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The Maple Lake Grind

The second UPL event of the 2017 season was held this past weekend on Maple Lake. Maple Lake is a 740 acre body of water located in the city of Maple Lake. Team YouBetcha! Outdoors was excited to be back on the competitive water with hopes of continuing their strong start.

Chris and Mike had never fished this lake before, so Saturday was very important in terms of locating fish. The team was thrown a curve-ball when Chris was unexpectedly scheduled to work on Saturday morning. As a result, Mike spent the morning alone trying to eliminate water. This process involves fishing all the spots that could potentially hold fish. In the first 4 hours mike fished a total of 12 different locations on the lake. The only place Mike was able to find fish was in the community holes. Chris joined the search at noon and the team went on to locate a few other options. If the pre-fishing was indicative of the tournament to come, the team was going to struggle.

Sunday morning came with less than high hopes. The team was in the 4th wave for take-off which meant they would be last to join the community holes. The team decided to start their efforts on a shallow water flat near the take-off point. Mike managed to catch a keeper gill in the first 10 minutes of competition. The next thirty minutes held no fish with the exception of a pike that snapped Mike’s line causing him to tie on a new jig. Chris decided to make a push for the corner of the lake. There were a few permanent fish houses set up in the area, but most were spearhouses. The team drilled a line of holes hoping to locate a pod of fish. Their hopes were met with great fortune as they managed to catch 8 quality gills and one 11 inch crappie.

Chris made the decision to move the team to the northeast end of the lake in search of crappies. They came to a small deep depression just north of the channel. Chris was able to catch 3 more keeper crappies while Mike caught a handful of 4 inch crappies. Another move was needed to catch 3 more crappies to complete the limit. It was now noon, and the next move was critical. The team pushed further north to find another deep basin. After drilling a line of 12 holes, they marked suspended fish over 25 feet of water. Again Chris was able to add 4 keeper crappies to the bucket while Mike caught more than his fair share of tiny crappies. By 12:45 the team had filled their 15 fish limit. In an effort to upgrade some of the fish, the team moved back to their starting location and fished the final hour their. They were able to upgrade one crappie in that time.

Chris and Mike with some of their catch.

At the weigh-in, there were mixed emotions as teams shared how their day went. Only 12 of the 30 teams were able to complete their limits. The top ten teams all had weights above 7 pounds. The team decided to weigh 8 gills and 7 crappies due to the above average size of gills. Chris and Mike finished with a 7.2 lb bag and 8th place. This has moved the team up to 5th place overall in the Team of the Year standings. The next event will be on Pokegama on February 12th.

Tips from the Pros:

  1. The Clam Drop-kick jig tipped with a 1” Maki Minnow proved to be the most consistent producer of the weekend.

  2. Maple Lake has a lot of steep drop-offs. This typically means the fish will locate in areas that transition more slowly. Look for flats as places to hold fish.

  3. When fishing shallow water, make sure to fish the entire water column. Don’t just drop your jig to the bottom. Instead, start jigging as you lower your bait down. This will give fish in the area a chance to see your bait sooner, and make a move to come get it.

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