Today: Friday 17 August 2018
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    Crappie Kingdom 15 May 2017

    Crappie Kingdom



    Heavy rains in April have created havoc with the ongoing spawn on area lakes.

      Almost record rainfall has caused watersheds to rise to almost record levels.  The high water certainly has “rained” on some folks’ party so to speak.  Prior to lake levels rising at a fast pace, the spawn was beginning to take place on several lakes.  Unfortunately, the high water changes a few things that must be worked out to find the fish.

    Off color water is an issue that accompanies high lake levels particularly in the upper ends of the lakes.  I do not like to fish in “chocolate” colored water.  It’s more of a mind game than a real issue.  The fish are still there, the problem is getting them to bite.  If they have not spawned, they will be in the shallowest water they can find.  Many times that will be in backwater areas in the bushes and trees.  These places can be hard to access from a boat.  If they have not spawned, they will move in.  If the males have already made nests and females laid their eggs, the hatch will take place at that depth regardless of how much water piles in on top of them.  Finding the nests can be very difficult in deep water.  Once the lake begins to drop and a more “normal” water color returns, the bite will pick up.  Once again, I feel it’s more of a psychological issue with the fisherman than a real issue.  The fish will not completely leave their area.

    Fishing high water conditions for crappie can be tough in the early stages of the lake rising.  The fish will react to the conditions but may take a few days to settle into a pattern.  Heavy rain on different arms of a lake can have an effect on other arms.  The water coming in on one side will cause a backup on the other pushing clear water away from the dam or outlet.  This backflow of water can cause the bite to slow down.  According to Guide Richard Bowling on Truman Lake, once the water starts to flow toward the dam and a current starts the bite will pick up greatly.  The fish on Truman are suspended in trees that are in about 20 feet of water.  The fish will move in to these trees and some may spawn in the tree limb and trunk joints.  How the spawn will turn out is anybody’s guess.  Fisheries Biologists indicate the best spawn will occur when stable lake conditions exist.

    Dipping standing timber is a sure fire method of catching high water crappie in lakes that provide that type of cover.  Long poling or using a long pole to reach back in bushes and trees covered by high water is another method of catching high water crappies that have not spawned.  Casting and retrieving on spawning banks that have clear water is another method that will produce fish.  This method will require letting the jig fall to deeper water where the fish are at.  Fishing shallow beds will produce some fish as well.  The fish will more than likely be suspended over the top of these beds.  Slow presentations are essential in all these methods.

    One thing for sure, you have to be on the water to catch the fish.  Remember that when high water occurs safety issues multiply.  Be on the lookout for floating logs and debris that have been washed in from swift water.  They are not only found in the upper reaches but can be found on main lake bodies as well.  Slow down and be aware of your surroundings.  Bottom line is that these conditions will pass and “normality” will return.  Keep a positive attitude and enjoy the moment.  Good luck and good fishing.

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