By: Kevin Dahlke
Most locations are now free of ice and depending on your area, the waters are warming and many anglers are biting at the bit as the temperatures haven’t warmed quite enough yet. There are places and structures in and around the water that can help quicken this process.
For the last few years, we have been using a pattern that involves fishing the shorelines that have heavier overgrowth and also having harder access for getting to them. We are finding that these areas are becoming fish magnets as they can and will be a couple of degrees warmer and at times, that is all you need.
If you are fishing from a boat, these areas are very easy to get to and your only obstacle is making sure your casts don’t end up in the middle of the overgrowth. Fishing from shore is a bit more difficult but putting in a bit of work will definitely pay off.
In many of these locations that I fish like this, we are not able to use a boat as they are town water supplies, so finding areas along the shoreline that offer a small opening in the brush is key for the best places the fish are using.
Since we are fishing from shore, we use a float and a Northland Fire-Ball Jig tipped with the Impulse Micro Plastics. Fishing near the shore, we only set the bait, maybe 12 inches under the Lite-Bite Slip Bobber, using a Slip-Knot Stop, and this helps immensely when casting room is very limited.
Crappies, in particular, are object-oriented and when the wood overgrowth is hanging into the water, they typically will be suspended in and around these branches. Casting past these objects and reeling the presentation back slowly, will give you an idea very quickly as to where and how they are relating to these.
You will know very quickly if the fish are relating to this area or not as it only takes a few casts in these small areas to see if the fish are there. If not, time to walk a little further, and eventually they will finally show themselves and usually, there are a good number of fish there as well.
Last week I was doing just that and there was only one location where I was able to find any actively biting crappies. Most of the shorelines have some depth to the water, but this area was a small cove that had a shallower flat out in front.
On this flat, the right side had a number of crappies and if you were to cast to the left side, there were numbers of sunfish waiting to bite. But on this given day, that shallow flat was the only area that they were relating to and after checking many areas, always ended up back there.
As the days go on and we get warmer weather moving in, these fish will start spreading out more along the shorelines and making the task of finding them a bit easier. By putting in a little work now, this definitely pays off in fish catching rewards and is something that one can keep in the back of their minds.