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Slab Slayen
12-24-2011, 09:55 PM
Last spring and summer i tugged over 150 crappie out of one of my favorite lakes. The biggest ones were 14 inches and i made it a point to try to catch a 15 incher or better and it never happend. my question is. What the heck is goes on? Why does it seem like ther arent any crappie over 14 inches in that lake? Maybe you guys could offer some insight into this. Thanks

jigflinger
12-24-2011, 10:25 PM
A 14 inch crappie in your waters might be 5 or 6 years old. May not be able to grow 15 inchers. IMHO.:fish

Danny W
12-24-2011, 11:05 PM
I dont know where your fishin at my brother but in MO 15in crappie outta lakes are just about as big as it gets. Farm ponds will produce your 16 to 18in crappie but if you want studs pretty regular I think Kentucky lake and several in Mississippi are were you want to head.

waterboy1
12-24-2011, 11:11 PM
I've been fishing my lake here in Nashville for the past seven years and have only caught one 15" crappie, but have gotten lots of 14's, your lake may just not produce fish that large.

gabowman
12-25-2011, 12:11 AM
Alot has to do with the waters you fish. In the south the baitfish thrives all year and the crappie feed on them all year. In northern waters the water gets much more colder and from all the reports catching 15+" fish gets hard to do. Gotta move south for these big boys.Thumbs Up

Little Skeeter
12-25-2011, 12:30 AM
They are probably a few there, but not many and those are hard to find and catch. Catching even a 14 inch is a great crappie by most standards! The southern states normally have larger fish. Just look up the crappiemasters tournament weigh-ins and see where they are fishing and the weights they are catching. Good luck to ya.

chaunc
12-25-2011, 06:12 AM
If you're keeping those 14's, there's no chance for them to get to 15. You want a 15 for the wall, throw those 14's back to grow another season. But if you see the birds of prey swooping down and taking big DEAD crappies off the surface, your 14's have probably been dying from old age. Your lake just may not be able to grow em bigger. Here in Pa, we take lots of 15's from my home lake and a few 16's every year.

bhgammon
12-25-2011, 07:47 AM
Some waters grow bigger fish, there are too many factors involved to list. Relax and enjoy what you can catch; 14 inchers are a great catch anywhere.

TDHcrappiemaster
12-25-2011, 08:37 AM
I see your from Indiana as am I. There are 15" fish there but very few and when you come across one it's a true trophy for most of our lakes here in Indiana.
Good luck in your search and when you land one we all want to see the picture because we are addicted to seeing big crappie....LOL!

skeetbum
12-25-2011, 09:00 AM
I have caught a few 15" fish this year and they weigh about 2 1/2 lbs. That qualifies as trophy material to this boy and consider myself to have had a good year. I've been fishing for Crappie about 4 yrs and this is the first year I can make that claim. I have always bumped around 14 to 14 1/2" and wondered where the big fish were. I was told by an old timer once" when you go to the park you'll see the old folks off to the side of where the kids are playing". This kind of made sense to me and changed the way I approach a given piece of structure. Dominant fish will have the best spot on the pile because of their size. That may be on the outside edge or on top, you get the idea. Try a little stealthier approach from a greater distance, or stay back and cast to it, try a different approach to your better spots. This may not make a difference, but think of how happy you'll be if it puts that 15" in the boat. I hope this helps some, good luck in the quest.

Slab Slayen
12-25-2011, 10:16 AM
Thanks for the advice. i appreciate it........

Slab Slayen
12-25-2011, 10:19 AM
thanks for the advice. i appreciate it.........

Fishorhunt
12-25-2011, 10:35 AM
There is a cove that I fish and always catch MUCH bigger crappie and some stretch into the 15" range. I catch these fish usually starting in Feb and EARLY in the morning before or just after day light. Once the sun gets up the big crappie seem to "peter out" and I start catching more average fish. This cove is know by many of the locals for holding tons of crappie and it's fished hard. I don't fish "with the crowd" when I enter this cove. I don't mind looking foolish as boat after boat passes me by on their way to the "sweet spots" because I've usually got several nice slabs in my boat by then. I don't know how many times people have idled by me and said "man you need to get back in there we caught 200 crappie yesterday and got 2 limits". I just smile and say "I don't like the crowds" and they go on. I would rather catch 20 big crappie and have 15, 2 lb keepers. Search out new spots and fish odd times because fish can be in places many over look. I actually found this spot by accident when I tossed out a line while rigging up my rods and drifting back to those "sweet spots". I had got there before day light to beat the crowd and it all just "clicked".

feelay
12-25-2011, 12:34 PM
Come to MS, aren't many days that I don't catch a fish over 15". When it's on, catching a dozen or more over 15" is common. Our growing season is much longer than yours, so we have larger numbers of big fish.

Lowellhturner
12-25-2011, 04:31 PM
On most "northern " waters the chances of a crappie reaching 15" is comparable to any given NFL team having a PERFECT season; statistically the odds are long. And anything over 15" into the 16"- 17" range is compareable to that same undefeated team going to AND WINNING the Super Bowl- gently put, the odds for any individual fish to make it into this size range are unfortuneately HIGHLY unlikely !

Paul D.
12-25-2011, 09:27 PM
Gentlemen,
I respectfully disagree with the statements that northern waters will not produce many fish over 15". While my experience is limited to pursuing panfish only during cold water seasons (mainly thru the ice), and focusing on trophy class fish; most lakes and rivers we have target have yielded numerous fish over the 15" mark. Our efforts target lakes that are deep and clear, have a strong forage base, get little panfish pressure, and those shown to be in an "up" cycle. The key seems to be location and an affinity to suspend over deeper water.
While the size classes overlap, when we find schools of larger old fish, we try to stay on them. If only smaller fish are present, we keep searching be it another area of the water body, or another lake. We do pay very close attention to the lakes with higher numbers of 14 and 15"ers as they will be target waters the following year.Most of the trophy class fish have been iced in the early to mid evening hours as that is when we have the most success, therefore we tend to fish more at that time.
Catching them is straight forward, finding them consistently seems to be a bit more of a challenge. A typical evening trip usually produces between 12 - 20 fish over the 15" mark, most are returned to the water with a few 10-14" fish from the larger year class kept for the table. The key is to find lakes that are not heavily harvested, and fish areas other anglers rarely target due to ease of access/ distance. Much easier to do in northern waters where crappie are not a highly sought after fish as most anglers pursue top predictors. If you are truly serious about trophy class fish, get ahold of fisheries data, and learn to read and understand it, most lakes here in CT seem to run in 4 -7 year cycles. By keeping tabs on the lakes with more potential for larger size classes , we up our odds of fishing productive waters every season. Looking forward to drilling holes in a few weeks.
To back up my opinion:

http://i565.photobucket.com/albums/ss91/PaulDin/2011%20Crappie/026.jpg

http://i565.photobucket.com/albums/ss91/PaulDin/2011%20Crappie/012.jpg

http://i565.photobucket.com/albums/ss91/PaulDin/2011%20Crappie/017-1.jpg

http://i565.photobucket.com/albums/ss91/PaulDin/2011%20Crappie/17erandme.jpg

http://i565.photobucket.com/albums/ss91/PaulDin/2011%20Shared/017.jpg

cbv1978
12-26-2011, 09:50 AM
A wise man once told me, location, location, location! I caught a bunch of 10-14 inch crappie on tops and when I started fishing old submerged stumps, no where near the tops, started catching bigger fish! Including this monster which was a personal best for me. About 16 inches and right at 2.5 lbs. Their were by themselves and not stacked up in tops, it was a great learning oppurtunity for me!76692

brushnjigs
12-26-2011, 10:32 AM
Here in IN you need to look more towards the larger natural lakes for that size of fish. The weeds are a buffet table from the time they start swimming. With a constant food supply like that its like they grow up on steroids. There are several that do produce that size of fish and for the most part are never fished for.

Slab Slayen
12-26-2011, 01:29 PM
paul d those are some huge slab sides! all i have to say is wow! thats some great advice and seems like you put allot of time and effort into your fishen. Its almost imposible to find a lake around me that doesnt have panfish pressure. I fish hot spots and lakes that my family has been fishen for years and because of time and other factors im unable to throw back fish as an attempt to grow bigger fish. The way i see it if i try to mannage fish size in a lake those 14inchers i throw back are going to be on another fishermans table by the end of season. Great advice though. Thanks

SlabLapper4sure
12-26-2011, 06:19 PM
Maybe you need to modify your technique for a larger fish, like fishing larger jigs or cranks. Or even fishing earlier in the year when the sows r really big and first to turn on after winter. Those 15's don't get that size by eating everything that comes along! If you're catching 14's there r bigger fish there somewhere! You have to do your homework! Study topo's of the lake, find those big fish holes and sink some big fish attracters in those key areas away from the beaten path! Last year, I was catching the heck out of 12 inchers that r throwbacks in the Mississippi lakes that I fish, but I was able to locate a stump in a creek that had it's roots up off the bottom which allowed fish to get under the stump and I was able to catch several fish in the 3 pound range from that stump each time I went there. It was a big fish attracter. Try changing up some of what you're doing and it may help. Good luck! A 14 SHORE BEATS A 12 ANYDAY!!

SlabLapper4sure
12-26-2011, 06:24 PM
You sure got my attention Paul D.

Paul D.
12-26-2011, 06:48 PM
Here is some more info similar to what we are doing here in the North East.

The Search For Giant Slabs - In-Fisherman (http://www.in-fisherman.com/2011/01/01/the-search-for-giant-slabs/)

Tracy Swanson
12-26-2011, 07:18 PM
hear in south carolina in the fall early winter and spring we do a lot of night stalking one creek on lake hartwell and we catch quite few 15" to 16" fish over the brush we put out over the years on live minnows

Lowellhturner
12-26-2011, 08:03 PM
Paul D, VERY impressive photos and information. I am not saying that "up north' that NONE get that big, am merely saying out of any given entire yr class perportionately very few DO live that long. I certainly will agree some lakes and bodies of water are more predisposed to producing giant "barn door' crappie than others, and that fishing pressure definately has an impact also. Keep the great photos and info coming, sir...

blueultra2
12-27-2011, 12:29 AM
I know of a couple lakes here in northern Indiana that produce 15" crappie. I have caught two in the past 3 years ice fishing. And I know of a 16"er that came through the ice last year. They're definitely out there, don't give up! I'm waiting for the 16" for the wall!

xring
12-27-2011, 06:27 AM
Heck, Paul,,I could do that,,and as soon as my home lake freezes over sufficent to bear my weight,,and that of my truck,,with heater running,,I'm going to...lol

Just kidding,,of course, but I agree with much you have said, and on the upswing, it seems to me that crappie tend to school by size, ie: simular in size...I must say that your approach is well thought out, it has the ring of authority gained from countless hours spent in persuit of the wonderful,,crappie.

blueultra2
12-27-2011, 09:25 AM
I'm not sure that I agree that they school by size. I've seen plenty of schools go by while I'm sight fishing them through the ice and the size varies among the school. The channels I fish in during the winter have the crappies coming through at only a 1' below the ice. I'll see everything from a 5" to a 15" cruise by the hole.

http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn39/blueultra2/fd892f99.jpg

http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn39/blueultra2/bb0f6591.jpg

skiptomylu
12-27-2011, 11:44 AM
Most of my biggest crappie have come in spring and usually a little deeper than where most of the crappie I catch. I have caught some up to 17" in summer, but not as many as in spring. I have not fished the fall enough in the last several years, but long time back I use to catch some really big ones in fall as well. If my memory serves me right seems most of the ones in fall came when fishing hydrilla and water about 14' deep with big time drop offs close by ad I do mean big drops and very close.

Skip

xring
12-27-2011, 04:59 PM
I'm not sure that I agree that they school by size. I've seen plenty of schools go by while I'm sight fishing them through the ice and the size varies among the school. The channels I fish in during the winter have the crappies coming through at only a 1' below the ice. I'll see everything from a 5" to a 15" cruise by the hole.

http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn39/blueultra2/fd892f99.jpg

http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn39/blueultra2/bb0f6591.jpg

I'm assumeing,,since the crappie are shallow that there is no deep water in that body of water...where I am fishing now, my home lake, I have seen them move from 10-15' deep to 25-30' deep in the past two weeks.still holding on breaks next to deep water,,.the water temp is 46 degrees right now,,and in the past,,for them to school up tight in the winter pattern, the water temp needs to drop about 4 more degrees..

blueultra2
12-27-2011, 05:47 PM
I'm assumeing,,since the crappie are shallow that there is no deep water in that body of water...where I am fishing now, my home lake, I have seen them move from 10-15' deep to 25-30' deep in the past two weeks.still holding on breaks next to deep water,,.the water temp is 46 degrees right now,,and in the past,,for them to school up tight in the winter pattern, the water temp needs to drop about 4 more degrees..

The lake that I fish has a max depth of 77' and I would say that the average depth is probably 25-30' deep. Every winter they come in from the bay and school up and down the channels. They'll go back and forth from the channel to the bay several times a day.

xring
12-27-2011, 05:56 PM
That is strange to me, we have some shallow lakes and its not unusual to catch nice crappie in january in a couple of feet of water, but I was assuming that that was happening because there was no depth to the lake, no more comfortable water temps to be found...apparently, my assumptions were not well founded. We have roaving schools of fish,,normally suppended at 10 to 15' and they are moving, catch one or two and they are gone. Earlier in the winter,,say a month ago,,we were catching some as shallow as a few feet deep....but not now.. Thanks for your reply.

Legato
12-29-2011, 09:21 AM
Im from Indiana also, my best crappie was 15 1/2 inches. But, I have never seen another around me :D

EnonEye
12-29-2011, 04:00 PM
Interesting post.. my PB here was 14 1/2 this year so I'm of course now looking next year for the 15 but IMO you'd have to got to a large bodied and deep lake to find one that would live long enough to get that big here in the north. I have seem a few who've posted of 16's and 17's around the area here but no pics so I think they're catching white bass.:biggrin Good luck to ya... that next half inch or so is what makes chasing craps so intriging to me (besides of course the good eats).

feelay
12-29-2011, 05:39 PM
My clients caught these today. Pic is our 4 biggest. Today was a mediocre day...Smallest of the 4 is 15 1/4, largest was 16 3/4 and weighed 3.1 lbs. Fish were 6'-8' deep 10' to 12' water.

76951