This is part two of a 3-part series on spring fishing hot spots for crappie. Read Part 1, catching crappies in Cabin Creek.
The mouth of the Kentucky River is at mile 545.8. This relatively small tributary, immediately below Carrollton, is a great, early spring crappie fishery. The traditional late March and early April rains wash trees and bushes into its waters. Much of it collects along the bank.
The trees and brush attract bugs and insects as they decay. They, in turn, attract small minnows and baitfish. The crappies aren’t far behind. And so, if you want to catch Kentucky River crappies, fish the trees and the brush along the bank. Fishing this stuff isn’t difficult but it does take some experience and the right attitude.
First, not all trees and bushes are created equal. The newer ones, with a little greenery on them, are by far the best. The theory is that the decaying greenery attracts bugs and insects which in turn attract small baitfish. The small baitfish then attract the larger predator fish such as crappies. Whether that’s right or wrong is arguable. What isn’t arguable is that crappies hide under them.
At times the crappies seem to prefer the outside bends where the water is deeper. But on other days the shallow, inside bends produce best. There’s no rhyme or reason to this so fish both until you find where they’re hiding the day you can go fishing.
Regardless of where it’s located, however, the best way to fish the greenery is with minnows — the smaller the better. Most anglers fish them under a small, quill style float. They toss the rig into the treetop’s thickest parts and let the minnow swim around. Others like to tight-line their offerings. Either way, the strategy is the same; get your bait into the thickest part of the tree you can and keep it there for as long as you can.
But getting them to bite is only half the battle. After that, you’ve got to figure a way to get them out of that tangled mess and into your boat. Heavy line will help some. The water’s dark and dingy most of the time so heavy line won’t affect your bite. This is also a good place for some of the newer fluorocarbons.
Light, thin-wire hooks are another option. If the fish does get hung you can often pull the hook out with moderate sized line. True you’ll loose the fish but at least you’ll still have your rig.
No matter how you fish or with what take along a bag of hooks, a half-ton of split shots and plenty of line and bobbers. You’ll need them before the day is over.