Brute’s Bleat May 3, 2017

By the time this issue hits the streets the weather should be more conducive to angling, at least to people like myself who don’t like fighting the elements in a boat. Those who didn’t mind the wind and cold picked up limits of crappies, but I preferred to read about panfish angling. I came across a story in the April 24 issue of the Outdoor News by Terry Tuma who shared his thoughts about spring slab crappies. He said, “Crappies definitely suspend, but food locations strongly dictate where that occurs.
“Even though we had an early ice-out, crappies during April and May remain sensitive to noise, whether they’re in the shallows or deeper water. We can’t go cruising over the school with our massive outboards, then commence slapping the water with big lures. Do either of those things, and they’re gone!
“Black and white crappies alike can hear 100 feet away, so we’ve got to cast to them. So if you’re going to drop anchor, do it away from the concentration of fish, then always cast to the outside of the concentration.
“People often ask me whether they should use a marker buoy when they locate shallow or suspended crappies. If you’re going to use a marker as only a reference point, fine, but don’t toss it out in the middle of the school. With GPS as affordable as it is today, there’s really not much reason to splash around with a marker buoy (and alert adjacent anglers) if you can avoid it. Given a first choice, I’d mark the position on my GPS and work to stay in that location.
“Where they’ve located themselves in the water column may also affect how we approach these fish. Crappies definitely suspend, but food locations strongly dictate where that occurs.
“Here are a couple of good general rules: In darker and/or shallower water, expect suspended crappies. In clearer and/or deeper water, begin your slab search closer to the bottom of the lake. Light and the resulting position of zooplankton, a primary food source, are the driving force behind these rules.
“Time of day factors in here, too. Many anglers often assume that early morning is the best time to target these fish. But that generally good rule doesn’t always apply this time of year. Remember, warmer water is what creates activity, so the afternoon (the warmest part of the day) often will be the best time frame. Of course, that could also be the busiest time on the lake, and all that fishing pressure could drive the crappies back out to the breakline.
“Bottom line, there are many factors to consider all at once to find success. That’s the fun of fishing!”
Reading his story was almost as good as fishing, almost but not quite! As soon as the weather cooperates I’ll make an effort to put his hints to use and give you a glowing report of my success next week. Maybe there’s something to teaching an old dog some new tricks.
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Maple Lake’s American Legion Post 131 and VFW Post 7664 Color Guard recorded a first in the services they traditionally have provided for servicemen and women who have died. On Saturday they honored two brothers, Willard and Wilford Nelson, both Navy veterans, who passed away recently and were buried together. The Color Guard and four Navy personnel were present at the double burial ceremony at Annandale’s Woodlawn Cemetery where the two flags were unfolded and refolded in unison by the Navy’s representatives and presented to the survivors. The Color Guard honored the veterans by flying the flags, a traditional three-shot rifle volley and taps were played.
It was touching, even for this old Vet, and reminded me that Memorial Day is coming up fast, May 29th, when the American Legion Post conducts a program at the Community Park in Maple Lake. Both the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars have been receiving some good recognition as Memorial Day draws closer and now is a good time to remind you of the role both groups play in Maple Lake with the services they provide to the community. Both are interested in supporting youth and adult programs and without their support Maple Lake would have less to offer. Each organization can use more active members to carry out their programs and we’d like to invite prospective members and present members to attend the meetings. The Legion meets at their Post building on the second Tuesday of each month and the VFW meets on each third Wednesday of the month at The V. Times are 7:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., respectively.