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John's Journal... Entry 27 - Day 1

click to enlargeDucks, Bass Fishermen, and Sea Gulls will Mark The Spots

On water systems with de-watering areas for waterfowl, usually in February or the first half of March, the water from these duck ponds will drain back into the river or lake. Warmer than the main body of water and often loaded with nutrients that draw baitfish, this water attracts large numbers of fat, pre-spawn crappie.

click to enlargeFish the areas where this water reenters the main river or lake. Look for shallow bays, beaver ponds or big shallow sloughs cut off from the main river. During the pre-spawn, crappie move into these places first searching for the correct water temperature to spawn. You'll find the most crappie in shallow, warm-water bays just before the spawn.

Bass fishermen often build brush shelters at the mouths of creeks on points. During the pre-spawn, crappie often will hold on these brush shelters on points that lead into creeks where they'll spawn. When you hear bass fishermen reporting strikes on points with no success, more than likely click to enlargethey've had crappie attack their baits instead of bass. In the pre-spawn, look for crappie on brush piles in 10 to 20 feet of water on major points leading into creeks.

Before crappie begin the spawn, you'll locate them wherever you find large schools of shad. If you live on a lake or a river where you can see sea gulls diving on shad, you'll have pinpointed a productive place to catch pre-spawn crappie. Crappie below the school will force the shad to the surface where the birds will attack them. Fishing jigs or minnows under diving birds will click to enlargeallow you to locate and catch plenty of crappie.

On a warm day, you can spot the schools of shad on the surface, even if you don't see a bird diving on them. And often, crappie will come from their deep-water haunts to feed on those surface shad.

Tomorrow: Find Crappie in the Mouths, and Troll the Ledges


Check back each day this week for more about Pre-spawn crappie...

Day 1 - Ducks, Bass Fishermen, and Sea Gulls Will Mark The Spots
Day 2 - Find Crappie In The Mouths, and Troll the Ledges
Day 3 - Hunt Cover, Not Crappie
Day 4 - Find Underwater Highways and Railroads, and Fish Concrete
Day 5 - Catch Crappie In Discharge, Ditches and Near Docks

John's Journal