First crappie outing of the season


Active Member
I visited Lake Leo today to see how the crappie are doing this year. They are as numerous as ever and as easy to catch. I only wanted to catch about 20 so I didn't have too much filleting to do but overshot my mark when I lost count. The weather was bloody awful. It hailed then rained and then hailed again but the second time more seriously, putting almost a half inch of ice in my boat and turning the ground white.

The fish are a decent size and will fillet easily. They were delicious last year so I expect the same again this year. This would be an excellent lake to take some kids to that just want to catch a fish. I went directly across the lake from the boat launch and anchored up in about 12' of water and cast towards the shore. Fish where everywhere within 30-40' of shore but out deeper-nothing. The storm shortened my stay to about an hour but I'm pretty sure that if I had a chance to move around I could have found fish in many areas. Lots of protein in there. For those of you that haven't eaten beer battered crappie fillets they are the filet mignon of the panfish world.

The lake has dropped this year and the boat ramp is actually visible for a change. I think the beaver dam that has been keeping the water so high has been breached because the water is so much lower than it was on opening weekend. I hope it stays low since it has been such a pain not to have a boat ramp. The next lake upstream-Nile Lake-has a dam that has really screwed up the launch area. Last year they did a lot of work on the road down to the lake finally getting rid of the big mudholes and wallows that were in there but in what was truly a brain fart they stopped the gravel about 40' from the launch! Why bother?

Sounds like a nice outing. The more I read about crappies and other panfish the more I am drooling over my keyboard. I wish I knew of a place around my area to go pick up a mess of em to give them a try. Sounds delicious.


Eric B

Montana hillbilly
I heard that Liberty Lake east of Spokane was great for crappies right now. 10-13"!!! A few years back I kicked my float tube all the way to the SW side of the lake near the rocks and caught a bunch on small green nymphs. Let them sink and retrieve nice and slow.

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
Nice report. If you want to try something new, make a batter using rice flour, add a teaspoon of baking soda, mix it. Then add club soda to make the batter. Pat fish dry, dip in batter and add to 350 degree peanut oil. Cook briefly depending on the thickness of your fillets. Give it a try. I think you'll enjoy it.

Of course, it also helps to make a pot of cheese grits and some hushpuppies to go along with the fish. Cole slaw, too...

Glad you had a fun day with the crappies.


"Chasing Riseforms"
I don't know crap about crappie. But I sure would like to give it a try. How big do they have to be in order to make it worthwhile for a filet? I haven't killed a fish for so long that I can't even remember how to filet. But I'm ready! Nick Clayton--- Years ago I caught some in Long Lake in South Kitsap, but I don't know if they are still there or how abundant. Any special fly that is a no brainer killer?
You may try Square Lake near Port Orchard or Crescent Lake near Gig Harbor. I think Square is predominantly Bluegill though I've heard some say they've caught Crappie there. I know a few fisherman who actually target Crappie on Crescent.
I don't think Square has any crappie but then again I only went out once there to try for them and could only get bass and bluegill. Long Lake is also another lake you could try Nick. Toddr do you know if the crappie on Crescent are decent size?
Thanks for posting Ive. I grew up on crappie--just plain flowered and fried. Best fish there is. I took my daughter bass fishing tonight and she pulled in a 13" crappie on a Rapala, but I been itchin to get my 8 yr old boy into a good crappie hole with his fly rod. Blugill have been hitting real good on a fly I tied up the other night---black chenille body, on a #14 hook, with black marabou tail, like a woolly bugger, and marabou tied in all the way up the back like a mohawk. ( I don't remember what it's called, but I seen a picture once and tied it from memory). Anyways, I want to try it on crappie.

I used to only be able to catch them on Long Lake (Spokane river) the last 30-40 minuts of daylight, but it sounds like you been fishing them during the day???
That may be what it is. I tied a tail sized clump of marabou under each wrap of chenille all the way up the top of the hook to the eye....oh yeah...I weighted it with lead wire wraps under the chenille too.

Granted, bluegill will bite on about anything you throw at them, but the way that fly looked in the water seemed to be the closest match to the little rubber skirted mini-jigs I used to fish crappie with.