Fishing Report: Slab crappies on the Rainbow Flowage
For the Tomahawk Leader
This week’s fishing report comes following a pretty successful trip to the Rainbow Flowage.
The Rainbow lies just east of Woodruff in Oneida County and is over 3,100 acres of Wisconsin River backwater. We accessed the flowage off of the Highway J public boat landing. Water levels have remained fairly high for this time of year on the flowages so access is good all over the Northwoods right now.
We fished the flowage on a crisp, sunny but windy day following a cold front coming through the area and knew we wanted to target crappies on this trip. But where do you start?
Crappies this time of year can be sketchy to say the least and scattered as well as usually suspended in deeper water. The cold front added another layer of difficulty. So, we relied on our electronics.
Our boat has a fairly nice locator on it but not by any means the top of the line or best unit out on the market. It does however have pretty good imaging and a side image view. So we trolled around with the bow mount trolling motor looking for sharp drop offs on the river channel edge just out from the boat landing and down river from there too. Eventually, and it didn’t take long, we hit a pocket of water that dropped from 6’ to 16’ in a distance of a cast or so. This looked like what we wanted to see, but where are the fish? Jigging didn’t seem to produce anything.
Then the electronics started to glow. What I would call “blobs” of fish started lighting up the screen, suspended fish at about 10 feet down. We immediately switched to slip bobbers and set them at that depth and tipped a plain hook with a crappie minnow. Bang! Fish on. Over the next hour or so we caught about a dozen 12- to 14-inch crappies out of this group until the “blob” scattered from our screen and we no longer were getting bites. Nice slab crappies.
We repeated the hunt like this several times, looking for other “blobs” of fish on the screen. Several times we found them only to start catching smaller size crappies. A different year class most likely, with no keepers to be had. We even had a group of perch that we ran into that were balled up the same way in a group like this; however, they were right near the bottom and not as suspended as the crappies were. The day was one of learning to read the locator and playing with our presentation.
All in all, the moral of this story is trust your electronics. They work. Oh and by the way, that dozen or so crappies made a great meal. Lightly breaded and seasoned, then pan fried in sizzling oil. Topped off with a hand muddled old fashioned was the perfect end to a great fishing day on the Rainbow.
‘Til next time, keep your line tight.