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Whether targeted for fun or for the table, panfish please most anglers– especially lunker crappies and hand-sized bull bluegills. Fall is a great time to catch them, but with variables like changing vegetation, cooling weather, turnover, and fall bait migrations, how do you crack the code for consistent success?

We asked four of the nation’s top panfish specialists five questions about fall crappie and bluegill fishing. Their answers will help anyone become a more successful fall panfish angler.

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The swimbait is a lure type that has gone from trophy hunting bass anglers to something used for many different species, including walleye. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be fished all year long, making them some of the most versatile lures used today.

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New Tackle for 2022

Everyone is throwing bladed jigs these days so sometimes you need to give the fish a different look and sound.

The downsized Chatterbait MiniMax has a downscaled hex-blade and other componentry, but it has the punch to handle big, tough smallmouth, spotted and largemouth bass.

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KVD: How to Manage Fall Turnover on Northern Lakes Kevin VanDam: Clear Water Spinnerbait Tactics
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Monitor fishing and hunting news from the Michigan DNR, Indiana DNR and national sources. If it's happening in the outdoors, you can read it here.

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By Louie Stout

It’s no secret that Juno Lake near Edwardsburg is a good fishing lake. Bluegill and bass fishermen love it.

The Michigan DNR paid a visit there last month to see just how good it is.

“We hadn’t been there for several years, so we wanted to get a good look at it,” said Scott Hanshue, fisheries management biologist.

The fisheries crew set large and small nets to capture young of the year bluegill, forage, non-game fish and whatever they might encounter.

They also ran a shocker boat around the shallows at night. The shocker boat has long electrodes to put out enough juice in the water to stun fish to the surface where they can be netted, measured, scale samples taken and released.

The survey included connecting waters of Christiana and Painter lakes.

By Louie Stout

Gearhart’s Yum Dinger Trick for Big Smallmouth

Al Gearhart has learned a few things about big smallmouth in his annual spring trips to Lake Charlevoix.

His credentials speak for themselves. He's caught four smallmouth bass over 7 pounds from the lake and numerous 5s and 6s. And yes, he releases all of the big bass he catches.

Charlevoix is a "drowned river lake," meaning it is an inland lake with access to Lake Michigan. It's also Michigan's third largest lake.

Gearhart has made trips there each May for 16 straight years. Although he's noticed that the giant smallmouth have been harder to come by the past couple of years, the quantity and quality of fish he catches are still pretty darn good.

He usually targets the East Bay and fishes the windy side of the bay, keeping the wind to his back. Smallmouth like the wind, he says.

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