John's Journal...

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

Day 3: Fishing Docks and Feeder Creeks for Springtime Crappie

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 ViewIn crappie-fishing enthusiast Nolen Shivers' other prespawn technique (see Day 2), he fishes docks. "Remember that most lake and river residents who have docks usually build some kind of brush shelter or put some structure out in front of their docks, so they can come-down and sit on their docks and catch fish," Shivers reports. "Most of the time the brush will be about a cane pole's distance or a little further from the dock. Having a depth finder will pay-off for you. By motoring your boat back and forth in front of the dock, you usually can locate this sunken cover on your depth finder. Click for Larger ViewThe crappie will move into this type of structure during the prespawn, because it gives them cover to hold on while they're waiting on the temperature to warm-up. If there's no cover in front of a dock, then I assume the cover is under the dock. Oftentimes a dock owner will sink the cover under the dock to keep the fish close to his pier. If you cast light jigs up under the dock, you can catch crappie."

Feeder Creek Crappie in the Spring:

Click for Larger ViewAlso look for crappie during the prespawn in the mouths of feeder creeks. Many times large schools of crappie will move out of a river channel and hold in mid-water in the mouth of a creek, due to the somewhat-warmer water there and the large numbers of baitfish. Then as soon as that creek water starts to warm-up enough to trigger the spawn, the crappie will move-up the creek channel and onto the spawning areas. Several methods will catch these creek-mouth crappie. Most anglers prefer to troll in the mouths of creeks using 1/24- and 1/32-ounce jigs on 2- and 4-pound-test line. Click for Larger ViewWhen you're trolling open water and don't have to worry about losing crappie in thick cover, then you can fish the lighter line. The smaller the diameter of the line, the faster and the deeper it will allow the crappie jig to sink. To troll a 1/32-ounce jig 8- to 10-feet under the surface, an angler may have to use 2-pound-test line and troll slowly. Too, you can buoy the schools off in the mouths of creeks and cast to them with either minnows or jigs. However, since these open-water schools of crappie move constantly, the fisherman will have to relocate the schools and move the buoys. Utilize a depth finder and trolling motor to stay on the top of these schools. Then either vertical jig, or fish a live minnow straight-down to the school to catch the crappie.

Tomorrow: Springtime’s Mid-Water Crappie, Sight-Fish Crappie and Planted 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 3