Real fall-like temperatures arrived with a front Thursday and will be with us at least through the next week, according to weather reports. That’s good new for anglers who like to pursue panfish, especially crappies.
When it comes to crappie fishing, one thinks shallow in the spring and deeper in the fall. The same kinds of structure apply. Brush piles or bridge abutments in 8-9 feet of water can yield a bonanza of this tasty fish. In shallower waters, look for submerged trees or brush in the deepest water you can find.
I’ve long preferred soft plastics to minnows or other live bait when it come to catching crappies. I like a contrasting single tail, or Charlie Brewer Slider 2 inches long fished on a 1/16-ounce jig head below a slip bobber. You can fish these weedless by hiding the hook in the plastic. I begin fishing the lure about 2 feet and then vary the depth until I find the crappies’ strike zone. If the water is turbid, I fish the lure shallower.
When it comes to contrasting colors for plastics, there is an abundance of choices. My favorites are a blue/white and blue/yellow. There are times a red/chartreuse and brown/orange entice these fish. As for solid colors, white or pearl are excellent choices. Black or purple are good solid choices, too. They can work well in turbid water. Don’t forget to give a contrast with colored jig heads. I like an orange jig head with the blue/white. A chartreuse jig head on purple is another good choice. In cleared water, a red jig head and solid white work well.
These fish often stay in deeper water longer than other panfish – and they also tend to move around more as they target large schools of baitfish. Keep in mind that crappies will get less and less active as the water cools off and they slow down. You’ll then want to slow your presentation and offer smaller baits to keep seeing success.
In Limaland, Bresler, Ferguson and Metzger reservoirs offer good crappie fishing. Remember, they all have a 9-inch minimum length limit. Indian Lake and Lake Loramie also have good crappie fishing. Remember the channels and lily pads on Indian and look for submerged trees and brush on Loramie. On these waters, you may want to add minnows to your arsenal of baits.
* * *
A variety of new fishing and hunting licenses, including lifetime ones, are now available in Ohio.
These were enacted into law following the passage last summer of Senate Bill 257, which gives the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) the authority to sell multiyear and lifetime hunting and fishing licenses. Other new licenses are 3-year, 5-year and 10-year ones.
Prices for multiyear and lifetime licenses are:
$28.60 for a 3-year youth hunting license.
$47.58 for a 5-year youth hunting license.
$95.16 for a 10-year youth hunting license
$430.56 for a lifetime youth hunting license
$54.08 for a 3-year adult fishing or hunting license
$90.22 for a 5-year adult fishing or hunting license
$180.44 for a 10-year adult fishing or hunting license
$468 for a lifetime adult fishing or hunting license
$28.60 for a 3-year senior fishing or hunting license
$47.58 for a 5-year senior fishing or hunting license
$84.24 for a lifetime senior fishing or hunting license
Single and multi-year licenses may be purchased online at wild.ohio.gov and at participating agents throughout the state. At this time, lifetime licenses cannot be purchased at license agent locations. People must apply online or at one of the five DOW district offices for a lifetime license. In Limaland, the Wildlife District Two office is located at 952 lima Ave., Findlay, while the Wildlife District Five office is located at ?????
Youth multiyear and lifetime licenses are available to any Ohio resident 17 years old and younger at the time of purchase. Senior multiyear and lifetime licenses are available for Ohio residents age 66 and older born on or after Jan. 1, 1938.
Money generated from theses license sales will be deposited in the Wildlife Fund and will be used to protect and enhance wildlife populations in the state.
Another change calls for all nonresidents of Ohio to purchase a Lake Erie permit beginning Jan. 1, 2019. The $11 permit will be required of nonresidents who fish the waters of Lake Erie from Jan. 1-April 30. Money generated by this permit will be used for specified purposes related to the protection and improvements of Lake Erie, such as combating invasive species, securing public access and providing for fish management projects on Lake Erie.
* * *
Last Wednesday, the Ohio Wildlife Council approved changes to bag and size limits in certain bodies of water across the state. None of those waters are in the Lima area. But the main change likely will affect some local anglers who fish Lake Erie for black bass (Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass).
New rules remove the closure of the black bass season from May 1 through the last Saturday in June. A year-round black bass season will be in effect. Additional rule changes establish a daily bag limit of one black bass with a minimum 18-inch size limit from May 1 through the fourth Saturday in June. According to the DOW, this should help protect the fishery. Outside of this period, the existing black bass regulations of a 5-fish daily limit with a minimum size limit of 14 inches still applies.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL