If your favorite lake or pond is sparse on cover, you can make some improvements that will enhance both the future of the species as well as your spring harvest.
Crappie fishermen, who want to increase their odds and decrease time spent prospecting, only need to plant a few trees. Take discarded Christmas trees or landscaping castaways, and create your own cover. Simply tie a concrete block to the base of the tree to anchor your cover. Use polypropylene rope, which will last longer underwater. Next tie two one-gallon milk jugs (with the lid secured tightly) to the top branches with a short rope. You can minimize the presence of the jugs by filling them with water, colored with environmentally safe food coloring, that matches the lake's water color. Anchor the tree deep enough that it will not become a navigational hazard. The tip of the tree should be at least four feet below the surface.
To maximize your efforts, and have fishing from both sides of the boat, you should plant several trees approximately 50 feet apart. This distance will allow you to anchor between the two groups of trees and be within easy casting distance to either group. A good sonar unit will enable you locate your trees in the right depth of water and will allow you to anchor at exactly the right spot each time you return. Mark your spot with an icon on your sonar, or line up two points on land to cross reference the location if you're flying blind.
If the lake you want to "landscape" is a public lake, you should check with the appropriate authorities before doing any planting. Given a few weeks to attract baitfish and crappie, you'll be ready to bag some crappie in your "honey hole".
Frank Ross grew up on a lake in Florida, where fishing and hunting were second nature. He has pursued his passion from the jungles of South America to the northern reaches of the Arctic Circle and most points in between. With a background in newspapers, the wire services and magazines that began in 1970, Frank brings a unique perspective to his work with Cabela's. He is an award-winning photographer with a flair for getting to the bottom line of every story.
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