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I know its to early just planning ahead and loading up on gear. Never really targeted crappie except for 1 trip to Brownlee last spring but they are so tasty that I am wanting to target them closer to home.
Any advice on jig colors and timing?
 

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The last few years it hasn't seemed to matter... whatever bait I could get them unhooked from the fastest. no nets, just flip 'em in the boat.
 

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Thanks for bringing this up, as we are considering Prineville res. this spring, my only question is, when does the good crappie bite start?
 

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Tried to post a link, but didn't seem to work. But my son picked out a "grub" by strike king they call the joker. Its 2" long and has three "tails" out the back kinda like a jokers crown. I rolled my eyes when he said he wanted to try it. But like so many of the things he picks to try it worked really well. By far the best lure we used at prineville . Also tried it at Owyhee Res in the fall. Outfished other skirts and tails 5 : 1.

Like was said when the bite is on they will hit anything but when marginal I'll take any advantage. Just waiting for the water to get high enough to launch then we will try and see how the crappie overwintered out there.
 

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Tried to post a link, but didn't seem to work. But my son picked out a "grub" by strike king they call the joker. Its 2" long and has three "tails" out the back kinda like a jokers crown. I rolled my eyes when he said he wanted to try it. But like so many of the things he picks to try it worked really well. By far the best lure we used at prineville . Also tried it at Owyhee Res in the fall. Outfished other skirts and tails 5 : 1.

Like was said when the bite is on they will hit anything but when marginal I'll take any advantage. Just waiting for the water to get high enough to launch then we will try and see how the crappie overwintered out there.
Ha, ha. Sons will do that to you. I took mine fishing in the Alsea when he was about 15. Chinook/Steelhead both in the river at the time. He ties on the biggest, ugliest plug that he could find and I let him know that it was a waste of time as the water was too shallow and clear, and no Chinook in it's right mind would be there let alone strike that thing. He caught two in about 45 minutes. Just goes to show you.

Is there a certain color that works the best? Thanks for the post. They are good looking skirts. MB.
 

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Hot chicken and popsicle were the two best colors. I like to use the heaviest jig heads. 1/8-3/8 I like it to get down quick. Will also troll with an inline weight to get it down further and keep it there.
 

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Hot chicken and popsicle were the two best colors. I like to use the heaviest jig heads. 1/8-3/8 I like it to get down quick. Will also troll with an inline weight to get it down further and keep it there.
Is a half oz inline weight to heavy? Lightest I have.
 

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That should work just fine. Just not sure how warm the water will need to be to get them that active. Might be a while into the spring
 

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Interesting to hear different thoughts on crappie techniques. I have never heard of targeting crappies with 3/8 oz. jigs. Sometimes they will bite anything but that is way too heavy in my opinion. Crappies are Masters at sucking in and spitting out offerings. If you think bigger crappies will go for bigger baits and smaller one visa versa, think again. When you find crappies that won’t bite go as small as you can with lightest line and natural colors with scent or nibbles. A bright colored 3/8 oz, jig head with a chartreuse 3 inch mister twister tail might catch fish but I think you’ll get way More bass on a big jig than crappies. I have been in Ky and Tenn. where they have 8 rods spread out in front of boat and troll fast with larger jigs but I never fish that way out here. Go small for big fussy crappies.
 

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A Crappie Tutorial




The last dramatic event that factors into fishing during the spring and before summer arrives is the appearance of the shad . The shad schools hold the highest probability of predators of all species due to the mere size of the bait fish , the oily scent for tracking and the much higher food value in the shad . All lake species will target shad schools and vast expansive areas of shad may be herded around like cattle by the bass , crappie , stripers or even catfish , ********* and carp . These huge schools keep deep for the winter months , staging over humps , deep points and suspended over deep water , but reappear late spring around coves , off points and around grassy shorelines where their reproductive needs are met . Shad schools balled up tight together are in a defensive posture and the ball design is their defense mechanism . Seeing the "bait ball" tells you that predators are active and possibly cacheable . However , the predators may be catfish , bass or any lake species since shad is the primary food source . Now is where the fishing comes in .



The shallows become the muddiest or most colored waters , where as most of the rest of the lake may still be crystal clear . Darker water ,or especially muddy waters , warm fastest and hold that warmer temperature longer , as do rocks on rocky shorelines . Off colored waters are most productively fished with chartreuse or chartreuse combination spinner baits , fat bodied crank baits , full size plastic worms , lizards and brush hog type plastic baits that crawl or hop slow over the bottom and around shallow structure . Rattle back type jigs with a bit of chartreuse tipped skirt or with a large craw trailer can also be deadly in this situation . Revisited from years ago but becoming again popular in the rocky shore lined lakes , is to rig a _ to _ ounce football head jig with a wide gap hook, dressed with a 5" skirted twin tail grub . This should be cast to a rocky shoreline and slowly "slid" down , not hopped , to deeper waters , allowing a slight pause , but always keeping a snug line . Try brown or melon colors . Otherwise always use the lightest weights possible in worm weights , or jig heads . In muddy or obscured vision waters , the bass primarily find food by sensing vibrations through their lateral line , homing in onto the prey and depending on actual sight the least .thus , bright lures , chartreuse and fire tigers , fat wide wobble bodies and noisy lures put fish into the boat . Cast to any structure , bush , lay down tree or a lone object on a baron shoreline . Cast into structure with the spinner baits and plastics . Fish as slow as possible---fish need to find the food before they can eat it ! Target individual bushes as opposed to blind casting everywhere , fish the coves and flat points . Although a solid top water bite has not yet started , buzz baits fished through shallows and parallel to shore and around bushes can produce some tremendous strikes . The feature behind the buzz bait is that it is thought to annoy the fish around bedding areas . Try bright colors over muddy shallows , black at low light conditions and white / chartreuse during the sunny day .

For the crappie , first try early morning trolling the shallows. Troll the edge of the creek channels where deeper water comes up to much shallower and brushier bottom . Troll as slow as possible using 2" to 3" shallow diving miied to most lakes.nnow style lures in chrome or bright colors . As the sun comes out , change to chrome or shiny thin lures , actually scaling up the size to 4" to 5" . The bright sun reflects off the larger lures making them more visible from a greater distance . If you catch fish trolling , pay attention to your speed and direction and duplicate it on subsequent passes . Crappie gang up , so another option is to troll to find them , then stop and cast the area looking for more fish . Remember , crappie move in fairly large schools and catching one indicates that maybe 10 others saw your lure too . When casting for crappie in early morning, try casting as close to brush as possible , even inside . As the morning progresses , fish in front of the structure , only allow the mini- jig to fall deep , directly in front of the bush . As with bass , and most fish species , their eyes are sensitive to light and they move from bright to dark and onto the shaded side of structure . Always fish slow , sometimes barely moving the lure . Given the opportunity , try vertical fishing by using a controlled , slow drop –gentle rise---slow drop again technique . 99% of the time , crappie will "tap" your lure on the fall or you may even detect a strike by the line simply stop falling over deeper water . Remember , fish do not have hands---you feel a crappie strike , simply lift the rod tip . A good trick when casting is to use a meal worm on any mini-jig used , and the colors of chartreuse , bright flecks and two tone color combinations should be your first choices . This combination presents the fish with multiple color choices , scent and movement with the curl or multi- fragmented tail . Also , keep the weight as light as possible –1/16 best all around choice .<p> </p>Sometime in may the crappie move out of the shallows or where ever spring brought them , and they focus feeding on shad . Look for signs of shad pushed into shorelines or into small pockets or the back of coves . Look for the crappie on brushy points and around any kind of ambush structure . Use the mini-jig and meal worm combo and fish slow and cover lots of individual bushes . Fish as early as possible and as the sun brightly shines , fish those same brush areas deeper . Look for "twinkling" shad along the shore and fish slow and deep those areas . If you locate the crappie around deep brush , keep working that spot until they seem to stop biting , then change colors . This basic pattern for crappie will hold until fall , slowing a bit during mid-summer mid-days .
 

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A Crappie Tutorial




The last dramatic event that factors into fishing during the spring and before summer arrives is the appearance of the shad . The shad schools hold the highest probability of predators of all species due to the mere size of the bait fish , the oily scent for tracking and the much higher food value in the shad . All lake species will target shad schools and vast expansive areas of shad may be herded around like cattle by the bass , crappie , stripers or even catfish , ********* and carp . These huge schools keep deep for the winter months , staging over humps , deep points and suspended over deep water , but reappear late spring around coves , off points and around grassy shorelines where their reproductive needs are met . Shad schools balled up tight together are in a defensive posture and the ball design is their defense mechanism . Seeing the "bait ball" tells you that predators are active and possibly cacheable . However , the predators may be catfish , bass or any lake species since shad is the primary food source . Now is where the fishing comes in .



The shallows become the muddiest or most colored waters , where as most of the rest of the lake may still be crystal clear . Darker water ,or especially muddy waters , warm fastest and hold that warmer temperature longer , as do rocks on rocky shorelines . Off colored waters are most productively fished with chartreuse or chartreuse combination spinner baits , fat bodied crank baits , full size plastic worms , lizards and brush hog type plastic baits that crawl or hop slow over the bottom and around shallow structure . Rattle back type jigs with a bit of chartreuse tipped skirt or with a large craw trailer can also be deadly in this situation . Revisited from years ago but becoming again popular in the rocky shore lined lakes , is to rig a _ to _ ounce football head jig with a wide gap hook, dressed with a 5" skirted twin tail grub . This should be cast to a rocky shoreline and slowly "slid" down , not hopped , to deeper waters , allowing a slight pause , but always keeping a snug line . Try brown or melon colors . Otherwise always use the lightest weights possible in worm weights , or jig heads . In muddy or obscured vision waters , the bass primarily find food by sensing vibrations through their lateral line , homing in onto the prey and depending on actual sight the least .thus , bright lures , chartreuse and fire tigers , fat wide wobble bodies and noisy lures put fish into the boat . Cast to any structure , bush , lay down tree or a lone object on a baron shoreline . Cast into structure with the spinner baits and plastics . Fish as slow as possible---fish need to find the food before they can eat it ! Target individual bushes as opposed to blind casting everywhere , fish the coves and flat points . Although a solid top water bite has not yet started , buzz baits fished through shallows and parallel to shore and around bushes can produce some tremendous strikes . The feature behind the buzz bait is that it is thought to annoy the fish around bedding areas . Try bright colors over muddy shallows , black at low light conditions and white / chartreuse during the sunny day .

For the crappie , first try early morning trolling the shallows. Troll the edge of the creek channels where deeper water comes up to much shallower and brushier bottom . Troll as slow as possible using 2" to 3" shallow diving miied to most lakes.nnow style lures in chrome or bright colors . As the sun comes out , change to chrome or shiny thin lures , actually scaling up the size to 4" to 5" . The bright sun reflects off the larger lures making them more visible from a greater distance . If you catch fish trolling , pay attention to your speed and direction and duplicate it on subsequent passes . Crappie gang up , so another option is to troll to find them , then stop and cast the area looking for more fish . Remember , crappie move in fairly large schools and catching one indicates that maybe 10 others saw your lure too . When casting for crappie in early morning, try casting as close to brush as possible , even inside . As the morning progresses , fish in front of the structure , only allow the mini- jig to fall deep , directly in front of the bush . As with bass , and most fish species , their eyes are sensitive to light and they move from bright to dark and onto the shaded side of structure . Always fish slow , sometimes barely moving the lure . Given the opportunity , try vertical fishing by using a controlled , slow drop –gentle rise---slow drop again technique . 99% of the time , crappie will "tap" your lure on the fall or you may even detect a strike by the line simply stop falling over deeper water . Remember , fish do not have hands---you feel a crappie strike , simply lift the rod tip . A good trick when casting is to use a meal worm on any mini-jig used , and the colors of chartreuse , bright flecks and two tone color combinations should be your first choices . This combination presents the fish with multiple color choices , scent and movement with the curl or multi- fragmented tail . Also , keep the weight as light as possible –1/16 best all around choice .<p> </p>Sometime in may the crappie move out of the shallows or where ever spring brought them , and they focus feeding on shad . Look for signs of shad pushed into shorelines or into small pockets or the back of coves . Look for the crappie on brushy points and around any kind of ambush structure . Use the mini-jig and meal worm combo and fish slow and cover lots of individual bushes . Fish as early as possible and as the sun brightly shines , fish those same brush areas deeper . Look for "twinkling" shad along the shore and fish slow and deep those areas . If you locate the crappie around deep brush , keep working that spot until they seem to stop biting , then change colors . This basic pattern for crappie will hold until fall , slowing a bit during mid-summer mid-days .
 

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This reads like a page from a book. Tell me about the shad in Prineville. That’s some info Icould use.
I agree, it's just a general blanket theory on fishing/crappie... and doesn't really relate to Prineville. Not saying it doesn't work, or that it isn't a good starting point; it just seems these last couple years the crappie haven't read the books. I've caught them on everything from 1/64oz crappie tubes, to 5" jerkbaits. Everywhere from brush on the banks to suspended in the middle of the reservoir.
 

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My kid caught quite a few last yr. While they were all pretty small, he made some tacos that were to die for !!
 

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There sure has been a lot of interest in crappies lately and Prineville in particular. Prineville has transformed into more than a decent fishery for bass and trout as well. Where is the crappie population going from here? Are there shad in Prineville? Are they a major food source? Can this fishery get better? Can it maintain? Should be good this year then???
 

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And when do they start? I never fished Prineville until June 12th last year, when I went out to learn how to catch crappie on a fly rod. I did nicely with the crappie, and had great fun with the bass and a few trout as well.

It seems the bass were still in my zone mid-July, but the crappie had moved deeper, and the water skiers ran me out. I'm looking forward to a lot more days out there this year, and am wondering when the crappie wake up and roam.
 

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And when do they start? I never fished Prineville until June 12th last year, when I went out to learn how to catch crappie on a fly rod. I did nicely with the crappie, and had great fun with the bass and a few trout as well.

It seems the bass were still in my zone mid-July, but the crappie had moved deeper, and the water skiers ran me out. I'm looking forward to a lot more days out there this year, and am wondering when the crappie wake up and roam.
If I remember right, June was when weather was warm enough to bring them up. They go way up in the river past the resort in the willows and coves. Guys anchor up in the coves.

I’ve caught way to many free drifting small jigs. Let out 75 of line or so, turn motor off and the wind pushes you. Off the state park ramp heading west there were boatloads. I’ve caught some trolling for trout. They are just so small, just like most of the small mouth. I’ve see big crappie caught, right off the fishing pier at the state park.
 

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I don't remember what month it was, but I was trolling flies for trout last spring, early summer, and caught 50 of the little buggers in 3 hours. If they were a couple of inches longer, it would have been fun, but they were pretty small, but there were a ton of them. I only caught one trout, but could not keep the crappie off long enough to get hits from the trout, at least that is my excuse.

I was trolling an intermediate fly line behind my float tube with a green and brown streamer about an inch long. I really don't think it would have mattered what fly i was using. Also caught them stripping the fly in fairly slowly.

There were a ton of them in the bay just west of the boat launch near the dam, then around the shoreline towards the dam. Not as many as I got closer to the dam.

Hopefully they are bigger this year.

Scoutdog
 
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