Windy Conditions Create Some Struggles Trolling for Crappie
Written by Doug Wynn - Published on April 26, 2022
Hey Y’all from the Excel Storm Cat 230. If I had been a shrewd businessman earlier this spring, I would have invested in a kite company. This whole spring has been the kind of weather I wanted for flying a kite while growing up. My parents often told me to go fly a kite.
The wind has changed many trips from where do I want to fish to where can I fish? The wind has also caused some trips to be rescheduled. Last week I watched the wind forecast much more than the weather. The top on the Storm Cat allows for pleasant fishing in rain as long as it isn’t blowing sideways.
The weather has made many who chose to spend their vacation time or days off go home with their tails tucked and heads down. When we pulled into Sportsman’s Marina Saturday, we were met with the question asking if we had any fish?
That was followed by the bad news that most who had come in before us had come in empty handed. We had fish as did one of the other guides, Brad Weakley, who was cleaning a nice catch at Sportsman's wonderful cleaning station.
On that note, I know many resort owners have chosen to do away with fish cleaning stations. I have always tried to pick up clients where they are staying but now I have to consider whether or not that location has a public cleaning station.
Cleaning fish on my boat is a big no-no with Fish and Wildlife and cleaning them on the tailgate of my truck is a big smelly mess. The resorts that have done away with cleaning stations make it very likely I won’t pick up clients who are staying there, causing them to travel to me instead of me traveling to them.
The water temperatures have gained very little in the past week. Heavy rains with the lake rising to 361 then back to 359 have caused many crappie to run toward the shallows, only to run back to the first depth change with comfortable temperatures.
I got reports early last week of good crappie moving into 4-6 feet of water. As soon as the lake started to fall, those fish disappeared. Limits soon became 2-3 fish per trip.
My broken record continues. Thanks to the wind most days, I have been forced to troll crankbiats. Boat control is much easier at 1.6mph than it is at 0.9mph. Having your boat spin around in a 30 mph gust makes for an hour of lost fishing time trying to sort out multiple longline rods with knotted lines.
We have found the location of our sought crappie seem to change each day and quite a bit of fishing time is spent covering different water depths and covers. There are still many crappie out toward the mouths of major bays and along the deepest sections of creek channels.
Keep in mind that a crappie being in the deeper water areas doesn’t mean those fish are on the bottom. Some days they are but many fish we have caught recently have been suspended in the top ½ of the water column.
I always want to have a bait or two running no more than say 8 feet deep. Some days 3-4 feet deep. That’s why I keep an eye on my Helix 12 split screen showing side image and down image. Your electronics will show you all your need to know to target fish. Getting them to bite is up to you.
Our best crankbait patterns have been Mudbug, Purple Splatter, Zombie, and natural shad.
The big females are very close to being ready to spawn if the water level stabilizes and rises a few degrees.
I’m completely booked for the rest of April and May, but I have plenty of openings for June and into the summer months.
Be careful out there. Wear your PFD when the boat is on plane. Watch out for those who won’t watch out for you.
Welcome to our slice of Heaven!