Kids and opener: Don’t forget crappies!
Recently, I loaded my daughters up and we headed to southern Minnesota. My plan was to trout fish, scout a few deer, and maybe make it to Winona for a day in the boat. The weather was miserable until Sunday, when a cold front finally blew through to the east and a calm, albeit chilly day, settled in.
With plenty of candy loaded up in their tackle boxes, we set out with minnows and nightcrawlers. I was hoping we’d find some sunfish shallow but it didn’t take much peering into the depths to realize that probably wasn’t going to happen given the lack of weed growth. So we switched gears and looked for wood.
The challenge with crappies is finding them, it seems. This gets more difficult the deeper they hold, or the more cover there is to ply. The lake we were on, didn’t offer much in the way of mid-lake cover, so we had it easier that way. And since it was so clear, we could see which deadfallen trees extended farther out into the water from the shore.
Wasn’t long before we set up on the first batch of timber that my bobber slipped under and I called one of the girls to come help me reel it in. After that, my parents and I would trade duties letting Jo and Lila catch not only the crappies, but the random male largemouth that couldn’t resist our minnows.
It was a good reminder to me that no fish is really off limits to kids. We tend to think that youngsters need sunfish, and that’s a great option, but when they aren’t where you need them to be there are plenty of other species to target. This time of year, that might just mean crappies and their nearly unquenchable hunger for minnows and their willingness to spend the days shallow enough to allow for a very simple bobber/sinker/hook setup.
That’s exactly what we found throughout the day with action fast enough to keep the girls interested in the fishing for a full four hours – which was awesome.
This weekend, if the walleyes don’t cooperate, try tempting the youngsters with the great slab chase.