Homer: Give crappie fishing a try this spring – ReporterNews.com

With spring quickly approach, many Big Country anglers are stocking up on gear and planning ventures for their upcoming fishing trips.

I was recently out at Hubbard Creek Reservoir trying to catch white crappie. While locating them took a while, once I found them off an old fishing dock, I got one bite after another.

This fun lasted for about an hour until I had my lure get hung up on some brush. While trying to retrieve my Road Runner jig, I ended up falling off the bow of my friend’s boat fully clothed with my phone and wallet in my pockets. Despite my unfortunate accident, I didn’t think the day ended in failure because I had caught my biggest crappie ever (about 13 inches) just moments before.

Crappie fishing in the spring is one of Big Country anglers’ favorite activities. Generally, crappie begin shifting into shallow waters to spawn in mid-March. However, with the relatively warmer winter we have experienced in the Big Country, crappie may have potentially begun this movement already.

Optimal temperatures for crappie to spawn are between 60-65 degrees. Once temperatures are 65-70 degrees, crappie can often be found in less than two feet of water.

If you’re targeting crappie, fishing around structure will likely yield a successful catch. Crappie prefer to aggregate around structural habitat, and they prefer to spawn around woody cover, such as submersed trees and logs as well as aquatic vegetation. Crappie also will use other structures, such as docks, piers and rocky areas. Crappie may even still be found off-shore in structure off the lake bottom, such as brush piles and deep-water docks.

If you are interested in catching crappie, here are a few tips that may help you catch some. Fishing with a light rod rigged with four- to eight-pound test line will be optimal. Crappie love to bite at small jigs, small spinner baits and live minnows.

If using jigs, consider your water clarity. Use darker jigs in really muddy water because they will cast a better shadow. If the water is light, chartreuse, white, pink and other bright colors may work well. Plugs for the jigs vary in all kinds of shapes and colors, and every angler (including the one writing this article) will have a recommendation for which one works best.

You may also consider using a bait/lure combo, such as rigging the jig setup with a crappie nibble.

While fishing, using a bobber or slipcork may help you have better control and provide natural movement with water current and wind action, as well as help to maintain suspension of the lure or bait. While jigging, slowly repeat lifting the lure up and down without letting it hit the bottom. Sometimes, letting the bait or lure swing underwater may entice crappie to bite.

Given that the Big Country has experienced much rainfall after the last two years, many area crappie populations are rebounding. Fort Phantom Hill, Hubbard Creek, Stamford, Daniel, Proctor and Leon reservoirs may provide excellent crappie fisheries in 2017.

If you plan to take a fishing trip soon, give crappie fishing a try if you haven’t before. Crappie will put up an excellent fight, they taste delicious, and they can be relatively easy to catch once you get the jigging techniques down.

For more information about crappie fishing, feel free to contact the local Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries-Abilene office at 325-692-0921. Good luck crappie fishing this spring.

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