Article Date: Friday, December 02, 2011
By: John E. Phillips
Editor's Note: With the strategies you'll learn this week, you can develop a game plan on how to fish a new lake and find a large number of potential crappie hot spots.
Employ Scientific Reconnaissance: The state fisheries' biologist responsible for the lake you plan to fish provides one of the best places to gain information about a new lake. Obtain this biologist's name by calling your state fish and wildlife service. Ask the fisheries biologist to suggest areas where lake surveys indicate fishermen have caught the most crappie. Also, inquire about specific fishing sites, the depth of the water the crappie usually concentrate in at the time of the year you want to fish and the type of structure where the crappie will hold.
Map 'Em Out: Success in pinpointing crappie on a new lake first requires your having a map of that lake. Find a lake map that shows underwater elevations. Look for bottom structure like points that will hold crappie and bass. These points create natural intersections on which crappie congregate. Often you'll locate stumps and brush where crappie hold along these underwater points. Next, search for underwater feeder creeks that intersect with underwater creek channels, which also offer highly-productive bass and crappie fishing. Underwater creek channels or ditches that run through the standing timber and bridges also home numbers of crappie.
Do Aerial Reconnaissance: After studying the lake map and predetermining sites you want to fish, you also can find the most-productive places for crappie fishing inexpensively in the shortest time by flying over the lake and using a hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. As you fly over the lake, use your GPS receiver to mark underwater cover, ledges and drop-offs that you can spot from the air but won't be able to see from your boat. Aerial reconnaissance also allows you to find out where most bank-bound crappie fishermen fish and to spot sandbars or mud flats that cut-off creeks and sloughs from the main river, making these areas very productive for crappie fishing.
Use Boat Reconnaissance: Look for several key features to catch crappie on a new lake. Find docks that have brush in front of them. As you drive down the lake, search for docks and piers with rod or pole holders attached to them and chairs set-up at the ends of piers and/or docks. Then often you'll find underwater brush in front of or under the piers where you can catch crappie.
Look For Unusual Places to Find Crappie: Many anglers won't fish different kinds of places like concrete pilings, marinas and boat ramps for crappie. By trolling a crappie jig in deep water to the left and the right of a boat ramp, you can catch tremendous numbers and sizes of crappie.
To catch the most crappie on any new lake you fish, do your homework. If you'll spend a day or two learning the lake before you fish it, you'll increase your odds for catching crappie.