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Swan Island bass/crappie?

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  • Swan Island bass/crappie?

    I've been fishing Swan Island for sturgeon some time now but I hear a lot about good numbers of bass and crappie being caught in the area. I'd love to learn a few pointers on how to successfully catch these fish in the area. Especially crappie; I've never caught a crappie on purpose and have no idea how to target them. Are you supposed to fish close to shore by the brush? Or by where the ships are in deeper water? Same for bass; I've never had much confidence fishing for Willamette bass because there's such an overwhelming array of lures that I don't know where to even start, let alone know how to effectively fish the area. If anyone has any pointers that would be awesome!

  • #2
    I saw a guy Bass fishing from a boat just downstream from Swan Island, he was close to shore. Don't know what he was using.


    • #3
      While don't particularly target bass, I have caught plenty of them while fishing for Crappie, one of my personal favorite fish.
      Part of the reason for that is that they are both types of sunfish and have very similar feeding behavior.
      Both are ambush feeders so you're gonna find them in areas with structure they can use for concealment.
      And while Bass will school at times, crappie are almost always school fish. So you tend to find them in numbers when you find one.
      Crappie tend to have a feeding or what could be called 'pecking' order. They tend for the largest fish in the school to feed first. So,
      if you're catching good sized fish and they start getting smaller it's time to find another structure to fish.
      Crappie will hang tight to brush if it provides them with cover and visibility to the surrounding water. They will also use pilings and bridge footings to hide close to.
      Almost anything will hold crappie and bass so don't overlook that tree branch or big rock or the old ferry crossing posts.
      Another thing is that for both crappie and bass, if you find a structure that holds fish, a school of crappie or one or two bass, there's a good possibility the next time you fish that area, there will be more fish to be had there even if you removed them the last time.
      I often troll the edges to find schools of crappie using lure like the Manns Crappie Killers, ( these are smaller versions of shallow diving fat bodied bass lures so they tend to draw strikes from Bass as well) colors like always depends on water conditions and sun shine. I suggest at least 4-6 different color patterns. Once fish are found my favorite technique is lead head jigs with twisty tails, normally in smaller sizes.
      Last edited by plumbertom; 05-12-2017, 11:14 AM.


      • #4
        This is an old Post of mine from another forum. I share it where appropriate.It mostly deals with lake fishing for Crappie but some of it is adaptable for fresh moving water. A tutorial on crappie fishing.

        The last dramatic event that factors into fishing during the spring and before summer arrives is the appearance of the shad . The shad schools hold the highest probability of predators of all species due to the mere size of the bait fish , the oily scent for tracking and the much higher food value in the shad . All lake species will target shad schools and vast expansive areas of shad may be herded around like cattle by the bass , crappie , stripers or even catfish , squawfish and carp . These huge schools keep deep for the winter months , staging over humps , deep points and suspended over deep water , but reappear late spring around coves , off points and around grassy shorelines where their reproductive needs are met . Shad schools balled up tight together are in a defensive posture and the ball design is their defense mechanism . Seeing the "bait ball" tells you that predators are active and possibly cacheable . However , the predators may be catfish , bass or any lake species since shad is the primary food source . Now is where the fishing comes in .

        The shallows become the muddiest or most colored waters , where as most of the rest of the lake may still be crystal clear . Darker water ,or especially muddy waters , warm fastest and hold that warmer temperature longer , as do rocks on rocky shorelines . Off colored waters are most productively fished with chartreuse or chartreuse combination spinner baits , fat bodied crank baits , full size plastic worms , lizards and brush hog type plastic baits that crawl or hop slow over the bottom and around shallow structure . Rattle back type jigs with a bit of chartreuse tipped skirt or with a large craw trailer can also be deadly in this situation . Revisited from years ago but becoming again popular in the rocky shore lined lakes , is to rig a _ to _ ounce football head jig with a wide gap hook, dressed with a 5" skirted twin tail grub . This should be cast to a rocky shoreline and slowly "slid" down , not hopped , to deeper waters , allowing a slight pause , but always keeping a snug line . Try brown or melon colors . Otherwise always use the lightest weights possible in worm weights , or jig heads . In muddy or obscured vision waters , the bass primarily find food by sensing vibrations through their lateral line , homing in onto the prey and depending on actual sight the least .thus , bright lures , chartreuse and fire tigers , fat wide wobble bodies and noisy lures put fish into the boat . Cast to any structure , bush , lay down tree or a lone object on a baron shoreline . Cast into structure with the spinner baits and plastics . Fish as slow as possible---fish need to find the food before they can eat it ! Target individual bushes as opposed to blind casting everywhere , fish the coves and flat points . Although a solid top water bite has not yet started , buzz baits fished through shallows and parallel to shore and around bushes can produce some tremendous strikes . The feature behind the buzz bait is that it is thought to annoy the fish around bedding areas . Try bright colors over muddy shallows , black at low light conditions and white / chartreuse during the sunny day .

        For the crappie , first try early morning trolling the shallows. Troll the edge of the creek channels where deeper water comes up to much shallower and brushier bottom . Troll as slow as possible using 2" to 3" shallow diving minnow style lures in chrome or bright colors . As the sun comes out , change to chrome or shiny thin lures , actually scaling up the size to 4" to 5" . The bright sun reflects off the larger lures making them more visible from a greater distance . If you catch fish trolling , pay attention to your speed and direction and duplicate it on subsequent passes . Crappie gang up , so another option is to troll to find them , then stop and cast the area looking for more fish . Remember , crappie move in fairly large schools and catching one indicates that maybe 10 others saw your lure too . When casting for crappie in early morning, try casting as close to brush as possible , even inside . As the morning progresses , fish in front of the structure , only allow the mini- jig to fall deep , directly in front of the bush . As with bass , and most fish species , their eyes are sensitive to light and they move from bright to dark and onto the shaded side of structure . Always fish slow , sometimes barely moving the lure . Given the opportunity , try vertical fishing by using a controlled , slow drop –gentle rise---slow drop again technique . 99% of the time , crappie will "tap" your lure on the fall or you may even detect a strike by the line simply stop falling over deeper water . Remember , fish do not have hands---you feel a crappie strike , simply lift the rod tip . A good trick when casting is to use a meal worm on any mini-jig used , and the colors of chartreuse , bright flecks and two tone color combinations should be your first choices . This combination presents the fish with multiple color choices , scent and movement with the curl or multi- fragmented tail . Also , keep the weight as light as possible –1/16 best all around choice .

        Sometime in may the crappie move out of the shallows or where ever spring brought them , and they focus feeding on shad . Look for signs of shad pushed into shorelines or into small pockets or the back of coves . Look for the crappie on brushy points and around any kind of ambush structure . Use the mini-jig and meal worm combo and fish slow and cover lots of individual bushes . Fish as early as possible and as the sun brightly shines , fish those same brush areas deeper . Look for "twinkling" shad along the shore and fish slow and deep those areas . If you locate the crappie around deep brush , keep working that spot until they seem to stop biting , then change colors . This basic pattern for crappie will hold until fall , slowing a bit during mid-summer mid-days .


        • #5
          Thanks! That's all really helpful. I'll be sure to try some of those techniques the next time I'm on the Willy.