Author Topic: Small crappie, where are the bigger ones?  (Read 479 times)

Offline Fishermanbt

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Small crappie, where are the bigger ones?
« on: 08/17/23 13:13 UTC »
I have put many hours in this year to crappie fishing. Something I said I wanted to do in a past post. I have gone after it breaking things down in chunks. For example, really getting to know my fish finder, reading the water column, bait/color selection, fishing different areas/structures of the lake, weather conditions and the list goes on.
I’m definitely finding the critters. Last Saturday I caught well over 40. I’m just not finding any with size to them. Most are in the 6-8” range with the occasional 10”. I’ve only had 2 this year that were 12”. My home lake is a renowned bass lake that is pretty narrow with plenty of standing timber, coves, points and some rock, but mostly a red clay bottom. Many of the deep spots are 40’ and the average is 15-30 with an old creek channel. I would say 90% of the fish I’m finding at present with water temps in the upper 70’s-low 80’s are all holding at 10-15’ in 20-40’ water. Some are on submerged timber while others are near drop offs. Very few are now being found in less than 15’ water depth. Beaver huts are not producing at all.
Any suggestions as to what I’m doing wrong or might do differently to locate bigger crappie?  Years past it was common place to catch mostly 10-12” fish and lots of them. I’ve tried YouTube for ideas but mostly just videos showing off high end electronics and/or them catching fish.

Offline ctom

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Re: Small crappie, where are the bigger ones?
« Reply #1 on: 08/17/23 16:56 UTC »
I think this year has created issues that none of us are accustomed to. The heat level of your lake may have fish holding just above the thermocline over mid-laker deep holes during the daytime hours, venturing into shallower feeding water during the night. Maybe try fishing in the very early morning, or in the evening just an hour prior to and into the dark. Points that have breaklines and ledges jutting out into real deep water could hold fish during lower light times.

I don't think you are doing anything wrong. We are seeing water temps in the upper 70's here at home and crappies can be caught but none of the really decent fish that we know are available. The forage that crappies use right now will drive the crappies as to where and when they can be caught. Just understanding that the big crappies do things different from the smaller crappies in any given body of water. If you are seeing smaller fish, try up-sizing your bait/jig and search the water either above or below where the smaller are being caught. Shade on the water can be a huge factor during the daytime hours when it's hot. It's not unusual for us to find nothing along a tree trunk extending down into 30 feet of water on the side the sun is hitting while catching fish 180 degrees around the trunk off the shaded side. Even shade created on the water's surface in wide open, featureless, water has held fish for us instead of the sunlit side of the water. Shaded water might be two or three degrees cooler and could be where to forage find some relief from the hotter open water without shade.

As I mentioned early on, this years extraordinary weather extremes has put the fish in a whole new gear for us and I'd assume that this is the same just about everywhere. The fish still need to feed and I'd bet that the weather swings have put the forage in turmoil. Find the forage, figure out where and when the forage moves or isa located and sooner or later you'll figure out a system to catch the decent crappies.
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Offline Fishermanbt

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Re: Small crappie, where are the bigger ones?
« Reply #2 on: 08/17/23 19:01 UTC »
Thank you for the info. Some good points to maul over and figure out to apply them. Those flutter jigs have been all the crappie want to eat. I might have to break out the do it blade jig and see if they want a super sized meal.

Offline Marc

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Re: Small crappie, where are the bigger ones?
« Reply #3 on: 08/18/23 04:30 UTC »
How big is the lake you are on?  I fish some smaller to mid-size lakes, and the crappies are cyclical.  The year class of larger size fish could be smaller, or get fished down.  I fished an 850 acre lake this week that 10 years ago was great, but the crappie numbers are just down right now.

If you are catching good numbers is a good sign.  I like plastics all year long - and up-sizing may be a good idea - I really like the Do-it 2.5" Crappie Fluke for this.  It's big enough it keeps dinkers down a bit, but not too big.

Offline Fishermanbt

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Re: Small crappie, where are the bigger ones?
« Reply #4 on: 08/18/23 05:52 UTC »
The lake encompasses 2,630 acres and averages 15’ deep. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_Jackson_Lake
Don’t get me wrong, I’m having a blast catching numbers. Plastics for the most part quit getting consistently bit early summer. I was catching numbers on the crappie fluke, 2” curly tail, and a knock off power nymph. Then the numbers were more on marabou jigs, and now metal jigs. I’ve caught a few over deep water trolling small lipless cranks and diver rapalas. Since it is a pretty narrow lake in most spots it’s just to dangerous to be out in the main channel in a kayak with the big boys and the jet skis. So I’m a bit limited there. When I do get out to graph and fish the main lake I’m usually out there between 1:00am-4:00am and move into a no wake zone when traffic picks up.
« Last Edit: 08/18/23 05:55 UTC by Fishermanbt »

Offline Les Young

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Re: Small crappie, where are the bigger ones?
« Reply #5 on: 08/20/23 08:35 UTC »
You want to talk little crappie? I caught several Friday night that the 15Lb. braid looked almost as thick in a pic i took   as the fish did literally. About 6" long & i swear they weren't over 3'8" thick & would knock the crap out of it.  :D
« Last Edit: 08/20/23 08:37 UTC by Les Young »

Offline Les Young

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Re: Small crappie, where are the bigger ones?
« Reply #6 on: 08/20/23 08:38 UTC »
See what i mean? lol

Offline Fishermanbt

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Re: Small crappie, where are the bigger ones?
« Reply #7 on: 08/20/23 14:30 UTC »
Above suggestions much appreciated. Started out at 2:00am having to rely on my depth finder way points due to fog. Dropped the crappie light over the front of the kayak and started jigging deep water with the do it crappie fluke in MF cutthroat trout color. It was game on today!

I boated 101 crappie most being 10-11”. As a bonus I hooked, fought, and lost a low 30” musky on my ultralight with an 1 1/2” metal jig. Almost to the boat and he went airborne and threw the bait. Not a single nick in my line

Offline Les Young

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Re: Small crappie, where are the bigger ones?
« Reply #8 on: 08/20/23 18:41 UTC »
Sounds like a pretty nice trip.