• River Channel Crappies by SlabsRus

    When I woke this morning at 6:30, I had no intentions of going fishing. I was scheduled to work at 4:00 pm, so I planned on just sitting around and enjoying a relaxing morning at home. But, as any true angler knows, plans of not going fishing can change at the drop of a hat, or, the opening of the curtains.

    At 7:30 I decided to open the curtains for the day. The clear blue morning sky greeted my eyes as I looked out our living window. The leaves in the oak trees in our yard were motionless, except for the occasional rustling caused by four gray squirrels enjoying their morning frolic. The temperature was in the fifties, and was expected to rise only into the upper seventies. With a calm, clear, cool day staring me in the face, and nothing in particular to do for at least six hours, it really would have been wrong for me to not go fishing, so I loaded up my kayak and was at the boat launch by 8:30.

    I initially planned on fishing the lake I live just a couple blocks from, but when I arrived at the launch on the north end of the lake, and looked out onto the calm waters of the largest inland lake in the state, something just didn't feel right. I don't know what it was, but I am a firm beliver in following those feelings. I sat there staring out my windshield, wondering what to do. And then it hit me. A small lake was just fifteen miles away, and images of slab crappies hiding in the weed and stump filled waters had taken over my wondering mind.

    When I arrived at the boat launch at the small flooding, I was surprised by low water. Stumps that were normally submerged, were sticking up a foot or two above the surface of the water. Swamp grass and reeds had taken over the majority of the flooding, and aside from pockets among the emergent vegetation, the only open water was that of the river channel. There was still three or four feet of water in areas that I normally catch good crappies and bluegills this time of year, but with the water being low, the weeds had a lot of those areas choked off and virtually unfishable for my style of fishing.

    As I looked out at the weed filled water, I contemplated heading home, but once again I had a feeling, and it told me to just go ahead and fish. So I eased my kayak into the water and surveyed the situation as I slowly paddled toward the river channel. I hadn't gone far before my mind was made up, and I decided to specifically target crappies. I figured I would be able to find them somewhere in, or near, the deepest water areas, and having fished that little lake for the better part of the past 40 years, I knew the river channel would definitely be the deepest water. Even with the water being low, I thought the river channel should still be at least eight to ten feet deep, and would provide plenty of water and weed edges to hold crappies.
    Once I made it to the open water, and lowered one of my micro jigs to the bottom to confirm the depth was at least eight feet, I just sat for a moment and looked at the up and down stream sections of the river channel. I was looking for irregularities in the weedline that bordered the open water, as past experience has showed me that those areas are often where crappies hang out, and right away I noticed several areas where lily pads were four or five feet out in the open water, away from the main line of reeds and swamp grass that bordered the channel. With that I had a starting point. The rest I would try to figure out as I went along.

    I approached the first set of lily pads very quietly from the deep water side in the river channel. I went about 20 feet to the side of the pads so that I was able to cast parallel with the weed line that bordered channel, and run my micro jig just to the outside of the small patch of lilies. When my jig was just about in front of the pads, I felt a little thump, followed by the typical dead weight of a crappie. I raised my rod tip up and away, and the crappie finally realized it was hooked. A nice slab headed directly to the open water river channel, and after a brief fight, it was at the side of my kayak and in my hand. It was a beautiful eleven inch speck and set the tone for a great morning of fishing.

    Every lily pad that was three to five feet into the river channel away from the main weed line, and had cabbage weed or coontail with it was holding crappies, and they were good ones. I released two ten to thirteen inch crappie for everyone that I kept, and even managed to put a couple nine inch bluegills on my stringer.

    Before I knew it there was a dozen fat crappies and bluegills on my stringer and I was happy to call it quits after a great morning of catching river channel crappies.

    Comments 14 Comments
    1. skeetbum's Avatar
      skeetbum -
      Good post and great pics. That's a good morning fishing, glad you changed your mind and went.
    1. Eagle 1's Avatar
      Eagle 1 -
      nice read and catch .
    1. Dave and Lynn's Avatar
      Dave and Lynn -
      Good read and good catch.
    1. LouisianaFishNut's Avatar
      LouisianaFishNut -
      Thanks for sharing that story. I was reading along and could actually 'see' the lily pads in the channel...Enjoyed it.
    1. brucec's Avatar
      brucec -
      Slabsrus congratulations on another secussful fishing trip.
    1. Billbob's Avatar
      Billbob -
      good day
    1. scrat's Avatar
      scrat -
      Wow! Nice stringer of fish. Thanks for sharing the report and pictures.
    1. RetiredRR's Avatar
      RetiredRR -
      It would have been a winner of a day with those temps to begin with, but the crappies were icing on the cake. Congrats on a nice stringer of slabs.
    1. Frank Cecil's Avatar
      Frank Cecil -
      Great story. And nice fish
    1. Ketchn's Avatar
      Ketchn -
      beautiful fish and water as well ......nice read ....
    1. "G"'s Avatar
      "G" -
      Good catch
    1. "D"'s Avatar
      "D" -
      You been having some good "feelings" lately.
    1. Tony the Tiger's Avatar
      Tony the Tiger -
      Makes me want to get a Kayak but my back couldn't take it Great read, thanks
    1. Crappie ciller's Avatar
      Crappie ciller -
      Very very fun read and even better pictures! Thanks.
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