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The heat of summer is now in full swing and so are them beautiful sunsets on the lake! If it wasn’t for my real job getting in the way I’d spend every evening on the lake watching the sun set, as I’m sure most of you would do the same. There is just something about the peacefulness about it that leaves you craving for more. The water calms from all the fun boats and bass boats racing to the next fishing hole! The sounds of nature come alive and relaxes your soul. Now I say all that, because that’s what makes me love summertime crappie fishing.

             Let’s be honest, fishing in the heat of summer can be rough and most of the time slow biting. We can still catch limits, they just take some time in most cases. The Crappie have moved into the summer pattern that they will carry out into the fall when lake water temps starts to fall.  I’m sure if you have read many articles or been around crappie fishing much, that when the water heats up and long summer days kick in all the crappie go deep or suspend in deep water…..and so that’s what you have, go deep fishing. That is true they will, but let me share what else they do.

    Have you ever hit the shallow flats and muddy water? Well you are missing out if you haven’t! As a tournament fisherman we learn to search for big crappie. During the summertime we fish a lot of flats that that standing timber or under water structure. During the summer Crappie relate to trees for cover. These Crappie will be caught on flats most of the time in 12 to 2 feet of water. Yes, you heard me right. As I’ve said before your bigger crappie will come from the upper end of the lake or furthest areas from the dam. The shad hatchlings are beginning to be visible on the flats and that’s a good indicator the crappie are moving in also.

    What methods do I use during this phase you might ask? Majority of the time, I will have one 10’ Jenko Kevin Rodgers signature series rod in my hand with a 1/8 ounce Thumper Jig. Black/Chartruse is an all time favorite. I will dip or Jig timber or structure. When fishing shallow on hot summer days, more times than not, I can catch crappie right off the bottom. They will basically bury themselves in the mud to stay cool and covered from prey. Crazy right? Go give it a try for yourself.

    I’ve said all above, because most generally, that’s what works and puts big slabs in the boat. Some days you knock the socks off them and some days it takes all you can do to put together a decent stringer! Here is the curve ball, HIGH WATER!!! With all the rain we have had, it makes fishing tough, but not impossible. We still catch them it’s just harder in most cases. The body of water expands and so does the cover. The crappie have the upper hand during high water scenarios. Crappie don’t like current, so when water is on the rise on upper end of lake they disappear, and some days make you feel like not one crappie is up lake. We will go fish down lake and it’s like fishing a whole new lake some days, catching a limit isn’t a problem. So, keep that in mind the next time the lake is on the rise.

    One more thing before I finish up this month’s article. I have a good friend that spends a good amount of time fishing below the dam and he had asked me to do a article about fishing down there. Being he has more experience than I down there, I asked him to put together a little something for you to read. Remember any day fishing is better that a good day at work and take a kid fishing.

    

    If you ever have any questions about fishing feel free to look me up on Facebook under Mark Drazba Jr.  Instagram crappiefishing_mark_drazba or email me at mdrazba@icloud.com.  I’d be happy to chat or just follow me on my fishing adventures. Crappie will bite you just have to find them! Don’t forget to take a kid fishing.    

Current Fishing below the dam

by Craig Warfield

    

    As mother nature continues to keep most anglers off the lake, there’s other areas you shouldn’t over look. What areas, one might ask is a common question. One of those areas is good Ol’Salt River. If an angler catches the timing just right, it can be very productive for catching Crappie and Walleye. Don’t let the high water and current scare you off. Focus on the current breaks, slack water and eddy’s. The main fish I like to target are Crappie and Walleye. The Walleye numbers are increasing and quality of the walleye are unbelievable for this small river. Some would travel many miles to catch walleye of this caliber and here they are right in my back yard. When fishing for Walleye I prefer you use soft plastics baits in a wide variety of colors. What I found to be most productive are pink and orange and white, green and white, purple and white and fluorescent green. Not every time you go out will you catch them, you will have to adapt and when you do find the pattern stay on it and the fishing can be lights out and at the end of the day you will have some tasty fish to take home!

-Craig Warfield

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