Crappies for Christmas
Guest Blog by: Mitch Bradshaw 1/2/2014
I want to start by saying that I hope everyone reading this had a good Christmas - it came and went so fast! I went back to Minnesota for the holidays and I was able to spend a lot of time with family & friends. I was able to sneak in two ice outings while I was home - both of the outings we decided to head North of the Twin Cities and target Crappies. I debated about bringing my ice gear home but last minute decided not to - thankfully my friends helped supply me with rods, reels, and flashers. On Saturday, the 21st a group of friends and I hit West Rush Lake shortly after sunrise. There was enough ice for us to our Trucks and SUV's out to our fishing spot. We popped a handful of holes and started marking fish right away. We fished for about 5 hours that day and bounced around to a few different spots. Most of our time was spent in 34-40 feet of water. The pattern on this outing was drilling holes until our flashers lit up, dropping jigs/spoons down, catching crappies for a steady hour, and then having our flashers slowly go blank. This was our queue to stay mobile! So we moved and repeated this process about 4 times throughout the day. We caught Black Crappies, Sunfish, and Yellow Perch. The hot jigs of the day were a pink J.R.'s Tackle "Jalapeno"
and a white Skandia "Pelkie"
jig. The biggest Crappie of that outing was 11 1/2 inches.
On Saturday, the 28th I hit a much smaller lake in the area with a family friend. We got to the lake right before sunrise and there was a thick fog cover. We targeted 14-19 feet of water and stayed mobile - switching our spots 4-5 times throughout the day. The crappies seemed to be on the move all day, the action would come in waves but the average size was larger than the ones from the previous Saturday. We knew there were big crappies in this lake but they didn't show their faces on this outing. We caught over 60 fish that day on waxies, euros, and minnows. A good majority of these fish were in the 9 to 11-inch range and the biggest fish of the day were a couple Crappies that were pushing 11 1/2 inches. There were some nice Sunfish mixed in as well (some over 9-inches) and one bonus pike.
I miss Minnesota and having countless lake options nearby. It was also a blast fishing and targeting warm water species for the first time this ice season. 2013 was an awesome year for me. It was filled with a lot of firsts, new sights, new sponsors, and new adventures - not to mention some great fishing! I look forward to 2014 and all the fish it holds! Happy New Year everyone!!!
IceFishingFool, CO 1/2/2014 4:21:07 PM
outstanding in your field. I sure miss those playgrounds up there.
Wa11eye slayer, CO 1/2/2014 10:14:33 PM
I miss fishing in MN so many lakes to choose from hope to get back to visit family and sneak away for some walleye action glad u haas a great time back home
solocamzman, CO 1/3/2014 6:41:10 AM
Nice work Mitch. I was finally able to get out yesterday. Had a similar experience. Crappie were moving around all day. I really want to make it up north of the cities at some point. Red, Mille Lacs, Leech maybe?
Mitch Bradshaw (MNBassFisher), CO 1/3/2014 11:21:57 AM
There really are soo many lakes to choose from. Small, Medium, and Large. I love the feeling of driving by a small lake/pond and wondering...."hmm I wonder if there's any fish in there".
opencage, CO 1/3/2014 2:22:52 PM
I love CO and can't imagine moving back, but I sure am glad I get to visit the midwest and Michigan every summer and most Christmases. I was disappointed that I couldn't ice fish this year due to a warm snap, but was happy with the rabbits my cousins and I got instead. Good write up Mitch, thanks.