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Catching Crappie at Reelfoot Lake - the Real Deal

Day 4: Billy Blakely Explains Where to Find the Crappie after the Spawn at Tennessee’s Reelfoot Lake

Editor’s Note: Reelfoot Lake in the northwestern corner of Tennessee, near Hornbeak, Tennessee, about 2-miles from the Mississippi River, is one of the most-productive crappie-fishing lakes in the nation. Anglers catch crappie there year-round in large numbers. At one time not too-many years ago, so many crappie were in the lake that they were caught and sold commercially. However, today there’s no commercial crappie fishing at Reelfoot, but anglers come from all over the country to fish its waters. Some of the best crappie-tournament fishermen anywhere also live on the banks of Reelfoot. This past week I fished with Billy Blakely, the chief guide for Blue Bank Resort on Reelfoot Lake. The weather was terrible. The wind was blowing, the waves were slapping the boat, but we still caught fish. This week we’ll learn how to catch crappie throughout the spring and into summer with Blakely. Be sure to see the video interviews we did with Blakely at the end of each day’s information.

Click for Larger ViewBy the middle of May or the first of June in many areas, crappie fishermen usually vanish, because they don’t know where to find the crappie or how to catch them. But that’s not true on Reelfoot Lake in northwestern Tennessee. “After the spawn, the crappie move-out of the shallow water to the stumps in deeper water,” Blakely says. “This is when the crappie gang-up on large rows of stumps. They’re not going to move very much, so you have to fish right on top of the stumps where the crappie are holding. Click for Larger ViewYou have to put that bait right in front of the fish.” In a day of fishing Blakely often will take 15-dozen minnows, troll very slowly and move-onto the spot he wants to fish, then back-off and move-onto it again. At this time of the year, if you find a good school of crappie, Blakely suggests that you continue to fish that school. What many fishermen don’t realize is that crappie don’t bite all day long. Who knows why they decide to bite, and whey they decide not to bite, but Blakely suggests you keep your bait in front of them, until the crappie decides to bite. You may go from famine to feast when the crappie start biting every time you drop a bait in front of them. Once again remember that crappie have to be where the baitfish are holding. Locating the baitfish becomes very important.

Because the guides at Blue Bank Resort are on the water all day every day, they stay in touch with where the crappie are holding, when they’re biting, and how big the fish are that are running. “On a good day during May and June, we can often get a limit of 90 crappie for three anglers, or 60, which is two limits for two anglers,” Blakely mentions. However, fishing is still fishing. Some days the crappie may get lockjaw, and you may not load the boat. One of the advantages you have at Blue Bank Resort is that if you’re having a hard time finding and catching crappie by yourself, Blakely will take a break in his day and show you where you can catch crappie and how to fish for those crappies. “My job here at Blue Bank is to help everyone I can catch all the crappie they want to catch. People keep coming-back to Blue Bank Resort and Reelfoot Lake, because they continue to catch crappie here. We do everything we can to help them be successful.”

Click for Larger ViewAnother reason people come to Blue Bank to fish Reelfoot is because the resort has very-nice accommodations and amenities, besides delicious meals, including prime rib, crab cakes, the old standby – catfish, and many-other delicious entrees. “We’re also one of the few restaurants on the lake that will cook your catch,” says Mike Hayes with Blue Bank Resort. “You can come in from fishing, and we have people available to clean your fish while you shower and get ready for dinner. When you come-down to eat, the fish you’ve just caught will be prepared with plenty of delicious side dishes and whatever you want to drink.”

Click for Larger ViewThere is one caution I should warn you about before dinner at Blue Bank. Most of the time, you’ll be served hot rolls and strawberry butter before the meal. Once you start eating those hot rolls and strawberry butter, you’ll be hard-pressed to stop eating them. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t finish a delicious, cooked-on-the-grill prime rib, because I’d eaten too-many rolls and strawberry butter.

For more information on crappie fishing at Blue Bank Resort, call 1-877-258-3226 (1-877-Blue Bank) or visit To learn the techniques that Blakely uses during March and April, click on the video below, and watch our interview with Billy Blakely.

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To learn more about crappie fishing, go to or, go to and type in “Crappie – How to Catch Them Spring and Summer.” You can purchase this book for only $2.99 to read on your Kindle or phone.

Tomorrow: Billy Blakely Recommends You Fish Crankbaits for Crappie

Check back each day this week for more about "Catching Crappie at Reelfoot Lake - the Real Deal "

Day 1: How to Catch Crappie in March and April with Billy Blakely
Day 2: Billy Blakely Says to Bet on Black Crappie Year-Round at Reelfoot Lake
Day 3: How to Find and Catch White Crappie with Reelfoot Lake’s Billy Blakely
Day 4: Billy Blakely Explains Where to Find the Crappie after the Spawn at Tennessee’s Reelfoot Lake
Day 5: Billy Blakely Recommends You Fish Crankbaits for Crappie

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Entry 656, Day 4