John's Journal...

Don’t Bank on Bank-Bound Crappie in the Spring

Day 2: Catching Ditch Crappie and Stump Crappie in the Spring

Editor’s Note: To find bank-bound crappie, you must know the temperature of the water. Forget about the time of year. When the water temperature becomes warm-enough for crappie to spawn, they will move to the bank. With a not-just-right water temperature, the crappie will pull away from the bank. Throughout March and April, various sections of even the South may experience unexpected cold fronts that will cause the crappie to swim-away from the bank.

Click for Larger ViewOn major reservoirs, crappie preparing to spawn generally will run-up creek and river channels and wait in a hole or a deep spot at the very end of a ditch or a small creek channel for the warm weather and the correct water temperature to move out on the flats to spawn. "During the prespawn and postspawn times, I usually can find crappie ganged-up along ditches, cuts and the backs of little creek channels," Charlie Ingram, an avid crappie fisherman at Alabama's Lake Eufaula, explains. "Many times in the backs of these little ditches, I can sit in one spot and limit-out on crappie. Click for Larger ViewMost of the time, these crappie will be very aggressive, because they are trying to feed up ahead of the spawn. To be an effective prespawn fisherman, you must be able to read a depth finder and a topo map. The topo map will tell you where the small ditches, secondary creeks, and little cuts are in the lake's bottom. The depth finder will help you get on this structure and show you the cover and the fish holding there. During the prespawn, I prefer to fish a jigging spoon, because I can angle vertically with it. A big spoon produces large crappie. Because of the jigging spoon's weight, if I get tangled in cover, I can shake it free."

Stump Crappie:

Click for Larger ViewVeteran angler Nolen Shivers of Birmingham, Alabama, fishes for bass during the spring and summer. However, during the prespawn, he prefers to fish for crappie. According to Shivers, "I can catch more crappie in the cold months' prespawn than I can bass. I think that catching any kind of fish is a lot better than not taking fish. Besides, I like to eat crappie." Shivers takes prespawn crappie by fishing shallow, underwater stumps along creek and river channels, often 20- to 30-yards from the bank, or brush shelters under docks. Click for Larger View"I've found that crappie come-up out of the deep water and hold on underwater stumps along creek and river channels in 6 to 10 feet of water, waiting on the right water temperature to move into the bank to spawn," Shivers reports. "Even when the crappie do spawn, the stumps are more productive than the banks. The crappie that are moving to the banks, hold on the stumps before they go to the bank. Also, the crappie that are coming away from the bank after they spawn, hold on the stumps before they swim out to deep-water."

Tomorrow: Fishing Docks and Feeder Creeks for Springtime Crappie

Check back each day this week for more about "Don’t Bank on Bank-Bound Crappie in the Spring "

Day 1: Fishing for Discharge Crappie in the Spring
Day 2: Catching Ditch Crappie and Stump Crappie in the Spring
Day 3: Fishing Docks and Feeder Creeks for Springtime Crappie
Day 4: Springtime’s Mid-Water Crappie, Sight-Fish Crappie and Planted Crappie
Day 5: Catching Flood-Water Crappie in the Spring

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Entry 605, Day 2