White Crappie

Biologists have studied crappie for years, including where they grow the largest.  A study done in South Dakota of both white and black crappie found that they grow the slowest in small impoundments and the largest in big water such as natural lakes.

Although they grow the largest in natural lakes they density of the fish population was lower.

Some other factors influencing growth are water quality and other environmental factors.  Some of those factors are the age of the body of water, water turbidly and siltation.

Crappies tend to grow faster in clearer, less turbid, newer lakes with steep-sided shorelines.

Studies have found that crappies grow best during the months of July and August.  Two year old crappie completed 71% of their length growth during these months.  This seems coupled with the post spawn feeding.  These months were also the time when the fish moved around the most.  It is assumed they were moving in search of forage.

Consistently catching big crappie requires some flexibility and study on the part of the angler.  Most anglers have a set method of catching them and tend to stay with it even if the fish are not biting.  It is more important to vary the presentation until the fish find what they are seeking for dinner.  If jigs are not working then try tipping them with a minnow.  If one color is not working well, then try another.

It is beneficial to maintain a diary of your trips on the water.  Note the lake level, water temperature, water clarity, wind direction and weather conditions.  All these factors affect fishing for crappies.  You can add the depth at which you find the fish, location on the lake, bait or lure used and presentation that is most effective.

Learn to use your electronics.  Read the instructions and practice, practice, practice.  Used properly they paint a picture of the area beneath the surface.

Transpose information from the electronics to your GPS or a topographical map.  The later often shows creek channels, island humps, and water depth, all effective in finding fish.  Notes on these things tend to be helpful as the fish repeat their habits at different times during the year.

Crappie fishermen need and want to study their quarry.  If fish are in a certain spot, we need to ask why it is the case.  What is it that attracts them to this spot at this time of year?  Certain times of the year, for instance during the spawn, they are found in certain situations.  Knowing this, anglers have an edge on the fish.

Finding big crappie is not impossible.  It just takes some work and a willingness to move from unproductive water.  The old adage that 90% of the fish are in 10% of the water seems to ring true with crappies.




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