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Favorite summer crappie fishing patterns

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The remaining days of summer are prime time for crappie. The Park Rapids region is fortunate to have an abundance of prime crappie waters. Greg Clusiau, crappie angler extraordinaire, raves about the lakes of our area. To be successful on crappie, late summer is a choice of Clusiau with deep cabbage weed lines. Ten to 12 feet of water is the magic depth. Prime fishing time is always when the sun starts touching the treetops, a time crappie will move to the outside of the deep weed edge looking for small minnows and insects for food. This proves an easy, effective and productive method.

"Nothing fancy is needed," Clusiau stresses.

"All you need to do is get a smallish lure in front of their face. Like a basic 1/32 or 1/16 ounce jig, tipped with a small twister-tail, never hurts to bring along a bucket of crappie minnows for added enticement. Color choices for the jig should include the basic whites, chartreuse and pink." Clusiau adds. "One long cast out behind the boat, then slowly troll it along the weed edge."

Lakes offering large short-weed flats are trolling magnets for crappie harboring catchable crappie all day long. Troll a chrome colored miniature crankbait with speeds in the one mile to a mile and half range. A depth sounder will help you stay in the 10 to 12 foot depth range. A personal favorite of Clusiau is a #4 shallow running Salmo Hornet.

"I like to troll this lure making repeated passes through the area," Clusiau says.

All time favorite crappie locations of mine are rock piles and rocky points surrounded by deep water. Early morning and again in evenings are the best. I realized how good these areas can be, spending time at the family's lake cabin. Rocky areas with 10 to 12 foot depth of water on top and surrounded by 25 to 30 feet of water depth attract feeding crappies that will cruise and hug the edges. At sunrise, I recommend focusing on the shaded areas of the west edge, and at sundown the shaded east side. At sunrise, crappie will start on top and work down in depth along the shaded break. Sundown crappie will start deep along the deep lip working upwards and shallower as the sun sets. My preference, a 1/16 ounce marabou jig, sometimes tipped with a minnow; other times just letting the fluffy feathers do the enticing. An all time favorite choice is a 1/16 white lead head jig for tail yellow marabou feathers and the body wrapped with red yarn. Lower the jig to the bottom and work it slowly, taking advantage of the stealthy quiet movement the electric trolling motor provides. Lift and drop the rod tip. On the downward motion let the jig just touch the bottom, immediately snapping it towards the sky with a short jerk of the rod tip, causing the marabou feathers to pulsate effortlessly - an action crappie can't resist.

Late summer crappie provide excellent fishing action while other species like walleyes slow down. Simple jig presentations or variations using a jig and minnow still are the favorites for crappie anglers.