|The April Bite|
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|Take the Kids!|
Crappie are one of my favorite game fish for a few reasons: there are lots of them, they are easy to locate, they are easy to catch, they put up a great fight, and they’re one of the tastiest fish you can put on a dinner table. These are the same reasons crappie are such a great gamefish for fishing newbies, kids, or any bass fisherman looking for a change of pace.
As a full-time fishing guide, it's important for me to know when there is a seasonal bite that offers lots of action, and springtime is by far the hottest crappie season of the year. Here are some fishing tips you can use to put some crappie in your boat.
Like most fish, crappie go deep in the winter, but starting in March when the water temps reach the mid 50's, they begin to move up, and can be found on main lake features as they transition from deep to shallow. A large laydown tree can on these transition routes will stop every crappie moving through there, and can be absolute crappie magnets. If a protected pocket or flat is nearby, you could find a massive school of crappie on a single isolated laydown, as the fish pre-stage here before they are ready to move into spawning areas.
Your March crappie strategy should be to hunt, hunt, hunt, until you find these jewels, then sit on them until you exhaust the area, then go hunt for another. Focus on brush 20-30 feet in cooler temperatures, and 10-25 feet as surface temperatures reach the low to mid 50’s.
A slow presentation of tiny 1/16-1/8 jig heads or road runners tipped with small shad imitations, soft plastics, or grubs seem to work best. Crappie will suspend around this kind of cover 99% of the time during pre-spawn, so use a count-down method to target where you see them on your sonar. Vary your presentation around this depth until you get bites. You'll often find the crappie will all be at or near the same count. Remember, look for trees near/within 100yds of spawning territory ---this is key!