Tag Archives: Vertical fishing

Follow the Migration for More Spring Crappie

BY: Don Wirth

THE TYPICAL SPRING CRAPPIE APPROACH is a no-brainer. You head for the backs of reservoir tributary arms, anchor, and drown minnows in sunken brushpiles, waiting for finicky spawning crappies to bite—all the while rubbing bows with scores of other anglers doing the same thing. Kentucky Lake guide Garry Mason (731-593-5429) takes a more proactive tack. He hits the water several weeks ahead of the crowds, casting lures along sunken highways that fat pre-spawn crappies travel to reach their shallow spawning grounds. It’s virtually the same strategy as that of professional bass anglers gunning for big largemouths in early spring. Soaking minnows is a meat-fishing game. Mason’s method, on the other hand, is geared toward those who’d rather tie into the crappie of a lifetime.

Chasing Spring Crappie From Florida to Canada

By: Matt Straw

If you planned on following the spring crappie bite from Florida to the far frontier in southern Canada this spring, sorry, you’re too late. I’m kidding. But I’m not. All will be explained as we track prespawn crappie movements from Florida to Canada, spotlighting unique and unusual tactics along the way.

Tactics morph gradually for spring crappies. The process unfolds over decades. Today, spider-rigging seems to predominate from the Atlantic to the Pacific along the southern tier of states. It’s been the primary tactic for so many and for so long it’s hard to remember things being done differently. What will the next transformation be? Some of the best crappie fishermen we know have a few suggestions.

10 Cold Water Crappie Tips

Bundle up because winter is the best time for crappie fishing.

During the colder months, schools of crappie gather together into larger groups, so once you find that perfect spot, you can literally sit back and catch one fish after another.
If you’re ready to brave the frigid temperatures to catch your limit in crappie, there’s some tried and true tips that the best anglers follow. Here’s our top 10 list:

Spring Crappie Primer

By Paul Cañada

Springtime crappie fishing is a longstanding tradition in the Lone Star State. Anglers begin venturing out at most fisheries in February and March, and at local fuel stations, buckets of minnows edge out breakfast burritos as top sellers.

Fishing a minnow under a slip cork for slabs can trigger strong memories of childhood days and times spent with dad watching that bobber dance. Neighborhood kids running home after school, grabbing their Zebcos and a bucket and pooling their change for a dozen minnows — these were common sights in the old days. For many anglers, the springtime crappie spawn remains an annual event.

Finding Crappie on Docks

You know the local lake that you spend all your time fishing? The one with all those houses that line the shore – the houses with all the boat docks? Those docks might be clogged with people loading and unloading boats and having all kinds of fun, but some of the best crappie fishing can be found directly below them at almost any time of year.

So what is it about these docks? It doesn’t matter what part of the country you’re fishing, if you’ve got crappie in the water, they’re bound be around these docks. Granted, crappie love certain docks more than others (wooden docks seem to hold more crappie than metal ones), but once you figure out which docks they prefer and what kinds of baits and tackle work best around this structure, there will be nothing stopping you from stocking the livewell with big slabs of crappie.

Spring Crappie Tips from a Legend

BY: Bob McNally

Sam Heaton, who has been around fishing all his life, spent 25 years as a crappie guide on Alabama’s famed Weiss Lake. In time, he moved along in his fishing career, and now he is one of the primary in-the-field men for MinnKota and Humminbird.

But Heaton still knows crappies, and he catches them across America like few others can. In fact, his instructional Crappie Fishing Techniques remains one of Bass Pro Shops’ best-selling DVDs of all time—more than 25 years after it was introduced.

Although spring is often heralded as the top time for catching spawning fish, Heaton believes that the true key to spring crappie success is understanding the subtle differences in spring spawning phases.

Water temperature sets up the drama. The optimal temperature for spawning varies according to lake size, depth, and water clarity, current (in a river), and other factors. But generally, crappies spawn when water temperature is between 57 and 65 degrees. Here are Heaton’s tips for catching crappies through all three spawning phases.

4 Pros – 4 Baits YOU Need to Use Now

By: Don Wirth

Bass are cold-blooded creatures, meaning their body temperature is the same as that of their surroundings. As the water temperature drops, their digestive process slows dramatically – according to “Bass Professor” Doug Hannon, it takes a bass about four hours to digest a meal in 80-degree water, four days in 50-degree water! As the water temperature plummets, the need for frequent feeding diminishes, and bass become exponentially less active. But then, if you’ve ever gone strikeless on a chilly early spring bass outing, you already knew that!

Bass pros and guides are on the water constantly, and must identify productive methods for catching bass when the lake water is frigid. Choosing the right lure is a huge part of this equation. If you’re having trouble scoring strikes when the water temp drops below 50 degrees, study what follows carefully…and heat up your next bass outing!

Follow the Migration for Early Season Crappie

BY: Kent Driscoll

“At this time of year, the crappie are starting their spring migration, moving from deep water, up the creeks and near the spawning flats to prepare for the spawn.”

A large number of crappie will be moving to the north ends, more specifically the northwest ends, of most lakes, because these areas of the lakes heat-up first. I primarily fish the four lakes in northwestern Mississippi – Arkabutler, Enid, Grenada and Sardis lakes. Right now the crappie will be branching-off the main river channels into the main creeks on the northwest side of each lake. They’ll follow these shallow creeks into the spawning bays. In these northwestern Mississippi lakes and others across the South, the water temperature is from 55-59 degrees in many of the shallow bays. This past weekend (mid-February) I was fishing for crappie, and found some 61-degree water. This water was 2- or 3-feet deep on the northern end of the lake. But the temperature in the majority of the lake was 56-58 degrees. Two different patterns are taking place right now in late February and early March: the male crappie pattern and the female crappie pattern.