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Douglas Pirila

Proctor, Minn.

New Years Day Crappies

Well we went for a crappies on New Years Day, and they are biting.  If you get a chance to get out.  First pick a lake you know has good crappies, in size, numbers, etc.  If it is a big or small lake, I think any lake with a small deep section concentrates crappies this time of year.  Check the depth maps to know the lake, then pay attention to where all the ice houses are.  
We picked a big local lake with a long deep water trench.  There are several key areas along the deep water.  We setup in a group of local ice shacks over 22-24 ft of water.  After getting the holes drilled and house setup, we used our Vexilar flashers to get a feel for what was moving and where the fish were.  There was a lot of bait from 12-17 ft down, with an occasional big mark.  We've seen this many times before and dropped a small ice jig tipped with waxies to it.  That put a nice crappie on the ice in under a minute.  We set our second lines with bobbers and minnows at this depth as well.  
In a little over 2 hours we caught plenty of crappies on both the jigging rods and the bobbers with minnows.  It was a great evening and the crappies were once again an evening bite on this lake.  Each lake has a time that the fish are most active.  Some it's morning and evening low light times; others the last 2 hours of the day into the dark 1/2 to 1 hour; still others mid day, after dark, etc.  If you have to pick a time, evening is the easiest for most people.  I have found you can catch crappies all day, if you keep mobile and drill lots of holes and search for the schools of fish.  When you find them, drop a small bait and work them to see their mood.  Once you find them, then setup the shack and have a great time.  
I'll get the kids out for more crappies and we'll certainly have a few crappie dinners.  Now if you are catching lots, please release any you aren't going to eat within a day or two.  But do enjoy a crappie dinner, there's nothing like a fresh crappie from the ice to your frying pan..  Yum..
Good luck and keep warm.
Minnesota Fishing Guide

Bass fishing report

Finally got out for a day of bass fishing.  Wow they were ready for it and so was I.  I had over a hundred bass, many over 3 pounds.  The water temp was 66 degrees and weeds have grown nicely.  It was cloudy and raining on and off all day, finishing with lots of rain, thunder and lightning, so with the mosguitos, I called it a day. 
The bass were biting most anything, but it was watching for the signals they gave you that got you the most fish.  Most of the day the water was still and no fish action happening, I slowed down and put a jig and plastic right on em.  They took it very good, so they are eating.  When some were high in the water and pushing the water around, I went to a top water and they crushed it.  It was awesome. 
I saw many small pike putting their noses out of the water, many had marks on their backs, yeah I saw them by the marks.  And the panfish were feeding, when the pike weren't after them.  Lots of bluegills, crappies and pike active.  But the bass took center stage and they made all the rain worth it.  Besides the rain was warm and felt nice. 
I hope everyone is getting out fishing, it's time. 
Minnesota Fishing Guide. com