It’s time to break out the filet knife and warm up the grease, right now is Crappie time in Oklahoma. Longer days, warming water and spring rains will trigger untold numbers of tasty Crappie to head shallow over the next several weeks. Spring is certainly not the only time to catch Crappie but it can be some of the easiest fishing of the year if you hit it right. At times fish can be found within easy reach of bank fisherman and if you put on a pair of waders or get into a float tube or boat you can have even more access to the schools of fish staging just out from their shallow water spawning areas.
Where to Go, What to Look For
Oklahoma is blessed with some of the best Crappie fishing in the country, large reservoirs, small municipal lakes and farm ponds are all likely to hold catchable populations of Crappie. There are several resources on-line that can get you headed to the right body of water if you take the time to surf around. Some of the more popular lakes are Eufaula, Fort Cobb, Thunderbird, Canton, Chickasha, Sardis, to name a few.
When you get to your destination be sure look for the types of structure that can be magnets for spring time Crappie; natural or riprap rock, standing timber, lay downs, docks, boat ramps, even reeds and gravel beds can offer up the type of cover that these fish look for.
What to Use
If you are not confident in the area you are fishing I would suggest keeping it simple and staying mobile until fish are located. A couple of light or ultra light action spinning or spin-cast style rods with 4-8 pound test is a good start. I usually have one rod set up for casting and another rod set up for vertical jigging or live bait. If you don’t get bit in 30-45 minutes move to another likely looking area. Small tubes or jigs in 1/32, 1/16 and 1/8 ounce are the norm. As far a color goes the possibilities are endless, Crappie fisherman can be fanatical about color combinations. Some local favorite combinations are black/pink, black/chartreuse, blue/white, and white/yellow. You can fish these jigs single or tandem with one tied about 12-16 inches above the other. Some guys will also use a float to keep their artificial offerings at a specific depth. Artificial bait can be very effective; however, there are times when nothing can beat a minnow on a bobber, live bait should definitely not be over looked when you are Crappie fishing. Regardless of what method you go with depth can be the deciding factor between catching fish or not, play around with your retrieve or cork depth until you find the right combination, Crappie are notorious for suspending midway through the water column and normally will not travel far to take your offerings.
Don’t forget the fish fry!!!