Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Written For Outdoor Gazette
September 17, 2007

A Crappie Time On The Wolf
By Joel “Doc” Kunz

As expected, the cool down has started the fall progression of fishing here in Wolf River Country. That is, white bass and crappie starting to show up along with more boats with out of state registrations. That’s good for business up and down the river and a testament to the quality of the fishing here in the fall. After all, tourism is an important part of our economy as is a healthy fishery. It’s a short burst of activity though as winter looms closely on the horizon and soon most of those traveling anglers will have their boats put away leaving the river to die hard river rats like myself. That’s OK, there’s enough competition in the fall for the best schools of walleye and there’s plenty of river around for everyone.

Same for the white bass and crappie fishing. Anglers should attempt to find their own school of active fish instead of crowding in to a small spot to fight for the bite. With 32 miles of river between New London and Lake Poygan, you would think that most would be able to find a tree or “hole” of their own to fish. Sure it might take a little gas, but the rewards are almost always worth the effort. Even now, I found white bass all the way to Partridge Crop Lake, crappie too. From the Rat river to New London we found crappie in almost tree we thought worth probing and white bass near most deep water.

The best trees seem to hold fish every year so I jump to a lot of known spots. Some trees were located over some pretty deep water but most were in about 12 feet. All we did was use our trolling motor to nestle up to the trees and drop a Lindy Timbr-rock jig tipped with a small minnow right down in the branches. The trick was to not set the hook to sharply, letting the crappie hook itself, then slowly guide the fish upward through the branches. Most of the Crappie we caught were nice thick backed fish of about 10 inches although we did catch some just a bit smaller. We also hooked a couple of much bigger fish but could not get them through the branches or deploy a net fast enough to land them. Fishing the edges with a bobber might have given us a better chance at those fish, but it didn’t matter, we were having fun.

We caught the white bass on the leading edges of some deep holes where we typically drift and jig this time of year for walleye. Much like the crappie, they were not huge, but filet-able for sure. Finding a place out of the wind this day was important and limited some of our fishing spots but it didn’t matter as we found active fish in every part of the river. Although we did not land any, we had a couple of strikes from northern pike as we worked spinner baits along some weedy and wooded shorelines. A couple of bite offs while jig and crappie fishing let us know that there were pike in the area and feeding, so we decided to give them a try. My partner thought a trailer hook on the spinner bait might help me hook one of the missed pike but I was having enough trouble getting it hung up in the lilly pads as it was. The small mouth bass we caught came from the same trees that we caught the crappie. Most were small but we did catch one that went about 1.5 pounds. Had we bulked up our presentation and concentrated on fishing the trees, we may have caught a few nice ones.

All in all the fall fishing is just getting started here in Wolf River Country. Bring a variety of tackle and get out and enjoy what the area has to offer. White bass and crappie fishing should continue to get better as the days shorten and the cool nights caress the river. Pretty soon the leaves will be changing and the walleye will be biting too.

Joel “Doc” Kunz
For Outdoor Gazette


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