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Tom Neustrom shares his tips on fishing for fall crappies in this week’s Grand Rapids, MN fishing report. Tom is an inductee of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and the MN Fishing Hall of Fame. He owns the professional guide service: MN Fishing Connections.
Fall has arrived and the seasonal change that exhibits the beauty of Mother Nature has also arrived with it. So many people wait for this time of year and reversing the enthusiasm we have for spring because we know how short a period of time fall is. In just a matter of weeks ice will be forming on our lakes and ponds with leaves falling from the trees in rapid succession. Come fish this fall in Grand Rapids, MN. Check out last minute lodging options HERE.
For anglers, it’s the last time of year to pursue their favorite species in open water. Fishing for fall crappies has always been one of my favorite activity during this short season. Sure fish like walleyes, muskies and northern pike are fun and a challenge to catch, but crappies are also fun to catch and fairly predictable. Starting in late summer, crappies begin to leave the weed lines and move to soft bottom areas of lakes to feed on blood worms and other larvae. The depths will vary from 18-40 feet depending on the individual lake. Many times deeper bays off the main lake are target areas to investigate .These food sources will be their main diet throughout the fall and cold water period of winter. Sure if there are minnows in the neighborhood they will dine on them as well, but larvae will become their staple and crappies search out these sources year after year in similar locations.
Small jigs with either plastic action tails or small minnows will entice even the most finicky of crappies. Northland Tackle makes a variety of crappie baits that are just what crappies react to. One of my favorite jigs for suspended crappies in the fall in Northland’s 1/16th ounce Fireball in the UV Glow Pink Tiger color. With a small fathead minnow it’s hard for crappies to resist. Remember to keep your jig slightly above the school for crappies as other species feed up because of their eye positions. The Mimic Minnow is a plastic that will produce crappies when all else fails. One of the best crappie baits ever developed it has the proper action that fish can’t resist. When crappies are extremely active the 1/8th ounce Puppet Minnow is a clear choice. With its aggressive swimming motion active crappies will be attracted to this fast moving bait that can be fished quickly of slow. This is especially effective for suspended crappies.
Light tackle is the order of the day when fishing fall crappies. Because they are in open water for the most part, with submerged obstructions not on the bottom, most often 4 pound test mono and ultra-lite rods will be the best presentations.
Grand Rapids has some the best fall crappie lakes in all of northern Minnesota. Some of the better ones to try are Big and Little Splithand, Pokegama, Bowstring, Sand, Loon, Big Rice, Big Cutfoot, Burrows, Jessie and Little Moose. Stop at a local bait shop in the surrounding Grand Rapids area and they can steer you in the right direction. Also check the Minnesota DNR web page and research the crappie population on the mentioned lakes to give you your best options.
It is a great time to come fishing for fall crappies and we will convince you what an option anglers have before putting their boat away for the season.