Posts Tagged ‘crappies’
3 Great Spring Crappie Spots – Louisville

This is part three of a 3-part series on spring fishing hot spots for crappie. Read Part 1, catching crappies in Cabin Creek and Part 2, catching crappies in the Carrollton KY area.

The McAlpine Locks and Dam is at mile 606.8. That’s right in the heart of Louisville and right in the heart of some really good crappie fishing. The best fishing extends from a short mile upstream to a long mile downstream from the main dam. Catches of 100 fish a day, or more in some cases, are common from late March through the first part of May.

There really aren’t one or two good spots to highlight here. It’s a patchwork of swirling water around scores of rock piles, humps, old dam structures, drift piles and manmade structure in the area. Launch your boat at one of the public or private ramps in the area and look for a fishy spot. Then go to work.

Traditional fishing methods produce best if you want to catch high numbers of fillet size fish. A small minnow, hung under a bobber and held down with a tiny split shot is about all it takes. Toss it out and let it drift with the current around the area you have chosen to fish.

If you’re willing to settle for a handful of bigger crappies try small jigs, twister tails or tiny in-line spinners. They all catch the bigger fish. Bright, shad imitating colors seem to work best. The area is snag infested so take along several and fish with heavy line if you plan to fish all day.

Regardless of what you’re looking for, however, keep in mind that these are river fish. They behave differently than their reservoir brethren. Forget that important fact and you’ll likely go home empty handed.

First, and perhaps most importantly, they don’t school by size. In fact, they really don’t school at all. They’ll bunch up in certain places at certain times but it’s misnomer to call that grouping a school. They’re more accurately described as individual fish holding in a favorable place under favorable conditions.

As such, it’s likely that you’ll catch a couple of good ones from a spot and then the size will go to heck or the bite will drop off completely. When that happens move to another spot and come back later. The bite is likely to be better if you let the spot rest for a few minutes.

Why they do this, remains a mystery known only to the fish. Maybe they turn off or maybe they move in and out, plenty of anglers will argue either side. Whatever the reason, a short rest is often an effective stringer filling strategy.

Second, they won’t often be found in deep water. They hold shallow — many times in water less than 6 inches deep — and generally don’t move regardless of changes in the weather. When the bite gets tough it’s not because they have moved, it’s because they aren’t biting.

A word of caution is in order here. This is a place of swift and unforgiving currents. They change direction and intensity on a moments notice. They can be deadly. Don’t fish in this area if you are an inexperienced river boater, remain vigilant at all times and never — not for any reason — remove your life jacket.

3 Great Spring Crappie Spots – The Kentucky River (Carrollton)

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.

3 Great Spring Crappie Spots

The weather is finally starting to clear. That’s good news. Because of all the wet weather we’ve been having over the last month or so the spring crappie fishing has been delayed. There should be another three or four weeks of good fishing left.

Over the next week and a half we’ll post information on three of the better spots along our area of the river. Give them a try. You just might be glad you did.

FYI: These areas also produce nice catches of largemouth bass.

Cabin Creek (Maysville)

About 5 miles upstream from Maysville, you’ll find Cabin Creek (mile 403). The entrance is alongside the Dravo Corporation facility. This creek winds its way back, into the hills of northern Kentucky for several miles, depending upon water levels.

Cabin Creek generally runs south and so both banks tend to get a lot of sun early and late in the day. Because of this the water will warm quickly in the spring. Depending upon the weather crappie fishing usually begins around the end of February or the first part of March. On a good year the action will last into May.

The first spot, and arguably the best for high numbers of 8 and 9 inchers, in the creek is at the hard, left-hand turn it makes about 3/8 of a mile from the mouth. There’s a deep wash-out on the right side of this turn that almost always attracts a lot of brush and drift. It also attracts a lot of crappies.

In low water conditions there’ll only be a foot or two of water here. When the water’s up there may be four or five feet under your boat. Either way, a good stringer of crappies can be had if you fish patiently and thoroughly. The crappies hold tight under the cover and won’t move very far to feed.

To reach them most anglers dunk minnows on a tight line rig — no bobber — and allow them to swim under the canopy of the debris at will. Usually, if the crappies are in a cooperative mood, they’ll bite within a few minutes. Sometimes a small, flashy bead just above the hook will get their attention.

Another great technique here is to float a jig under a bobber with the current. Allow this rig to drift past the edge of any debris you can find. Let the bobber bump against the wood as it drifts along. This’ll impart a subtle and lifelike, early season action to your lure.

Just a couple of hundred yards further upstream, on the left, is a long row of stumps and overhanging brush. It’s also a good place to fish. Again, tight-lined minnows and small jigs are the ticket.

Adventurous anglers may want to travel several miles to the very back of this creek, however. At the end there’s a small cut that’ll allow you to enter an equally small slough. This area is well-known for low numbers of big fish.

Most local anglers fish this slough with tiny in-line spinners or small twister tails on leadheads. Casting accuracy is a necessity here. The cover is thick and the trees hang nearly to the water’s surface.

I’ll give you two additional hot spots in the coming week, check back for those!