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Crappie Study/ Need Your Help

Beau Butler's picture

By Beau Butler - Posted on 01 July 2010

Have you ever wondered why "crappiei" are in certain places at certain times? I have and still do. We all know that crappie love our brush piles and stake beds because they provide cover for them and it's a good place to ambush food. However, some days they are there and others they are not. If it was just the stake bed or brush pile, they would be there all the time and we all know that just doesn't happen.
Curiosity has led myself and another biologist to start looking into this correlation a little deeper. ( I would like it to be known that I am NOT a Fisheries Biologist, but a Forest Biologist.) My partner in crime on this project is a retired Fisheries Biologist who simply wants to be known as Jay.
After spawn this year, we began to notice that people were catching crappie at water depths and at a temperature where crappie shouldn't be. We both to began to suspect that there was more to the correlation than just too hot to be there.
Conversations with other fisherman kept going back to why fish were in certain places on certain cover at different times.
We don't believe it is as simple as throwing down a brush pile or creating a stake bed and crappie will appear.
Over the next few weeks we will be collecting certain data that we hope will help us have a better understanding and as a result, catch more fish.
Thus, we are asking the help of the great crappie fishermen from Crappie 101.
Here's what we need from you:
1) water temperature at time of catch
2)Depth of water and approx. depth of catch
3) weather conditions-cloudy-clear-windy-calm
4) Stomach contents: When you clean your fish, try to determine if it is fish or insect. This is not always possible, as sometimes it' just a gray blob. But if you can determine even one fish out of 20, that would be a great help.

If you would, just post on this site. I will try to keep everyone updated.
Thanks and good fishing.

Ray's picture

Beau. Here is a video Charlie and I made at Bay Springs. You can see the tops are loaded with crappiei but it was nearly impossible to catch them. We finally figured out we could drop a little 1/96 jig down and get one to hit. After catching the first we could catch several pretty quick. Getting the first one to bite was the trick. This is the day I learned to the humminbird does not lie. We could see the crappie on the depth finder but could not catch one. Finally dropped the camera down and wow the crappie were everywhere.


Beau Butler's picture

Ray, That is an awsome video. Makes you wonder how many times we've passed them up.

KidCrappie's picture

Wow what an eye opener this video was. I always believed crappiei would bite if you found them. They did bite but you had to tease them into that mood. This makes me wonder how many fish I have left because I was not getting bit and thought what I was seeing on my sonar was not crappie. Crappie 101 is awesome as an educational tool.

Kid Crappie

danny malone's picture

Beau, partner and i went friday, 7/02. Weather was clear but not quiet as hot or humid, water temp was 84. We brought home 18 of which 12 were real nice 11/4-11/2 fish. Caught plenty of fish and started to release as we had a good mess. We were on water at daylight and came off at 12:00.Patrtner cleaned fish and i forgot to tell him to look at stomach. Fish were caught in 12 14 ft water fishing 5-6 ft deep. Most time only 2-3 fish to each spot but found one that had plenty of fish??? Beau, for your records the fish i catch will always be in cover as that's only way i fish, i just look for cover at different depth's and try to find fish.

Beau Butler's picture

Thanks Danny
Part of what we are working on is why certain cover holds fish, and the cover that to the human eye looks as good as the other, doesn't. We realize that is just part of crappie fishingi.
What really got us to thinking, along with some input from Jason Taylor, is why the fish are only holding from the edge of the cleared timber back into the timber only 50 yds or so.(Hugo Lake). If they were only set on ambushing shad there, the fish should be stacked there, and they aren't. You find a situation just like you are having, 2-4 fish in a place. When water depth, temp. and clarity appear the same, something else is taking place we can't see. That's what we are trying to find out. ( And yes, there will be some stump diving taking place so if anyone on Hugo sees a big whale swimming around some stumps, don't try to snag him.LOL)

danny malone's picture

beau, went yesterday, brought home 7 caught several more short fish missed a couple of keepers. Yesterday was cloudy and calm, of all things i caught one fish in 3 ft of water on stake bed, one fish at 6 ft in 10 ft water, rest of fish caught at 4ft in 6-10 ft of water. Only catch one or 2 fish any one place then might as well move. Now remember i'm river fishing (current) not lake or slough fishing. If you and Jay firgure it out i "want in" before book is published. lol.

Ray's picture

Beau this should be a great project. It will be very interesting to see what you guys figure out. I am all in and will begin reporting the data on the fish I catch weekend after next.


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Refers to releasing a smaller fish and replacing it with a larger one you have caught once you have reached your limit.

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