Gills, Crappies moving to Beds

Gills, Crappies moving to Beds

The Immortal River runs by its own schedule. Most years bluegills & crappies are seriously spawning on Memorial Day weekend–which is next weekend.

Moon phase and water temperature also factor into timing of the great pannie egg dump. Water temp is already perfect71-73 degrees in less than 4 fow in quiet dark-bottomed backwaters. The full moon is Thursday. My guess is it will be go-time within 48 hrs.

Many panfish spawning areas–especially at the north end of River pools– have visibility of about 3′ right now. No need for electronics. A stealthy approach with the trolling motor and a quality pair of glare cutting Polarized sunglasses greatly enhance success.

Scan around deadfalls, brushpiles and open spots between submergent vegetation looking for clusters of plate-sized, scoured out depressions. If the water surface is flat bluegill activity sometimes results in clusters of bubbles on the surface around the beds.

A 12′ cane pole with 10′ of line and a #6-8 light wire hook baited with a waxie or pencil eraser sized pinch of nightcrawler has caught more bluegills than any other spawning bed presentation over the last 100 years.

Sometimes pegging a PENCIL STLYLE float 6-16″ above the hook will keep your offering in front of the fish more effectively. sometimes not.

Of course, serious anglers are prone to improve on perfection. A $200 fishin’ pole has GOT to be better than one which costs five bucks, right?

I have several #StCroix rod panfish rods from 7-9′ long. Reels are basic spinning cheapies popular with ice fishers spool with 4 lb. P-Line floro

Ice fishing jigs/flies are perfect for chasing pannies on the beds. Black is always a good color for gills. Crappies are fond of pink/white. Perch like something about 1/32 oz with a hot orange head and pukey chartreuse body. When in doubt, tie on a gold jig.

Perch spawned back in March, many on the river mainstem and side cuts off the channel. A major segment of the biomass has since migrated into backwaters and running sloughs in 10″-6 fow where they lurk in elodea and similar weed patches feeding heavily on benthic macroinvertabrates : a fancy word for bugs.

Panfish limits are inconsistent in the three states which border Pool 9. Iowa’s limit is an outrageous 25. In Minnesota, 10-15. Wisconsin, pretty much 15.
Although I disagree with many Minnesota DNR policies the 10 panfish limit is a good one. Ten is the per person panfish limit in my boat. If you want to take home more fish, bring a kid along!

As of today River levels are slowly dropping. Water was standing in the trees of islands in the flood plain between the river banks. The water is now pulling out of the trees, bringing logs, limbs and other dunnage with it. Use considerable caution when navigating, both in backwaters and on the River mainstem.

My guide book is wide open over the Memorial Day weekend. Special holiday weekend rates apply $10,000/4 hrs./no more than 2 anglers. Due to the shameful rise in grocery prices I’ve had to modify the trip menu to Korean War vintage C-Rats. The canned cheese is still good. Meal includes six Kirkland saltine crackers and a 16 oz. bottle of single source spring water from a beautiful tap in Gary, Indiana. Those preferring a vegan option will be treated to a self-forage shore lunch on one of three islands with both dandelion and nettle options. Gluten free Ranch dressing is included.

Rates return to normal on May 28. Calendar is wide open until June 1. I plan on fishing every day, regardless. The bite is HOT for multiple species right now. You don’t really need a guide. All i really offer is a Master’s degree level fishing education, insight regarding the natural world and sarcasm intended to be self edifying .

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