Part Thirty-six

Feedback On Crappies

By Randy Fratzke


A few weeks back I wrote an article called "Crappies and Light Colored Flies" and asked for readers to let me know what flies worked for them. Well, as I expected, I definitely got a response and would like to share some of those responses with all of you. Maybe some of these hints and patterns will help you catch a few more fish.

Don Pendleton, who lives in central Illinois, over by the Terra Haute, Indiana border had theses suggestions: "We have found the estaz grub or minnow pattern either in yellow, root beer or especially white as a great material......We tie the pattern as follows: a small dumbell eye on a cheap Wal-mart gold minnow hook (they bend easy for getting out of the brush),, tie on a marabou tail,,, of same color as estaz body....wrap estaz all the way over the dumbell and tie off at the hook eye. Fishing....a slow steady retrieve at different depths catches more fish than erratic jigging.....set hook slowly and steady not a jerk. I also use your before mentioned white dry fly...many people think I am nuts when I tell them I can catch crappie on top water dry or small white cork poppers. (I've) caught a lot of crappie on black wooly buggers also, but the white or yellow gets tied on once we find them."

"We fish alot of old coal strip pits, limestone quarries and a few local farm ponds for crappie. I occasionally fish Mill Creek Lake and Lincoln Trail State Park near Marshall but mostly stay on the small waters in our float tubes."

BassFlyGuy, (Greg Hardig) has a few more suggestions: "I live and fly fish nearly year round here at Beaver Lake, Arkansas and am no stranger to catching crappies on the fly...two years ago I caught one 16" long on a white wooly bugger (size 10, gold bead head, weighted, medium white crystal chenille body, gray hackle palmered, gray marabou tail with a few strands of Flashabou or Crystal flash). I have recently tried (and tied) small jigs to cast with my fly rod (1/100, 1/64) with decent success. Obviously, springtime is the easiest time for me to catch them when they are more likely to be in the shallow water. I have (also) caught bluegill, black bass, small mouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, catfish and crappies on it here at Beaver Lake, AR (northwest Arkansas, Benton County).

Depending on how fast I want it to sink, I'll wrap lead wire around the shank (usually .030) in the tying process. When the white bass are schooling, I like to tie it on a Mustad 34007 saltwater hook in various sizes (match the hatch) which gives it additional weight.

Steve Haun of Sioux Falls, SD writes:
"My favorite is chartreuse and white Clouser minnows. I also tie a chartreuse marabou muddler. I use chartreuse deer hair and chartreuse marabou. For the body, I wrap the hook with red copper wire. I originally tied this for small mouth bass but found that crappie like it as well. I am originally from ohio and cut my flyfishing teeth on small mouths. I now live in SD and now fish primarily for trout and pike. Unfortunately, the streams in eastern SD are a silted mess so there isn't much small mouth fishing."

Okay folks, there's some more ideas on catching a lot more pan fish. It kind of covers the central midwest area. If there area others out there who'd like to add something new to catching Pan Fish drop me an Email . No attachments, please (I'm a little paranoid with all the viruses out there) but a good description of how you tie your favorite pan fish fly and how you fish with it will really help. Hopefully, in another month or so, I'll have my tying area "back up and running" and will tie up some of your suggestions and include the in future articles. I really appreciate your responses and I'm sure that others will benefit from your input. Thanks! ~ Randy Fratzke

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