Fishing the Crib on Oxbow

My sons and I have been fishing oxbow lake for over 41 years. Look to this article “Fishing The Crib On Oxbow”. In it we share tips on locations, bait, tackle and techniques that have been productive for us over the years. We hope you find them helpful.

Finished Fish Crib

Purpose of a fish crib: What is a fish crib? It is a man-made object (see picture), made of rocks (for weight) and logs. Its purpose is to add cover (structure) for young bait and game fish to hide. Since most fish relate to some sort of structure ie, shoreline, rocks, weeds, sunken timber etc. The crib acts as a “safe house” for young and vulnerable fish; a place for small fish to grow to big fish. However, it doesn't take long for the wily predator fish to locate this fine “dining table”. All species of predators seeking forage find the crib quite attractive for a quick meal. It is a fish magnet. Thus, the oxbow crib is another contributor to nature's natural process.

What tackle to use: Use light line 6 or 8 lb test and a #8 or #10 hook without a leader. Use the smaller hooks to lessen the chance of hang-ups, and the light line for easy breakoff if you do hangup. Fishing light minimizes the loss of tackle and permits the user to feel the light walleye bite. If fishing with jigs, use the weedless kind. Use open or closed faced spinning reels and light or medium action 6 to 7 foot rods. You can land a 28” walleye with a #8 hook and 6lb test line if you have a good rod and reel combo. If you are dedicated to fishing with artificial baits, I suggest you fish only near the crib, but your risk of hang-ups becomes greater.

What bait to use: Live bait seems to work better on oxbow. The general rule is, minnows in the spring and fall, crawlers and leeches in the summer. We recommend having minnows, crawlers and leeches available since you never know which will work best. Vary your presentation and stick with the one that works best. We have been successful with minnows all through the season. When fishing artificial, minnow type baits (rapalas) would be the preference.

What techniques to use: Approach the crib with caution so as not to spook the fish. Fish along all sides of the crib and over its top. Be patient. Try all your live baits ‘til you find the ones that work, vary the depth of your presentation. It may take time for the fish to find you. Try different times of the day; evenings and overcast (low light) times are best. This suggested method of presentation is also effective when fishing other structures, especially downed timber and areas of heavy weed cover. Slip bobbers are an effective and safe presentation as you can adjust the depth to fish above and along-side the crib with a better chance of not snagging. Don't be discouraged if you do snag, just re-rig and keep fishing.

Where is the crib located: The crib is located in serenity aka peaceful bay which is on the northeast side of the lake. Find it with your electronics (fish locater) or gps by using coordinates n 46 degrees 14.770”, w 089 degrees 40.476”. It is located in an area where there is little or no structure in 12 feet of water with approximately 6 feet from its top to the lake's surface. Drop a marker buoy on top to mark its location, back off and fish accordingly.

We hope this will be helpful to you. There will be days when you won’t get a bite and there will be days when you will take your limit. Remember, the fishing is always good... The catching sometimes isn't!

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