View Full Version : Catching Crappie in HOT weather, huge lake?

07-18-2006, 08:34 PM
Where to start with a question like this.:o

We are fishing in Smith Lake, North central Alabama. A HUGE lake with lot's of cuts n' valleys.

Where do we start learning to find these fish?
In the shallows?
Find some Deep water?
The old stream beds or valleys?

I've been told that the brght Green jigs are good in the winter. Where they work, he didn't say.
If Green is good in the winter, is it also good in the hot days of July and August?

Gimmie yer best advice.....and I might use some of it!

07-19-2006, 02:36 AM
Check at the points and any submerged timber in deeper water. I grew up fishing on Cave Run lake here in Kentucky and that is what seemed to work the best for us. Hope this helps good luck to ya.:)

07-19-2006, 07:25 AM
man made or natural structure in or close to the main creek channel. I hope this helps!

07-19-2006, 10:39 AM
Well then....two experts agree, I should be looking for structure, deep, near a point.;)

So I'm going to assume 'deep' means 20 to 40 feet of water.
Structure, would be a Rock outcropping, of something similar.
My Fish finder probably wont show me a Tree, or a bunch of rip-rap. It would all look like bottom.

Will I be using Jigs or Minnows?

If it's Minnows, then a Jig of White or bright Gray should also work.
Small spoons too.
How about the Spinner baits? Do they work way down deep?

Another question on the 'Bite'. Should I set the hook as soon as I feel the bite?
Some Bass fishermen say to let the Bass have a little line before you set the hook if you are using plastic. Are Crappie the same?

07-19-2006, 10:48 AM
tight line just above the fish . if you feel something set the hook . not like a bass or you might rip it out of a crappie n`s mouth . just a soft steady pull and no slack line

J White
07-19-2006, 11:08 AM
From my one and only trip over to that part of the world...
I'd say you'd better learn how to shoot docks :)

07-19-2006, 12:09 PM
Do you have a gps? Alabama Power, through its Habitat Enhancement program, has put hundreds of Christmas trees into Smith Lake and records the gps coordinates.
Go to www.southernco.com/hydro/fishing; click on Alabama Power; click on Lakes and Recreation;on the left click on 'choose a dam', then choose a topic 'fishing', then submit. Click on Excel spreadsheet.

Darryl Morris
07-19-2006, 03:03 PM
Bottomline, the crappie are going to hold in any area that gives them the most comfort and protection in any given season. Water temp and oxygen level will determine their comfort and cover and structure is key to their protection. Crappie love water temps in the 60's and low 70's which holds an adequate amount of oxygen -- their comfort zone. Structure is underwater geograph -- channels, points, ledges, flats, etc. -- and cover is what sits on top of the structure -- brushpiles, log jams, laydowns, crappie condos, man-made fish habs, etc. Remember, we are reading surface temps and not temps at or below the thermocline or in deeper channels.

Therefore, depending on your particular lake find the right depth of water where the crappie would be most comfortable and then find the cover in those zones. Between the two you put a pattern together and then you should be on the fish or at least that's a good place to start. The dog days of summer are the toughest of all but they will certainly surprise you sometimes.

This pic is from the 7th of July and we only caught two crappie but one of them was the longest my boat has ever caught. She weighed 2lbs6ozs. and was 18" long. She was caught in about 18' of water in a brushpile near a dock just off the main channel of the lake at about 12' deep. Surface water temp was 84 if I remember correctly.


And two days later we did better on the crappie fishing in very near the same pattern, but on points just off secondary channels.


No matter what, the summer season is tough and definitely a never know till you go situation. Keep after them, love doing it and always protect your right to do so. Think like crappie, be the crappie, LOL. Have a good time and I hope some of this rambling mess helps.

07-19-2006, 04:42 PM
Have to agree with DM. I found the depth the crappie were holding and found cover at that depth and it was no problem catching a limit of keepers. All caught on jig and nibbles.

07-19-2006, 10:55 PM
I made up a reply but it dissapeared???

Thanks for the link DHW. I'll use it.
I got out my GPS tonite. Dead batteries.
I'll have to rig up a +supply from the boat battery.

07-21-2006, 09:24 AM
Summer is one of the easiest times to catch crappie. The hotter the better. You need two things trees and fairly deep water 10-20 ft. Jig the trees the crappie will be there. Find creeks or coves with timber and brush, 2-8 ft. jig the brush just like you do in the spring, they will be there.

07-21-2006, 12:43 PM
LOL, I'm new to the south.

OK, I wrote your advice down.
This lake is so big, and so old, that we dont have much in the way of trees.
I'll have to go explore the lake, slowly cruising with the Depth finder. Locate the bottom's deep enough to hold cool water.
Then find the "Structure" near that Deep cut.

I decided to use Dark or Black Curly tails. Maybe White if the Black dont work.
Green and Chartruse has been suggested.
About two more days of Chores and I can get back to the serious business of learning to catch the Fish Fry!

I sure do appreciate all these reply's. Something's bound to stick with me from all this advice.:)

J White
07-21-2006, 12:49 PM
Didn't mean to be short with my advice on shooting docks, if it sounded
like that - but my trip to Neely-Henry, got my behind whooped up on by
guys shooting jigs up in under docks - that was a month or so ago, plenty

07-21-2006, 12:59 PM
Oh, thats OK, I got the right message J. I figured that's what you meant, although I thought you meant 'shooting Ducks' which in my case is another complete waste of time n' money.

I think we have folks that fish under docks as they cruise the lake. I never felt it was any kind of an insult.
I guy in Lake Charles Louisiana built a Fence around his Dock because it made him mad when other guys caught fish there.
There's lot's of fish. No reason to feel that way.

A couple more days of Chores and I'll be able to spend a lot of time on the water learning this crappie business.

Shoals area Crappie Assn. is where?

I've heard of Neely-Henry, but haven't been there yet. But then I dont have to travel very far to get skunked.

J White
07-21-2006, 02:38 PM
Shoals area Crappie Assn. is where?

Check over on the Alabama board, we've got our own "spot" on there,
meetings are at... David's house :D I think it is Muscle Shoals, but I get
confused 'cause Sheffield, Florence, Tuscumbia, Shoals all sort of run together if you ask me. Fish Pickwick, Wilson, Wheeler and more.