By Dan Johnson

Lindy pro staffer and hardwater panfish guru Bob Bohland reports that predictable midwinter crappie patterns are finally taking shape on his stable of central Minnesota honeyholes.

“The basin bite is heating up, particularly at night,” he says, explaining that respectable numbers of crappies are gathering in depths of 12 to 20 feet over soft-bottomed areas, where food is becoming more abundant as winter progresses. “We’re seeing more aquatic insects starting to hatch in deeper water,” he adds.

However, Bohland notes that by day, larger crappies are patrolling shallower water along basin edges and weedbeds on the hunt for baitfish. “There are still schools of minnows around, which offer crappies more bang for their buck,” he says. “So during the day, a lot of the larger fish are moving up shallow to look for them.”

When targeting these shallow roamers, Bohland wields aggressive jigging presentations, including an orange Lindy Rattl’n Flyer Spoon and purple or blue Frostee Jigging Spoon, tipped with a brace of waxworms. “It’s all about the profile,” he says, noting not to discard waxies after a few fish have chewed them to a pulp. “A lot of times chewed up baits have better action and catch more fish,” he says.

Bohland’s jig strokes center on pounding and shaking motions that mimic struggling baitfish. “Slight movements are often enough to get a crappie to commit,” he says, adding that slowly raising the bait away from the fish can often turn lookers into biters as well.

When dealing with aggressive daytime crappies, Bohland often throws a small Lindy Darter into the mix. “Shake it and play with the action,” he says, explaining that these unique swimming hardbaits are perfect for targeting the largest slabs in any school. “Small crappies might pass up a Darter, but big, aggressive crappies aren’t shy about hammering it,” he says.

At night, Bohland sticks to jigging spoons in shades of glow. “Darters are best during the day, when the fish are feeding on minnows,” he notes.

He also reports that some weedbeds are beginning to die off, which is concentrating bluegills into the remaining stands of healthy vegetation. “If you know of a bluegill hotspot from years past that gets better as the season progresses, now’s the time to check it out,” he says.