Nice Crappie Are Showing Up
Written by Doug Wynn - Published on April 5, 2022
Spring is slowly pushing the remnants of winter out the door. It can’t happen soon enough. Water temperatures are still yo-yoing from the low 50s to the mid-50s but the crappie are taking advantage of the warmer water to start their journey toward the spawning areas.
I started my guide trips April 1st after a winter of rehabbing from shoulder replacement and then cataract surgery. My shoulder is painless for the first time in a decade and my vision is the best it has been in years.
I’m having to experiment with sunglasses with magnifying cheaters and that is a new situation to work thru. I still need some help tying knots and changing lures but I’m pretty sure I have the combination I need. Getting old is not all fun and games.
I started out trying to catch crappie by using a power trolling technique with heavy weights because as the lake level slowly rises, the shoreline trash ends up on the surface and water column and this makes pulling light-weight jigs a challenge to keep the lines clean.
A good fisherman will always have a back-up plan when he hits the water and the tactic of choice isn’t working. My back-up plan just happened to be pulling crank baits.
We put out the cranks and immediately started catching fish. This also attracted a horde of other boats to our vicinity. I have always considered myself to be a social person and yes, everybody on the lake has the right to fish anywhere they like as long as it is legal, but being crowded out of a spot where we are catching fish is very low on my list of things I enjoy. I bit my tongue and moved to less productive waters.
I fully understand that tourists spend a lot of money in our area and the vast majority of my clients have travelled many miles to fish with me but courtesy on our lakes seems to be in short supply and the reason I rarely fish certain areas of the lakes.
Many locals are as guilty as those from out-of-town. Keep common courtesy as a part of your day and things will be much more enjoyable.
There are some nice crappie being caught in mid-depths in creek channel flats. The fish are scattered but by keeping one eye on the electronics, you will begin to see where the fish are situated in the water column for that part of that particular day.
One huge thing that Livescope has taught the better crappie fishermen is that many times the big pre-spawn females may suspend very shallow over deeper water. Many times, we tend to fish much too deep. I’ve been guilty of that my whole fishing career.
My tournament partner recently fished with a guide in Mississippi, searching for his first 3-pound crappie. They spent 2 days fishing in mid-depth water but every crappie they targeted with the Livescope was no more than 2 feet down from the surface.
Those big fish were soaking up the warmer water temperatures near the surface. BTW, Justin caught a 3.26 pound trophy that will soon adorn his man-cave wall in Evansville.
Water conditions are good with clarity being surprisingly good. As the lakes rise, the rising water has a tendency to push the dirty rain water back toward where it came from.
I am constantly keeping an eye on the weather but I also check the app “TVA Lake Info” for current lake levels and how much water is being released at the dams. Heavy current in cold water has never been my favorite combination. Heavy current in warm water is best in my book.
As weather warms and boat traffic increases, we must stay alert for boaters in trouble and who need help. I’ve seen 4 boats being pulled back to the ramps in recent days. The first trip out in the boat for the season is time to be alert for a motor that isn’t running just right or electronics/trolling motors that need some attention.
The time to make sure your batteries are in top condition is BEFORE you back your rig onto the ramp. Nobody likes having to wait for that person who blocks the ramp while trying to figure out why the boat won’t start. A $10 set of engine “muffs” will allow you to hook a hose to your engine and safely check it out before you leave home.
While the sunshine feels great on pale skin for the first time of the season, we must be mindful to be careful. Cold or even cool water can be deadly in a short time. Wearing your PFD will assure you have a fighting chance should you take a dunking.
I am always amazed at the small percentage of boaters who wear PFDs. I am also amazed at the large percentage of boaters who would never leave the ramp without a cooler full of alcohol. Both situations increase your chances of something bad happening during a joyful day on the water.
My guide trip calendar is starting to fill up. I have a few dates in April left, and even fewer May dates open. After years of building my business, I have found my body needs some time to relax and enjoy some time on the water with Miss Vicki and family.
My calendar is closed Sunday thru Tuesday of each week. Keep in mind, if you try to call me when I’m on the lake with clients, you’ll have to leave a message. Texting me is the best choice as I will often reply to a text. My clients aren’t paying me to talk on my phone. Messages will be returned as soon as I get home from a day on the lake.
Be careful out there. Be considerate of those around you. Watch out for those who won’t watch out for you.
Welcome to our slice of Heaven.