The lake in the photo was always muddy and showed sign of having very few fish if any. A retired member volunteered to move bass and pan fish from an overstocked pond an did so 2 years ago. He has years of experience stocking ponds and managing their growth and reproduction. His feedback was the pond might be overrun with small bullheads that keep the water muddy, so he moved over 200 bass to the pond.
From a pond we stocked a few years ago.
This is Andrew one of the Association's most frequent fisherman. His picture is throughout the fishing section. He simply fishes every body of water he finds incidental to his fall hunting. He tells us it's not the fish, it is the time he has to spend fishing rather than something else.
From Andrew: "Wanted to share a photo of a stringer of crappie I caught from a remote pond discovered during the turkey season. It seems like every year I stumble onto a new spot or 2, but it takes a lot of work and time, that is work during the hunting season!"
We encourage keeping pan size crappie as they will over populate any body of water while encouraging catch and release on bass. After all it is the fishing fun we are after and not feeding our families.
And some bass...
Alan... Fishing success on MAHA property is very similar to hunting success. Those willing to put in the time and explore what's overlooked from the road will eventually stumble into fish and game of a lifetime. Once found, we are not interested in the exact location, but rather interested in knowing a particular area is producing what we have it leased for. These fish are a prime example of the results from a member willing to gamble and spend a day fishing an area that was not known to have quality fishing.
The Association owner and operator Jon Nee, left & below, takes a day or two each spring for fishing typically checking out the ponds stoked two to three years earlier. This is one such trip. All went back into the water.
Crappie fishing with MAHA consist of a wide variety of opportunities ranging from farm ponds, irrigation and watershed lakes, strip pits, rivers, streams, creeks and sloughs spread across thousands of acres of private leased land in Missouri, Kansas and Iowa.
During the early months of spring farm pond crappie fishing can provide a lot of action for the entire family. Fishing from the shore is the standard until the moss and vegetation begins to emerge. Once the vegetation starts to take, many use float tubes or chest waders to fish the outer edges of the cover.
The most productive farm ponds for crappies in terms of size are typically clear ponds with a heavy bass population and vegetation along the shoreline.
Keeping crappies and a few small bass for the frying pan from ponds such as these is encouraged to maintain a proper balance of fish, but as the water temperature raises Mid-June to the 1st of July the fishing tends to slow down, but picks back up again in September and October.
Irrigation and watershed lakes typically cover 5 to 15 surface water acres allowing the crappies more room to roam. When the fish are in the shallows spawning many anglers are able to catch a stringer of keeper crappies on a regular basis, but the spawn time frame is narrow.
As the weather warms up and the crappies move to deeper water the fishing is more of a challenge, but very productive if the fish are located around structure in 10 to 15 feet of water. We encourage members to help place crappie beds in the lakes during the winter months and many have done so with great results over the years. The more successful crappie fishermen use small boats and float tubes during the summer months, but those without boats still enjoy fishing from the shore and taking what is available, which sometimes might be a bass or 2 in the 5+ pound range.
Strip pits are recognized as some of the best water for trophy bass and crappie fishing in the Mid-West, but the degree of difficulty is much higher than farms ponds and lakes. Crappie fishing strip pits can be hit and miss since the majority of the pits have clear water and they are typically deep.
Strip pits are long and narrow with steep banks, which makes fishing from the shore a difficult task. A small boat with an electronic depth finder and trolling motor is the best method to successfully crappie fish strip pit lakes.
Strip Pit Crappie
Boat no bigger than car top or pickup bed size recommended for fishing the strip pits.
Strip pit crappies seem to become active earlier than the ponds and lakes. Many of the fish caught early, when the water is cool are large crappies in the 12 to 15 inch range. During the spawn, the females move to the shallows in the coves, but the process appears to be quicker than in the farm ponds and lakes.
Post spawn strip pit crappies typically congregate around the structure or drop offs from 10 to 12 feet providing good action throughout the summer, but the bigger crappies seem to suspend in deeper water separate from the schools of smaller fish.
We encourage catch and release on crappies 15 inches and larger. Many crappies over 15 inches have been caught over the years from of our strip pits, lakes and ponds, but the largest to date is 18 inches caught from a ½ acre farm pond.
Many rivers, streams, creeks and sloughs meander through to MAHA leased land, but the majority never sees a lure. These waters provide quality crappie fishing opportunities, but they are difficult to fish for the average fishermen. Several members have reported good luck crappie fishing the streams and creeks early spring after a rain close to the rocks.
The most exciting aspect of crappie fishing rivers, streams, creeks and sloughs is the variety of unknown fish that roam the waters with the crappies. Several years ago a member landed a 22-½ pound channel cat fishing a river with 6-pound line. A day he will never forget.
If you are looking for private land access to quality crappie fishing without having to compete with other fishermen once the word gets out the crappies are biting, MAHA has the answer.
Nothing is perfect...
An Otter. They have been increasing in numbers along with the Beaver and Musk Rat. The Otters are credited with decreased fish numbers and the Beavers and Musk Rats with breaches to water levees with den holes and by blocking spill ways. The cause for the numbers increase has been the consistently good habitat and the lack of trapping.
Can fishing ever be bad....
Crappie Rod & Reel
Those new to crappie fishing often ask about the proper equipment. In the case of the rod and reel for this fisherman who spends a good bit of time on crappie waters he uses the cheapest he can find. No rocket science for crappie and no need for expensive rigs.