The Outdoor Journal by Kyle Carroll
Each spring comes in its own sweet time. Some years the ice is long gone by now and other winters like this one seem to last extra long. Whichever way it happens, it always seems to come all at once, once it decides to warm up.
For spring fishermen, water temperatures are the key to the spring spawn and some of the best fishing of the year, especially when we are talking about crappie. Missouri has two types of crappie, White Crappie and Black Crappie. They both count the same in your creel.
Biologist in Missouri have found that crappie began to move on to the spawning beds when the water temperature reaches 56º. By comparison, bass spawn between 65º and 70º. Crappie move out of their deep-water homes and into more-shallow water at about 56º degrees. The male crappie come into shallow water first and start fanning the beds in preparation for the females to spawn. Expect to see the male crappie in shallow 56º - 63º water. The females begin to move into the shallow water when the water temperature is 64º - 65º. Remember that not all crappie spawn at the same time. The spawn can last for up to six weeks.
During the spawn, if you are in the right place, you can catch a fish almost very cast.
Presentation is key for crappie. They are not inclined to run down a fast moving bait. So figuring out what depth they are at and slowly working a crappie jig or a minnow through that depth of water is what is required. Once you figure it out, get ready and keep a line in the water.
If you are fishing on a state regulated lake, the crappie limit is normally 30. Having some method of keeping track of how many fish you have in your basket is a good idea. Some avid crappie fishermen use a sliding bead counter. Whatever method you use, I hope you get a chance to test it out. Crappie time is just about here.