John's Journal...

Catching Crappie: No Boat, No Problem

Day 2: Bet on the Riprap and the Culverts to Catch Crappie with John E. Phillips

Editor’s Note: Another technique for the angler who doesn’t have a boat and wants to fish for crappie is to fish around riprap and culverts under highways. If current is being pulled through the lake or river, crappie often will stack-up before or after the spawn along the riprap and on the sides of culverts with roads passing over them.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewI went to Guntersville Lake, the site of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, and saw several people fishing around a culvert that a county road passed over. These anglers were catching 3/4-pound to 2-1/2-pound crappie on every cast. They cast upcurrent with jigs, a bobber and a jig or live minnows under a bobber. Their jigs or their minnows rode the edge of the current. Just as the jig got close to the upcurrent side of the culvert, the crappie would attack from the slack water. Then the angler standing on the rocks could reel in the crappie. On the other side of the current, the angler would cast up into the culvert and let his jig and minnow wash out of the culvert into the slack water eddy on the downside of the culvert.

When I asked one angler how he was doing, he held up one of the finest limits of crappie I ever had seen. He explained, “Every year there is always crappie here just before the crappie spawn begins. I get to the culvert every morning before daylight and usually fish for an hour or two before I go to work. I always can catch crappie here early in the morning and late in the afternoon throughout most of the year. During the spawn and the early fall, the crappie will be holding higher in the water than they will in the hot summer months and the cold wintertime. But all I have to do is use a slip bobber to allow my bait to get deeper in the water and ride the current during the hot and the cold weather. Even if current isn’t coming through the culvert, the crappie usually will be holding somewhere either along the riprap at the mouth of the culvert or off to the side of the culvert. All I have to do is stand or sit here and cast my bait out to get a bite.”

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewHow do you find the thermocline without a depth finder? Email me at I'd like to know.

For more information on crappie and crappie fishing, check out our two Kindle books “Crappie: How to Catch Them Fall & Winter” and “Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer. You can also buy the print version of “Crappie: How to Catch Them Fall and Winter” at

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Jeff Williams Says Rent a Boat Slip and/or Fish from Docks to Catch Crappie Without a Boat

Check back each day this week for more about Catching Crappie: No Boat, No Problem"

Day 1: Jeff Williams on No Boat Crappie Fishing – Wading and Bank Fishing
Day 2: Bet on the Riprap and the Culverts to Catch Crappie with John E. Phillips
Day 3: Jeff Williams Says Rent a Boat Slip and/or Fish from Docks to Catch Crappie Without a Boat
Day 4: Jeff Williams Says to Bargain, Barter or Pay for a Pier or a Dock to Fish for Crappie
Day 5: Fish the Dam Bank for Crappie with Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips

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Entry 768, Day 2