Spring is a good time to get rid of winter blues with some fishing action. Crappie fishing really puts fillets on the table and heals the soul dimed by winter.

Of the two crappie sub-species the White Crappie prefers the larger more open water. Both the white and black sub-species will suspend in relation to the points, sunken islands, bars, creek beds and debris. Both can and do inhabit the same waters.

Early in spring the fish feed constantly. They bulk up for the spawn. When the air starts warming fish move to colder parts of the water. They are somewhat lethargic and are tougher to catch.

Both species have roughly the same spawning habits, laying eggs in water 3 to 8 feet in depth, once temperatures near the mid-sixty degree range near cover. Whites tend to like brush piles, bushes, or sunken logs. The blacks like reeds or other weeds. There is a great deal of pre spawn angling in main lake channels and bays due to warming water.

Deep creek channels are the key to cold water crappie locations. Begin by searching for likely summer holding areas and then back track to the nearest deep creek channel. Follow the channel to the best available holding area. It can be a considerable distance. Some areas are more promising than others. Wood in or near the deep water is best. Rock and sunken brush or weeds are excellent. Even stumps will do the trick. The more densely wooded places have the best chance of holding crappie.

If the bays or creek channels do not seem to have any wood available, either visible or hidden beneath the surface, try submerged points, bends and intersections. A good topo map helps here. Dark bottoms are good sources of fish. They get the early sun and hold warmth. Channels that dead end minimize current flow that draws off warm water.

Good bays should have no channels, or at least not adequate ones. If all else fails try the deep water and fish deep. Follow an old creek channel and pull up on deep stumps. There are many anglers who catch crappie out in 20 to 40 foot of water all year around.

Jigs are the bread and butter of crappie lures. A good assortment of leadhead jigs, in 1/16 to 1/64th ounce, in colors of white, black and yellow are basic tools of the crappie fisherman. Some of us are confirmed fishers of artificial lures and prefer red hooks on our lures. Black/chartreuse to watermelon/chartreuse, red/chartreuse and June bug/chartreuse are popular colors for lures. We cast them around trees and shallow grass. Then reel back the lure very slowly. The idea is to stay in contact with the cover at all times.

Try to stay over the top of weeds. Many of us like to use 1/8th ounce jigs but we tend to reel a little faster. That is where many people go wrong because crappie will not go down to feed. They are always looking up so you must keep the bait above them.  For those who prefer natural baits the basic is a minnow or wax worm.

Fishing for crappie in the warming water of spring is very productive. It is also a time to unlimber that old casting arm and get rid of the winter blues.


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