rod and spinning reel rigged up with florescent 8-pound test monofilament fishing line.

    “I’m a single rod guy. For me and my clients it’s just so much easier to cast and fish. Plus when you find the crappie it’s not hard to stay busy catching them with just one fishing rod,” said Lutke.
    Over the years, Lutke has learned that in the winter months bigger crappie will be located above the smaller crappie below. Normally, Lutke will start fishing around 8-feet deep. “The first couple bites will clue me into how the crappie are and what depth to fish,” said Lutke.

    If Lutke is vertically jig fishing ledges, he will keep his Crappie Kicker lures in the strike zone moving it occasionally. “Crappie Kicker have enough action by design that you don’t have to move it much to get crappie to bite them,” said Lutke.

    On the other hand, when fishing breaklines Lutke and his clients will cast to the crappie and count it down to the strike zone. Lutke will also use a technique where the lure will slowly pendulum back through the strike zone to catch crappie.

    Lutke noted that a strike when fishing either technique maybe just the line getting heavy, the line twitching or moving to the side. “The bite is the hardest thing to feel ,” said Lutke.
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. scrat's Avatar
      scrat -
      Wow! Thanks for the hot cold water crappie fishing article. Lots of good information.
    1. Mikie's Avatar
      Mikie -
      Thanks I needed this
    1. "G"'s Avatar
      "G" -
      Good report
    1. Slab's Avatar
      Slab -
      Great read. FLE FLY Crappie Kickers sure kick some Crappie into the boat.
    1. Duckcomando's Avatar
      Duckcomando -
      Nice read.
    1. Ketchn's Avatar
      Ketchn -
      crappie kickers are good stuff ...used to test a few for FLE FLY back in the day before they came out with them ,,,,,
      nice read
    1. Hippie Bob's Avatar
      Hippie Bob -
      Nice fish! Crappie Kickers? Never heard of them. Where in Michigan can they be bought?
    1. fishnbronco's Avatar
      fishnbronco -
      Quote Originally Posted by Hippie Bob View Post
      Nice fish! Crappie Kickers? Never heard of them. Where in Michigan can they be bought?
      Go to:
      Crappie Kickers - Soft Plastic Baits FLE FLY
    1. Dave and Lynn's Avatar
      Dave and Lynn -
      Good info
    1. Anchor Man's Avatar
      Anchor Man -
      Some good one's there, thanks for sharing.
    1. "D"'s Avatar
      "D" -
      Thanks.
    1. sharphook's Avatar
      sharphook -
      This probably won't work in MS!!!!!
    1. Oldnewbie's Avatar
      Oldnewbie -
      Good article

      Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
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