Crappie fishing can be feast or famine

By Don Ingram  
   Crappie fishing in the summer can be feast or famine.
   By following a few simple tips, an angler can eliminate unproductive water and catch fish under several conditions.
   When crappie fishing in the summer, several things must be considered before determining areas to fish. What is the water temperature? Is the water level rising, dropping, or stable? What has the weather been like the last few days and what will it be the next couple of days?
   I typically use 7’0 G-Loomis spinning rods and Shimano reels rigged with thirty pound P-Line braided line during the summer months. The braided line allows you to bend the hook and not break off when fishing deeper water.
   Answers to simple questions like these will help determine where, how, and even what fishing technique to begin using.
   First, what is the water temperature?
   Fish are creatures of their environment and must adapt to the changing temperature. A crappie’s metabolism increases and decreases with the water temperature.
   When the water temperature is warm, crappie will have to eat more to sustain their metabolism because they will burn more energy. Anglers can move quickly through an area searching for crappie and not run the risk of fishing past a large school of fish.
   The key to catching crappie in the summer is determining the depth the fish are using.
   Second, is the water level fluctuating?
   In rising water, crappie move toward the banks to new cover. In falling water, crappie position in ditches, depressions, or river and creek channels that provide deeper water for security. If the water has been stable, crappie tend to scatter and an angler will only catch one or two fish from a piece of cover.
   Third, what has the weather been like the past few days?
   How crappie relate to weather conditions is complicated because they may not react the same way to the same weather conditions on any given day.
   Generally, the best time to catch any type of game fish is just before the weather changes. Crappie use the cloud cover and low light conditions associated with a front to feed.
   If you are angling before a front, fish quickly, thoroughly, and look at several different areas. Anglers understanding how crappie react to changing conditions can maximize their time during the day to locate fish.
   Sitting in one area and hoping the fish come to you is just a waste of time. It may be a good way to spend the afternoon with a friend, but it is not a good way to catch fish.

Don Ingram publishes an outdoor article entitled “Outdoors with Don Ingram” that is printed in various publications throughout Kentucky. He is a two-time All-American qualifier. Don has been very successful competing in tournaments in Kentucky and Tennessee. He has appeared on numerous outdoor television programs like, “Kentucky Afield,” Walmart’s “Great Outdoors,” and “Outdoors with Dave Shuffett,” aired on the Outdoor Life Network and the Outdoor Channel. Don is a Pro Staffer for the following companies: Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Shimano G-Loomis Rods, Bandit Bait Company, Prowler Soft Plastics, Mustad, Optima Batteries, Lunker Lure, and P-Line.

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