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BigJ91
01-05-2006, 12:11 AM
I fish 2 small lakes or ponds about 5 acre in size. They are have a lot of crappie. My question is how do you catch them in cold weather and when do they move to shallows in the spring? Last year was the first time to fish for crappie and I started in mid April. I would catch 20-30 each time. My other question is what is best for catching big crappie? I fish in central Alabama, Thanks


Jason

birddog
01-05-2006, 07:17 AM
BigJ91,

I have a 3 to 4 acre farm pond I fish regularly and recently found the crappie about 15 to 20 feet from the bank in about 6 to 8 feet of water anywhere around some type of structure. I was using live minnows under a slip cork fishing about 3 to 4 foot deep. But I had to keep moving around. I would catch 4 or 5 here and about the same at the next spot and so on. Every now and then I would pick one up on a minnow colored tube bait but mostly I caught them on live bait. Just keep trying several different baits and rigs and you will find them they can't go anywhere.HA! I am waiting on spring. Hope this helps.

P.S. Check teh Georgia board, post titled Pond Crappie, and you will see some pictures of my last weeks catch.

jigsbydirk
01-05-2006, 10:26 AM
The best lure i have ever found for fishing farm ponds is the Beetle Spin or you can make your own by using a curly tail jig with a spinner attatched to it. All of this can be purchased at you local walmart for very little money. During the winter you usually want to go to the dam of the pond, cast out as far as you can and let it sink. Try different depths, retrieve at at a medium speed. Also if you can place any brush in the deepest part of the pond you can catch fish off the brush year round. hope this helps.

CrappiePappy
01-05-2006, 11:26 AM
a BeetleSpin will retrieve pretty slow ... and cold water temps can dictate a slow retrieve. Another choice would be a Roadrunner (1/32-1/16oz). I'd use a 7-8ft UL or light action rod - 4lb line ... and cover as much of the water column as I could reach. Rod tip held high will keep the baits running shallower - rod tip held low will allow it to sink a little deeper. The Float'n'fly method would also be a possible solution ... but, may be difficult to perform from the bank (if you need the jig to be deeper than the length of the rod). A small minnow on a bream hook, under a slip float, would also be a good choice (if live bait is allowed).

One thing to consider - since you asked about how to catch "big Crappie" - is whether or not there ARE ANY "big" Crappie, in these small ponds. Generally a 50acre "pond" is the minimum size for good Crappie waters ... smaller waters tend to get overpopulated, and the fish get stunted (too many fish, not enough food). The smaller ponds may produce big fish, initially, but the prolific nature of the fish usually overwhelms them, in time.

If Crappie are the only fish in these ponds ... and there's no "food" being added ... the fish are most likely feeding on their young. A White jig or White w/blk specks tube should mimic a Crappie fry, pretty good. If there are other fish ... use colors that represent "their" fry. But, don't be afraid to "go wild", and use the most outlandish colors :eek: ...LOL!! I don't know of any "pink" baitfish/fry, in any of the waters I fish ... but, I have caught many a heavy stringer of Slabs on that very color :D

The Crappie will start looking for spawning spots, when the water temps start rising above the 50deg mark ... they'd be in their "pre-spawn" feeding mode about then. Even a few days of warm weather, in the Winter, can get them stirred up and feeding. They may not come to the shallow edges of the ponds ... but, they will come closer to the surface of the deeper portions of them.

Do the ponds, and the pond owner, a favor ... catch a bunch out of there and take them home to eat. Reducing the overall numbers will allow the remaining fish to grow a little bigger. ........... luck2ya .......cp :cool:

jigsbydirk
01-05-2006, 12:08 PM
CP reminded me of something i forgot in regards to "big crappie" over the course of 5 years my father and I kept close to 1500 crappie out of one pond, basically if we caught it we either kept it or removed it from the water. In the 5th year the size of the crappie we were catching doubled. I then placed brush in the pond and we have continued to moniter the fish and the average size crappie you now catch is 11 inches in length. So i say that to say this, you can make a pond have big crappie it just takes some time.

birddog
01-06-2006, 07:59 AM
You guys are right. The small pond I fish in is well managed and the owner requires me to keep anything I catch. If not the pond will overstock itself and stunt the fish. My 5 year old grandson caught his first crappie last week and it was well over 12 inches. Most of the crappie I catch from this pond is 10 to 11 inches on average but every now and then I catch two or three bigger than that.

RiverRat2
01-06-2006, 09:13 AM
I'm so excited to hear about how great pond fishing can be. My step-grandpa has two ponds that I can fish in (and eat the fish). Next week I'm going over there. My grandma said she would cook them if I cleaned them. We'll see how that goes.

Darryl Morris
01-06-2006, 09:16 AM
It has been my experience that cold water crappie require a smaller bait with a very slow to dead-still presentation. They will scatter and suspend in the deeper water. They are there and sometimes it seems as if you have to sneak it in their mouth.

The crappie will get more active once the water warms back into the mid-50's and begin stacking up on transition spots into spawning territory. Once the water temp is 60-65 they will be spawning in the shallows. Don't forget, the skinny water where the crappie spawn will warm into the 60's before the deeper water will.

One last thing. It has been an unusally warm winter here in Arkansas and certainly that will effect things too, but the essentually the same principles stated above should apply. Just make adjustments and experiment with it for your area in Alabama.