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Max Online: 36273 @ 01/23/13 02:34 PM
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#11327255 - 01/06/16 04:31 PM Let's Talk Winter Crappie
Ken Gaby Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/08/07
Posts: 2593
Loc: Belton, TX
We've all got our opinion and theories about these fish we love to chase and catch.

Back years ago when I chased all kinds of fish, my thought was crappie in the winter went deep when the water got cold (and I had no idea what that meant temp wise) and were rather dormant. Years later, I think the only part I got right was "went deep." Now, I'm of the opinion that crappie eat a lot of shad during the winter and aren't dormant at all. Winter just may be their heaviest feeding time. Not sure how cold the water must get before they actually get lethargic. I know shad start dying off at about 39 degrees, but I'm not sure that hurts the crappie. Reason I think winter is the heavy feeding time: have you ever caught a shinny crappie in the early spring? I think once they leave deep water to head to spawning areas, they eat very little until they finish what mother nature intended. Hence, the skinny crappie we catch post spawn some years when the cold fronts keep bumping the water temps down and interrupting the spawn.

What's y'alls opinion/theory?
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#11327274 - 01/06/16 04:42 PM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: Ken Gaby]
fishin'aholic2 Online   content
TFF Guru

Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 13146
Loc: Irving, Texas
One thing I have noticed lately (since it really cooled off the last week and a half or so) at Grapevine is that their feeding windows seem to be very short. Most if not all of the fish that I have cleaned recently have had at least one shad in their bellies. I know the fish are there but getting them to bite has been an issue. Not sure if it is related to the colder water but that is what I have noticed. As far as the skinny post spawn crappie, a lot of their belly bulge comes from their eggs (well females).. so when they spawn those eggs they get skinny.
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#11327280 - 01/06/16 04:44 PM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: Ken Gaby]
dwmoore Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 4160
Loc: teague,tx
Bill Dance had a show on the other day how water temp affects fish .On thing he said that made me think is that there digestive system slows way down the colder it gets.Still eatin but not digesting hence huge bellies.Why can't we get a fish biologist on this forum ?Why can't we ask the folks in the know instead of guessing ?Darrell
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#11327329 - 01/06/16 05:05 PM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: Ken Gaby]
Slewfoot Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/27/02
Posts: 2462
Loc: E Texas
More I fish for em the less I know about em!! Maybe little man can fill me in!! roflmao

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#11327345 - 01/06/16 05:12 PM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: Ken Gaby]
Ken Gaby Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/08/07
Posts: 2593
Loc: Belton, TX
For skinny, I'm talking thickness across the back. Two years ago when we had multiple cold fronts in the spring and the spawn seemed to stretch into May, there were lots of complaints about how bad the crappie looked. That complaint was coming from Alabama to Texas. Fish didn't look healthy and their overall weight was down.
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A life without God is like an unsharpened pencil, it has no point. Billy Graham
http://www.proanglertackle.com Best crappie and catfish rods/reels
http://www.crazyanglertackle.com Premium crappie baits and jig tying accessories
www.thermoclinelures.com / "Helping YOU catch MORE & LARGER fish!"
http://www.beereadys.com World's Best Rod Holders

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#11327372 - 01/06/16 05:23 PM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: Ken Gaby]
Beltonbanger® Online   shocked
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 2531
Loc: Temple,Tx,USA
Hey Ken.....what about a year like this? I wonder if the water temps will even hit 55°, the temp you should start seeing them move up. Generally the water temps are in the mid to upper 40s this time of year!

Here are a few Yankee thangs!!! Lethargic is an ice fishing bite! Very light lines, floats and baits, only detecting the slightest bite..........still catch FAT fish. Up north, you catch some of the biggest crappie and bream under ice. Your theory on crappie winter feeding is point on in my opinion!

Interesting............????

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#11327417 - 01/06/16 05:51 PM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: Ken Gaby]
Harleyrockstar Online   content
Angler

Registered: 01/30/15
Posts: 265
Loc: Leander
I have yet to figure out a winter bite. Going to try my luck on Lake Austin Friday and will give a report. Have struck out on Georgetown and Granger this winter already.

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#11327453 - 01/06/16 06:16 PM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: Ken Gaby]
Ken Gaby Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/08/07
Posts: 2593
Loc: Belton, TX
Bill, with these last two weeks of cold temps, the water in Belton on Monday morning was 52.8-53.9. Finally beginning to get to winter temps. Before that, temps were holding near 60 and that wasn't cold enough to make the shad head for deep water. With fresh water coming in most lakes and warmer than usual water temps, fish were scattered all over the lakes. Things are changing now.
_________________________
A life without God is like an unsharpened pencil, it has no point. Billy Graham
http://www.proanglertackle.com Best crappie and catfish rods/reels
http://www.crazyanglertackle.com Premium crappie baits and jig tying accessories
www.thermoclinelures.com / "Helping YOU catch MORE & LARGER fish!"
http://www.beereadys.com World's Best Rod Holders

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#11328020 - 01/06/16 09:49 PM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: Ken Gaby]
Tony from Oak Point Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/23/05
Posts: 2150
Loc: DFW, Texas
I agree that winter is heavy feeding time. I've seen it on my graph and on underwater video how crappie will school around very aggressively in 51 degree water.

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#11328054 - 01/06/16 09:55 PM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: Ken Gaby]
TexExp Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/13/10
Posts: 1346
Loc: Lake Lavon

Good thread Ken! Thanks.

Yep, agree. They put on the feed bag.
These were caught in the last few weeks out in the main lake roaming around with hybrids chasing shad. Not sure how you would ever target these guys in the open water like that.






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#11328402 - 01/07/16 06:43 AM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: Ken Gaby]
OkieBob Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 01/11/05
Posts: 4153
Loc: Dickson, OK
I've often wondered what the temp gradient is in any lake? By that I mean the temperature from top to bottom.
Does it very 5 degrees from the surface to the bottom at 20' depth? Or how does it vary?
I know I can see, what I believe are crappie stacked close to the bottom in deep water but, have no way to know the water temp they are holding at.
When I was in the Navy, I worked on a system that measured temp and pressure with a device dropped over the side and lowered several thousand feet. So there has to be a way to do it.
How does this relate to Ken's question? I don't know but, I think it does.
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#11328450 - 01/07/16 07:17 AM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: OkieBob]
The Crappie Guy Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 5093
Loc: HV, TX and Lake Fork
Hands down, the winter is my favorite time for crappie fishing. It's about the only time of the year that crappie don't necessarily relate to structure. And yes, it is my opinion that crappie feed heavily during the winter as evidenced by watching crappie suspend just below schools of shad in colder water. Crappie are also opportunist when it comes to feeding. Colder water slows down metabolisms in both game fish and bait fish, thereby allowing crappie a much easier meal to obtain. Gotta love winter time crappie fishing thumb
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#11328509 - 01/07/16 07:51 AM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: Ken Gaby]
shut-up-and-fish Online   content
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 02/08/10
Posts: 9491
Loc: Coppell Tx.

All though they mention ice fishing in the article, it gets me wondering. Cold water is cold water weather there is ice or no ice. I have discussed with other anglers lately and have found that crappie adapt to water temp and not all crappie go deep. In fact some of the largest crappie are caught shallow in the coldest of temps and not necessarily in creeks but in areas you would most likely pass on in the winter.

I found this article to be interesting:

http://www.in-fisherman.com/panfish/crappie-black-or-white/understanding-winter-crappies/
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#11328523 - 01/07/16 08:01 AM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: Ken Gaby]
Buz Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 02/26/14
Posts: 94
Loc: Frisco, Texas
The reason l enjoy this forum, are discussions like this one. For a novice fisherman like myself, I consider this excellent background information.....Thanks Ken....

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#11328591 - 01/07/16 08:37 AM Re: Let's Talk Winter Crappie [Re: Buz]
HooknSlabs35 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 01/09/12
Posts: 140
Loc: Burleson, TX
Originally Posted By: Buz
The reason l enjoy this forum, are discussions like this one. For a novice fisherman like myself, I consider this excellent background information.....Thanks Ken....


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