The word on the street is the crappies are staring to move shallow. Jim and I decided to load up on minnows and head out early in hopes of catching a few up shallow before they pull off during the high sun hours.
Once on the water, we headed west up the lake to a main lake point that has several brush piles in different depths all in close proximity to the main channel break. I pulled up and check the down imaging; yep there are some fish down there. We decided that this area looked as good as any place to start. Well, Jim had three keepers in the boat before I even had a jig in the water; I guess we can stay for a while. For about the next 45 minutes from 7:30 to 8:15 we stayed in this general area and caught 25 to 30 fish just pitching jigs and dragging them under the boat. The fish were not on the bank but off of it about 20 to 30 feet in 6 ft of water. We really didn’t catch anything shallower than that and 6 ft fairly close to the bottom was the magic number until about 10 am.
Once the bite slowed on the point, we moved up the cove into the secondary coves inside the main one. Again same pattern prevailed; we found the fish in exactly 6 ft of water on the outside edge of the secondary coves and points staging getting ready to go shallow. After another 45 minutes of working the shoreline with scattered success I picked up the trolling motor and start cruising around looking at the Hummingbird. It was amazing the number of fish that Jim and I were seeing stacked up on the first break in 12 to 16 ft of water just off the spawning banks. Jim and I decided to toss out the minnows and try a little spider rigging with all the suspended fish we were seeing. We did find catch several fish but in comparison to the number of fish we were seeing on the depth finder I would call the bite slow and the size disappointing. Then lightening struck, I stumbled on a big brush pile in 12 ft of water on the break we happened to be fishing. Wham, wham and more wham, BIG MALE crappie!! Jim and I pulled several 13 to 14 inch dark males out of the piles in 12 to 14 ft of water. We pulled a good 20 to 30 fish out of this new pile in a short period of time.
We stayed on this pile for another 45 minutes catching a good number of fish until something happened that I have never seen before. The warmouth/green sunfish moved in and took the brush pile over. In 14 ft of water we were seeing them on the depth finder and catching them on the spider rigs. Once they moved in the crappie stopped biting all together. I have never caught these fish schooled up nor have I seen them take over a brush pile in water deeper than 6 or 7 feet. They would hit your minnow just as hard as 12 inch crappie.
Well, with the bite on this brush pile shut off I know a few other piles in area that are in the same depth. Off we go pulling back out to the main channel and marking 2 piles within 40 feet of each other right on the break. I checked the down imaging and it showed fish on the outside edges of the trees. Again, Jim had one on before I could get a minnow into the water. Jim and I set there with one rod each over the next couple of hours catching another 50 fish or so off of these two piles.
We didn’t keep any fish today, but if we would have been keeping we easily had our 40 fish limit since most of our 100+ fish today were easily over the 10 in limit. We really didn’t have any “big” fish (larger than 14 inches) but most were just real solid 11 to 12 fish. The water temperature was 62 to 65 degrees with a strong E to SE wind most of the day. The early bite was on jigs in 6ft of water and later minnows in the brush piles. Again at the end of the day we had a great time and a wonderful way to spend a day on the water.