Crappies, smallies, saugers…we got em all in NE!

Water Body

With 6 days off from work, I decided to hit some water this past week, and what a week it was. My step-dad and I headed out Wednesday to a stretch of the canal in search of flatheads. We struck out, but did find some new water we’ve been talking about for a while. We managed one small channel, and picked up some nice white bass pulling a few cranks. Not the best day. But Thursday was a totally different story.

My friend Sonny came out from GI and fished with me on Thursday, and of course as soon as we got on the water, the rain started. It never really got heavy, and I’m glad we stayed out on the water. We fished an area that I don’t really fish very often, but probably will be from here on out. Sonny is much more of a bass guy than I am, and he was pulling in a few smallies. I hit an area with my crappie jigs and found quite a few crappies and smallies hanging out together in the same area. I caught 44 crappies and 11 smallies, and Sonny had probably another 15-20 crappies and around 20 smallies. Many of the crappies were dark, like they were close to their spawn. We’re a bit late for that, so I found that interesting. It was a great morning that was capped with me finally getting the Master Angler smallie I was after. He went 3lbs 1oz and 18 1/4", not bad at all for Neb.

We then fished a different area of the canal and got into the crappies on the first cast. After a bit of that, we started some trolling and it didn’t take long for it to pay off. I got a 20" sauger to match my dad’s from the week before, a real nice fish. MA is 21", so hopefully I’ll get that one day soon. We had another nice one come off the hook in the same area, and a while later, Sonny got a nice 18 3/4" saug. Throw in a few crappies and white bass, and the trolling was a pretty good time. We never did tie into a real nice crappie all day, but we sure tried. I caught around 75 crappies, 11 smallies, a sauger and a few whites. Sonny had probably another 50 crappies, some whites, a sauger and around 20 smallies. I wish every day could be like Thursday.

Friday was a bonus day for me as I fished with a friend of mine from Lex, Steve Hay. He was preparing for the Governor’s Cup walleye tournament at Harlan County Reservoir and asked me to prefish with him. We hit a few areas early in the morning in search of walleyes, and no matter what we did, we just could not hook up with a walleye. We seemed to catch about everything but; gills, LMB, crappies, tons of drum, some panfish….it was crazy. During the last part of our day we drifted a select area with crawlers and I felt a tap. I let him have it, felt a tap, set it, and the fight was on. I thought for a minute I had a flathead, but the fight changed and it proved to be a nice wiper, maybe the biggest one I’ve ever seen in person. The gut on this fish was just amazing, you could tell that he’d been eating very well. He measured in at 23 3/4", but was an easy 8lbs, it was just so fat. After a quick picture, he swam off just fine. Not what we were after, but it sure made our day.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us this week and we’ll be back out at it.


  1. Here’s a another pic showing how dark a lot of the crappies were. The other is a sunfish of some sort that we caught down at Harlan, I’m still trying to figure out what exactly it is. Notice the bright orange on the tips of his fins and tail. The picture doesn’t really show how bright that orange really is. I do know they are aggravating to catch when you’re walleye fishing.

  2. That there would be a green sunfish, pretty sure. You caught that out at Harlan in open water? We caught some nice hen blugills out on the north pipeline drowning cralwers one night. Suicidal little things.

    Anywho, you can’t beat bluegill or green sunfish for wiper bait. The problem is coming up with numbers of them in the body of water you are fishing. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks Pullin and Daryl, I appreciate it. I replied last night saying that I was leaning towards what you said Pullin, but my post didn’t go through. I thought maybe there was some spawning goin on, but wasn’t sure. Getting them down 15′ in rocks was kind of a surprise. I was waiting for the flathead to hit if those greenies were in there…maybe next time.

  4. +1, moz def.

    You can tell green sunnies and hybrids because they have that “glowing halo” on their fins. Unique to greens.

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