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Thread: crappie mystery

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    Default crappie mystery

    Hi everybody. This may sound like a stupid question or questions. This fall every time I find an active school of crappie there is a kind of cloud above them on the ff. ive never seen this here before. They dont bite worth a hoot either. Ive never seen bait schools in this lake but that is what it looks like. Perhaps they are just chowing down on that and ignoring my rigging. Not sure. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Allso I am a newby to winter crappie fishing. All Ive read sas they move back into their spring spots. I can't find them there. Of course the lake is low and their spring spots are high and dry but Ive checked similar areas to no availe. All the crappie I can find are from 25 to 35 ft. Id love to find some shallower. We cant use minnows in Oregon and coaxng a bite on a jig is tough that deep. Well feeling the soft bite they seem to have adapted now is. No tap. Just a very very light resistance on the line; There isnt a lot of structure on this lake. I have found a few trees and bushes that are now in about 8 ft of water. Is that a good place to check for wnter crappie? the water temp is 58 degrees now but will drop fast in the next week. We have a cold snap here for several days. I know crappie can be caught thru the ice so I know they dont quit bitting. Any suggestions as to what to try as the temp drops. Last year I could only fish until the weekend before Thanksgiving. My lake closed then. Got all winter this year so I'm pumped on catching winter crappie. Ive been fishing the same spots I caught lots on last year and not doing near as good. The depth last year was 37 to 45 ft. Lower in the same sots this year. 20 to 30 ft is all.
    Ok I'll quit. lol I tend to get too carried away as you can tell. Any help will be great.
    Thanks John
    Last edited by Sawdustsavage; 11-11-2014 at 05:35 PM. Reason: spelling lol
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    That cloud is probably a shad ball or other bait fish.....the crappie are so full of shad they wont bite
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    That's what I figured. No shad in the lake so must be small perch or something. Funny I never saw it once all last year.
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    Here is how I would attack this problem, find them bait balls what ever they are. Fish a small jigging spoon just under the bait ball. Pull it up to about the depth of bottom of bait ball then let it flutter down while keeping line semi tight, if it stops set the hook. Would try spoons in different colors.
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    I will give that a try. Never fished spoons for crappie. How big do you use?
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    Not only on the bottom of the bait ball but also on the outside of it. Preditor fish always looks for stragglers. What about using crappie nibble or scents on your jugs.
    Lets go soak a line. Pat

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sawdustsavage View Post
    I will give that a try. Never fished spoons for crappie. How big do you use?
    I'd say a 1/4 - 1/8oz should do the trick for those depths. You can use regular "spoons", Kastmasters, or even blade baits. What you're trying to do is mimic a dying/injured baitfish.

    You also might want to consider using braid, if you're forced to fish that deep with a jig. That will jack your sensitivity up a couple of notches. I've also found that using a slightly stiffer rod, braid, and placing a split shot sinker about 8-12" above the jig, will help you feel even light "taps" (makes the light taps feel like "thumps").

    As for the "cloud" ... it may even be plankton. But, if it's more of a "ball" or "cloud" shape, it's likely some form of schooling "minnow" or small fish. Can you zoom your electronics down on those "clouds" and see if the image shows the relative size of the individual "whatevers" making the cloud ?? A screen shot image would also be helpful. And don't rule out it being Shad ... many lakes that "aren't supposed to have them", do indeed have them.

    Even way over here on the Eastern side ... our Crappie have been down around the 25-30' depths over the last few weeks, and some are still catching them in the 15-20' depths, since the water temps have fallen from near 70deg to less than 60deg.

    Crappie can't read, so they don't know where they're "supposed to be" They go wherever they want, whenever they want, and it's usually due to the prevailing conditions. They'll seek security, even if that means depth rather than cover. They'll be close to a food source, and in the most comfortable water temps & oxygen levels they can find. Falling water will drive them away from the banks & out into open water or on deep cover.

    Another thing to consider : if the "fish" are well under the "clouds", they may just be keeping them in sight. If the fish are close to the clouds (within a few feet), then they're likely looking to pick off any that stray from the school.

    ... cp
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrappiePappy View Post
    I'd say a 1/4 - 1/8oz should do the trick for those depths. You can use regular "spoons", Kastmasters, or even blade baits. What you're trying to do is mimic a dying/injured baitfish.

    You also might want to consider using braid, if you're forced to fish that deep with a jig. That will jack your sensitivity up a couple of notches. I've also found that using a slightly stiffer rod, braid, and placing a split shot sinker about 8-12" above the jig, will help you feel even light "taps" (makes the light taps feel like "thumps").

    As for the "cloud" ... it may even be plankton. But, if it's more of a "ball" or "cloud" shape, it's likely some form of schooling "minnow" or small fish. Can you zoom your electronics down on those "clouds" and see if the image shows the relative size of the individual "whatevers" making the cloud ?? A screen shot image would also be helpful. And don't rule out it being Shad ... many lakes that "aren't supposed to have them", do indeed have them.

    Even way over here on the Eastern side ... our Crappie have been down around the 25-30' depths over the last few weeks, and some are still catching them in the 15-20' depths, since the water temps have fallen from near 70deg to less than 60deg.

    Crappie can't read, so they don't know where they're "supposed to be" They go wherever they want, whenever they want, and it's usually due to the prevailing conditions. They'll seek security, even if that means depth rather than cover. They'll be close to a food source, and in the most comfortable water temps & oxygen levels they can find. Falling water will drive them away from the banks & out into open water or on deep cover.

    Another thing to consider : if the "fish" are well under the "clouds", they may just be keeping them in sight. If the fish are close to the clouds (within a few feet), then they're likely looking to pick off any that stray from the school.

    ... cp
    Thank You
    The cloud is always just above the fish. I tried zooming in but cant really tell relative size of whatever it is. I tried to get a pic of the screen and cant get a decent pic. Glare messes it up. Funny the crappie seem to pull off structure to be with whatever it is so I am sure they are eating it. Funny I didnt see any thing like it in the past 4 years. The lake is lower so perhaps that draws the mystery guest to that area this year. One thing is for sure. Whatever it is is messing up my fishing. lol I will definately try the braided line. Ive been a bit hesitant to do that. I am an ex steelhead fisherman and tend to set a mean hook. Old habits are hard to break.I will try to get a decent picture of the cloud next time out. It will be a few days because a windy cold snap started today. I dont do windy. I have a pontoon boat that really catches the wind. When everyone else is sitting dead in the water I go driftng right on by. Love it to fish out of but has its draw backs for sure. Works great with the grandkids tho. In the past I have had pretty good luck at times sliding a small willow leaf spinner blade on my line above my jig. I will try that as well. My first goal this year is to catch december crappie. Untill last year I only fished spring and early summer. Last year I caught fish tll the lake closed in mid november. After that who knows maybe even Jan. and Feb.for your help.
    John
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    John, I bet it's zoo-plankton. I discovered the same thing on Brownlee a dozen years ago and it's been a consistent, sure thing pattern. The cloud rises in low light conditions and drops with brighter conditions. There are usually fish in it or on the edges and they will bite. As far as the" resistance bite" sometimes that is all you're going to get but it's enough. When you and Conner fished with me several years ago do you remember the short rod with the micro tip I used for vertical fishing? With that rod I reel up slowly through the cloud and that tip will telegraph the resistance. Then I slowly lift and if the fish is still there the rod will slightly load. Set the hook. They seem to take the bait and move up or forward and the angler has to do his part to tell if the fish is still there. For this situation I like 2lb Florocarbon and downsize your jig. I tie a 1/64 oz chukar feather jig that works well when the bite is tough. A little piece of strip bait on a 1/32 plain head works well sometimes.
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    Thanks Gary
    I thought maybe it was zooplankton
    Funny it just appeared this year. I haven't noticed the cloud rising or lowering. At that depth though I'm sure there isn't a lot of light penetration. I remember well the watch the tip and test thing. Crappie fishing with you and your Dad addicted me😄 how's your Dad doing? Tell him we said hello.
    I've tried going to a 1/64th oz jig.
    Takes forever to get it down to the fish. I have been trying the strip bait. Last year this time I caught as many on that as the jigs. Not working much this year. May be using a tad big strip. Will adjust that. I'll try the 2# test fluorocarbon maybe that will go down faster. I've been using 4# test high viz mono. I like the high viz. I can see the little indicators better on it.
    Are you still fishing or is it hunting now?
    I'll keep you posted. Looks like it's going to be too cold for me for awhile.
    Next 10 days at least according to the weather prophets. They have missed once I do believe. Lol after that I'm going to AK for a week. Looks like uncharted ground when I get back. Never fished crappie that late. Last year I caught them thru mid Nov. I wonder what December crappie taste like?😜
    Last edited by Sawdustsavage; 11-12-2014 at 11:18 AM. Reason: Error

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