What is the key to finding early season crappies?
In the big picture, it may seem simple: shallow bays and channels that warm up fast in spring are good areas to start the hunt.
Still, early-season crappie fishing can be somewhat fickle due to erratic spring weather patterns and fluctuating water temperature. But once the weather and water temperatures stabilize, typically around the 50 degree mark, cover and bottom content conducive to spawning become more critical.
Now that we’re in the right area, here are some things to look for:
#1 – Bulrushes
Bulrushes, dead or alive. Bulrushes tend to grow on hard- or firm-bottom areas that are perfect for crappie nesting.
#2 – Developing Lily Pads
Developing lily pad fields also hold springtime crappies. But in early season these pad fields may not be visible above water. A good pair of polarized sunglasses and an underwater camera can significantly help you find these submerged pad fields and fish.
#3 – Wood
Last but not least, WOOD. Early-season crappies love wood cover. You name it: stumps, brush, fallen trees, even submerged fence rows are all spring crappie magnets.
Of course, with knowledge comes responsibility! Remember to selectively harvest crappies to maintain healthy populations for future generations.
One of the first cover types to look for when targeting early-season crappies is bullrushes. Bullrushes tend to grow on hard or firm bottom areas, which are perfect for crappies. These aquatic plants provide excellent cover and structure for crappies to hide and ambush their prey. When searching for bullrushes, look for areas with both live and dead bullrushes.
2. Developing Lily Pad Fields
Another key cover type to target when searching for early-season crappies is developing lily pad fields. These pad fields may not be visible above the water during the springtime, but they can still attract crappies. To locate these submerged pad fields, it is helpful to have a good pair of polarized sunglasses and an underwater camera. These tools will allow you to see beneath the water’s surface and identify the presence of lily pad fields. Crappies are often found in and around these areas, as they provide cover and shade.
3. Wood Cover
Early-season crappies are also attracted to various types of wood cover. Stumps, fallen trees, and brush are all magnets for crappies during the spring. These structures provide shelter and protection for the fish, as well as opportunities for feeding. When fishing in areas with wood cover, it is important to approach quietly and make accurate casts to avoid spooking the fish. By targeting these wood cover areas, you can increase your chances of finding and catching early-season crappies.
In conclusion, finding early-season crappies requires understanding the key cover types that attract these fish. Bullrushes, developing lily pad fields, and wood cover are all important areas to target. By locating these cover types and fishing strategically, you can increase your chances of success. However, it is important to remember that with knowledge comes responsibility. Selectively harvesting crappies ensures the sustainability of the fishery for future generations. So get out there, explore these cover types, and enjoy the thrill of catching early-season crappies.