Rice-A-Roni Crappies

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Of all the hot zones where crappies gather during the annual spring feeding blitz, one of the most overlooked lies under the noses of panfish fans across the North.

Standing beds of last season’s wild rice reliably collect prespawn crappies, along with bluegills and other plump panfish. Some of the best beds sprout in around 5 feet of water on soft bottoms, though depths vary depending on the water clarity of a particular lake or river.

To target Rice-A-Roni crappies, focus on open pockets within the bed where it’s easy to plop a fixed-float rig into the fray. While casting is an option, dipping float rigs with a long pole—stretching, say, 9 feet or more in length—reduces hang-ups and simplifies the extraction of feisty slabs from a rice paddy’s tangles.
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Top bobbers include a size 1/16 Thill Crappie Cork, ½- to 5/8-ounce weighted Pro Series Slip Float, and a 2- to 2½-inch Mini Shy Bite, rigged in a fixed position.

Experiment with the depth setting to position the bait slightly above the level of the fish. Speaking of bait, a small minnow or pair of plump waxworms impaled on a Lindy FrosteeWatsit Jig or Fuzz-E-Grub work wonders on hungry spring slabs. Both the Watsit and Fuzz-E-Grub can also be fished sans the tipping thanks to their soft-plastic bodies. You can also fish a nose-hooked minnow on a plain hook with several split shot pinched on the line above the hook for ballast.

Wild rice beds attract crappies throughout the prespawn period, but tend to lose their luster once the spawn arrives and fish turn their attention to nesting over feeding. As the prespawn bite heats up on your favorite lakes, don’t forget to play the rice card for succulent spring slabs other anglers miss. – See more at: Lindy Land

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