The White Iron chain of lakes can offer some excellent crappie fishing.
Winter crappie fishing has been very popular here for many years, but spring and summer crappie fishing can also be productive. Crappie's tend to school up, so once you find a crappie their will likely be several others.
Crappie are fairly active year round, but the hottest times to catch them are in the spring and fall months. Crappie generally start their movement out of their deep water winter haunts when the water temperatures start warming towards the 45-50 degree range. They will congregate around the entrances of creek channels until the water temps reaches around the 50-55 degree range. Then you can expect them to begin migrating towards the shallower secondary creeks and bays.
When water reaches in the 55-60 degree range, the males should be in shallow water looking and fanning out spawning beds, while the females stage out in the closest deeper water structures. Crappie feed more aggressively and baitfish are more active as spawning nears. Try dropping a minnow under a cork into the spawning bed for males. Use a cast and slow retrieve your bait for the deeper females.
As a general rule, surface temperatures in the 62-65 degree range are almost perfect for shallow, spawning crappie. During the pre-spawn period, they usually nest when the water temperature reaches 62-65 degrees.
Summer and Winter present the greatest challenges for crappie anglers. Once the spawn ends and the water temperature warms, crappie will move and often suspend in deeper water, where the water temps are cooler. They will move to shallows to feed at dawn and dusk.
When the water starts to cool in the fall, they go on a feeding binge to fatten up for the winter. When water temps fall in the mid-40's range, they will migrate back to deep water in the main lake.
The biggest key to catching crappie is, ALWAYS REMEMBER.... crappie are fish that love structures, so key in on areas with prominent cover. Concentrate on cover such as brush piles, stumps, fallen trees, rock piles, humps, or any other submerged cover. Vertical jigging is a great way to fish these structures. A 1/32 oz. or 1/16 oz. jig tipped with a wax worm dropped in a brush pile and twitched will produce many fish, as well as a minnow dangling with a bobber. Adjust your bobber or vary your retrieves until you established at what depth the crappie is holding at. Once you catch fish, continue to fish at that depth.
Once you understand the crappies' behavior and habits, chances are you can catch them anytime, anywhere.
Our guides specialize in guided fishing trips for crappie, walleye and many other fish found in the northern Minnesota. For the ultimate fishing experience we recommend the Grand Slam fishing package, which offers three full days of fishing. With three days you will have the opportunity to fish multiple lakes for various species in the area. For more information about our professionally guided fishing trips visit our Guided Fishing Packages page.
Minnesota Fishing Licenses are available at our lodge and various retailers in Ely. Licenses are also available online through the Minnesota DNR. Walleye stamps are also available, but not required to fish for walleye.
We encourage catch and release and are happy to provide you with recommended taxidermists for excellent graphite mounts.