Secrets of Crappie Fishing
HOW TO TAKE WINTERTIME CRAPPIE
Wintertime crappie fishing can be highly productive with plenty of fast action and big fish. Or, icy weather crappieing can be as slow as pouring maple syrup out of a cold pot on a frosty morning. What makes the difference is where you find the crappie. Let's look at some ideal wintertime crappie situations.
Jackie Thompson, an angler on Lake Eufala in Alabama, explains, "If anglers are on Lake Eufaula at the right time during the winter, then they can catch all the crappie they want. Since a National Wildlife Refuge is situated along the banks of Lake Eufaula, each year several thousand acres of the refuge are flooded to provide a home for wintering waterfowl.
"When the waterfowl season is over, these man-made ponds are pumped out. The water from these duck ponds is pumped back into Lake Eufaula. Then the ponds will dry up for the spring planting of corn and other grains to feed the ducks and geese through the winter.
"The water from these shallow water ponds usually is much warmer than the wintertime water in Lake Eufaula. When the water is pumped out of the ponds and poured back into the lake, plenty of warm water comes into a big area of cold water. That warm water being pumped into the lake draws crappie like a magnet.
"Within only a few hours after the pumps start running, the crappie begin to show up in large numbers at these sites. Most of the time these winter crappie will be big fish. Because they are in such a confined area of warm water, they are easy to catch. I've seen two anglers fish half a day and catch a limit of crappie that weighs between 1/2-pound and two pounds each.
"There's no doubt that if you crappie fish on Eufaula when the duck ponds are being pumped out in the wintertime, you can load up your cooler. Usually, the fishing is so fast, and the crappie are so aggressive that jig fishing seems to be the best. The weather may be cold, but the crappie fishing can be hot."
The time was the end of November when most of the major colleges were playing their last football games of the season. A warm front had come through where we lived. For two or three days, the weather had been pleasant. But the TV weatherman was predicting that a major winter storm would hit before nightfall.
My brother and I had been fishing a shallow water beaver pond off a major river system with numbers of cypress trees growing in it. Because the pond was more shallow than the river, the water in the beaver pond was warmer than the river water. Therefore, the crappie were more active.