Recent Crappie Caught With Both Longlining and Vertical Presentations
Written by Doug Wynn - Published on March 16, 2023
Hey Y’all from the Excel Storm Cat 230. It seems our hopes for early spring and great early fishing have been dashed by Mother Nature. Looking at the long range forecast, it looks like we are not likely to see much of an increase in our current water temperatures of around 50 degrees. That is not necessarily a bad thing.
Early water temperatures approaching 60 and above mean the black crappie, then white crappie, start heading to shallow cover spawning areas in earnest. Lake levels near winter pool don’t contain as much cover for newly hatched little crappie.
Personally, I am somewhat thankful the April 1st beginning of the lake level rise should coincide with warming water temperatures. We are heading into great years of crappie fishing due to the sheer numbers of soon-to-be and recent legal sized crappie from some great spawns.
There are still plenty of BIG crappie, notably a 3-pound 9-ounce crappie caught last week on Kentucky Lake. If near future fishing will rival the “good ol’ days” is yet to be seen but a vast improvement is here.
I was on the lake earlier this week, checking out conditions in several areas. The water color was very surprising considering the amount of recent rains. While not summertime clear, the water conditions were much better than expected. I had seen some of the chocolate milk colored water earlier.
Coming at the heels of a huge cold weather system, fish were scattered in many areas and very reluctant to bite in others. Once the cooler weather settles in, fishing should pick up greatly. It looks like we aren’t likely to see any 70-degree daytime temperatures before the 1st of April so low to mid 50s will be the water surface temps we have to deal with. The crappie don’t mind. They will just go about doing what crappie do.
We caught crappie longlining jigs in 8-15 feet of water and with Mega Live vertical jigging in 10-25 feet.
My cousin Rickie and I have been tweaking settings and such on my Humminbird Mega Live and Target Lock. They aren’t as popular as the Garmin Livescope, which I also have on my boat. Humminbird has made many recent upgrades that have made the live pictures on my Helix units much more impressive. The TargetLock is a game changer for somebody with a boat as large as mine.
Boat control is crucial in live sonar fishing and TargetLock keeps a set image on my screen while I adjust my boat positioning to fish that structure. It also has a Scan feature that will look back and forth 120 degrees, searching for structure I might want to fish.
Don’t think for a minute that I’m quitting trolling. Absolutely not! That tactic is my bread-and-butter when I have groups up to 5 on my boat. It is impossible to get everyone on the boat in a big group to benefit from the live sonar but I’m trying some new tactics.
My minnow buckets will have a place of prominence in the boat this spring. My fridge is stocked with waxworms, night crawlers, and red worms for redears and bluegills also. I said MY fridge. Miss Vicki got a new fridge so I got the old one for bait. No more bending over for the little dorm model.
My booking calendar is filling up, but I still have a few April dates and several May dates. Months later are starting to fill in but plenty of options are available. If my booking calendar is confusing on my website, send me a text or call and I’ll walk you thru your booking.
I mentioned previously I’m still in the act of finishing up my taxidermy obligations. One huge obligation was in the form of a Cape Buffalo from Africa. It has been like stretching a skin onto a VW Beetle. I’ve been fortunate to do several species from all over the world but this is by far the largest and most challenging. I have it together, most epoxy work started, and drying. It will take several weeks to dry then several days to paint and finish. I’ll keep you posted.
We had a tragic death on KY Lake near West Sandy last week. We all go to the lake with our thoughts of having a great day and hopefully catching some fish for supper. The dangers are always there but in the backs of our minds. One instant of inattention or carelessness can change our lives forever.
That is why I’m so insistent on wearing PFDs when at plane speeds. While some of my clients choose not to, as adults that is their choice, but they can never say they weren’t offered one at the beginning of the trip or when conditions worsen.
Be careful out there! One of my all-time favorite TV shows was “Hill Street Blues”. The Sargent often opened the show telling his officers “Be careful out there!” We can’t hear that too much when it comes to safety on our lakes.
Carry extra clothes with the water temps we have now. Watch out for those around you. Don’t become an article on the news. Help those who need help.
Welcome of our slice of Heaven.