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Saturday, June 10th
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Crappie Resources

Catching Cold Water Crappie

The winter months are considered one of the toughest times for crappie fishing.  Many anglers simply put up their gear and wait until next year for warmer temperatures.  Yes, there may be days when crappie may not feed in order to preserve energy to be able to endure the cold.  But remember, crappie must eat in order to survive."

A crappie knows that he must eat even though he may not want to use the energy to hunt down prey.  A crappie will certainly not chase a jig or minnow as far or as hard as he would in the spring, summer, and fall.  The trick is to be persistent. 

   Two lures that I use in the winter are small spoons and jigs.  I use these because they are generally slow moving lures and gives a little more life.  Remember not to ever go too fast.

   The key is being real slow with your presentation, and some of those fish will bite.  You must have confidence the fish are there and then be deliberate without too much movement.  Your presentation has to slow down.  During the spring and summer everything is quicker and faster, but not in the winter. Anything too erratic and fast will seem unnatural to the crappie. They like everything slow or still for an easy meal and to save their energy.  That's what works…..slow, methodical presentations. One cast might last up to two minutes or more.   

   Use the smallest weight you can get away with given wind conditions and the thickness of the brush.  A 1/48th or 1/64th oz. jig will fall as slow as it gets, giving the crappie time to see and and most of the time the bites will come on the drop.  The spoon jigging technique is the deadliest way to get to these winter fish. With a good jigging pole (B'n'M Buck's Jigging Pole is a great one) and some 8 pound test line along with some metal spoons, key on the same structure. Slowly raise your rod tip and drop it, every now and then twitching the spoon.  Lifting the rods in shorts jerks of only a few inches will imitate the action of a dying shad. Cold waters in the winter kill of lots of shad and the bass can simply wait under the schools for an easy meal.

   The reason to use small jigs or spoons is because the food sources are always smaller, and because there are not as many hatches during the colder months. Anglers using depth finders will find huge schools of baitfish roaming the lake, and depths may be as deep as 40 feet. These small baitfish make up the winter diet for almost all species, especially crappie.  

   The area crappie can be found in the winter months varys depending from place to place and on the weather during the time. The general rule for lake fishing is that during the early and late stages of ice formation the crappie will be found in shallow waters where there is dense weed growth. At all other times you will find that the crappie will be found in the deepest waters where dense vegetation or other cover is found, sometimes around the drop off area found by clay mounds. In lakes that have a basin this is where they will be as it is normally the deepest area, and also the area where sediment builds up which gives them a soft ground area which they prefer over hard lake floors.  You will only know if your over a soft bottom area of the lake if you use a sonar. When you use the sonar and you only receive one echo rather than the normal two this will possibly mean you have found a soft bottom.  Important thing to remember is to make sure there is cover on these soft bottoms. The fish will be there.

   A good idea is to fish during the afternoon. The temperature will be at it's highest during that time and crappie will come up in shallow water to feed. Look for areas with a southern exposure, but still fish it SLOW.   Patience and persistence are the keys to catching fish in the wintertime. The main thing to remember is to never quit too early. You may just be missing some good fishing.  

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