Area crappie club ready for spring bite

fisherman holding crappie
Crappies are often the first bite of the season and the preferred catch for members of the Ohio Crappie Club. (Submitted photo)

Crappie fishermen will have to get up pretty early if they want to be involved in one of Northeast Ohio Crappie Club’s upcoming spring and summer tournaments.

The first of several public contests is set for April 9, at West Branch Reservoir, with a one-hour registration beginning at 5:45 a.m. and launch at 7 a.m. If that seems early, it is, but that’s what contest fishing is all about, so that contestants can get a good day of fishing in before the 3 p.m. closing bell.

Everyone with a fishing rod is aware of bass and walleye tournaments, and often associates those contests and entrants with big boats, TV smiles, and plenty of sponsor clothing, hats, shirts, and everything else that spell “gotchya” to trophy fish.

Big crappie

But here is something for the everyday angler who thinks he or she can catch a few big crappies that might be as big as or bigger than other contestants catch and therefor worth boasting rights and a couple bucks at an afternoon weigh-in.

Call it what you will, but crappies are about as blue collar as it gets ,and for the most part, so are crappie club members. Just a few years old, the Northeast Ohio Crappie Club is quickly growing in membership and events.

While organized and run somewhat like all fishing tournaments, the club’s events lack the stress and high level of competition that goes along with the higher profile national bass and walleye contests.

Sharing ideas

That’s not to say entrants don’t care about winning, but according to club organizers, it seems to be the consensus of members, that club membership and local tournaments are more about sharing methods and techniques than beating another team.

Information about the club and events in your area is available online at, or call Dan Elko at 412-721-0372, or Bob Elko, at 440-724-2177.

Coyote program

The Leetonia Sportsmen’s Club’s annual coyote program is set for March 19, and includes a hunting seminar by Extreme Predator Hunt speaker Jorden Susewitz, an active outdoorsman and award-winning predator caller. Susewitz is especially skilled with a mouth diaphragm and will share his knowledge. The seminar will begin at 7 p.m. at the club grounds in Leetonia. Cost is $10 for adults.

The club also sponsors a weekend coyote hunting contest. For details, contact Bill Harding at 330-822-0100, or email him at


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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