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Clear H2O

By Chip Leer

Try Tiny Jigs for Fall Panfish

When fall crappies and sunfish roam deep weed edges and structural sweet spots such as points and bars, fishermen adept at precisely positioning subtle presentations in front of fish’s noses can enjoy banner catches other anglers miss.

One of the best ways to reap the autumn harvest—and indeed, catch panfish anytime they favor deep habitat—is working a small jig on a modified three-way rig similar to those used by walleye anglers.

It’s a simple yet deadly setup. You’ll want to keep the jig in or close to the sonar cone, so leave the long rods in the locker. I favor a 6’-3” medium-light spinning rod such as 13 Fishing’s Muse Gold (http://www.13fishing.com/muse-gold/), strung with 6-pound Bionic Braid (https://shop.northlandtackle.com/line/bionic-walleye-braid/).

Tie a three-way swivel to the end of the mainline, then add a relatively long dropper (say, 24 inches) of 4-pound BIONIC mono. A 3/16- to ¼-ounce dropshot weight should do the trick on the tag end. Tip: By adjusting the weight’s location on the dropper, you can raise or lower the jig in the water column to position it slightly above the level of the panfish.

Biologists Offer Snapshot of Area Lake Populations

By Louie Stout

Biologists Offer Snapshot of Area Lake Populations

About the time most anglers were having dinner earlier this year, Indiana district fish biologists were launching their research boats and going to work.

Late spring and summertime lake surveys are a big part of the job for fish managers and Indiana DNR District Biologist Tom Bacula is no exception. He and his assistant have spent a lot of time on area lakes doing routine assessments of fish populations.

These surveys are done with either nets or a shock boat that idles near shorelines with electric probes dangling into the water. The generator-powered volts are just enough to stun fish and bring them to the surface. They are netted, counted, measured and a few scale samples are scraped from their sides before they are returned safely into the lake.

Bacula has surveyed several lakes this summer and his preliminary results show Fish Lake near Walkerton might be the best, especially for panfish.

(Provided by MDNR)

Randall Chain a Good Choice for Redear Sunfish

Looking for redear sunfish? You might try Randall Chain of Lakes.

There's no shortage of fishing access for those living in or visiting southwestern Michigan. Craig and Morrison lakes - part of the Randall Chain of Lakes in Branch County - can be included on the list with a group of seven interconnected lakes that cover nearly 1,100 acres.

Located near Coldwater (population of nearly 11,000), these lakes are just a quick trip for those traveling from Indiana or Ohio and there's plenty of panfish, bass, yellow perch and northern pike to target.

Craig and Morrison lakes are the two northern most lakes in the Randall Chain of Lakes. The Coldwater River flows into the southern end of the chain and exits out of Craig Lake.

Craig Lake specifically covers 122 acres and has a maximum depth of 25 feet. It has several islands and more than half of the lake is less than 10 feet deep. Morrison Lake is larger at 288 acres with an average depth of 21 feet and a maximum depth of 46 feet.