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#11507720 - 03/29/16 12:00 AM Finicky Spawn Bit
Bfail Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 1729
Loc: Austin
I've found a slough that has a decent crappie population in it and have been catching them from my kayak. Typically, I have a larger stringer than all of the other people fishing around me. I would assume the reason is that I'm moving and working a lot of structure in shallow water (1-2 ft) using artificials, while others are minnow fishing and not actively stalking.

Anyways, it seems like the bite turns on for an hour or two and I catch around 2 fish per brush pile (I try and fish every square inch of a brushpile.) After 2-3 hours it turns off. What I would like to know is, if they are in their spawning mode, shouldn't the action stay consistent if the fish are in the area? I would think if you find the crappie at this time, you could slay them all day.

Also, I'm a little puzzled by the size of the crappie. The males seem to be larger than the females in general, which I find odd. Most males are around 11-12 inches and most females barely push 10. Do the smaller females usually spawn first? Of the keepers, it is a 50/50 male-to-female ratio. I assume that means that the spawn is in full gear?

I know there are a lot of questions in the post, but I know this group is teaming with solid answers. cheers


Edited by Bfail (03/29/16 12:02 AM)
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#11508060 - 03/29/16 08:24 AM Re: Finicky Spawn Bit [Re: Bfail]
Ken Gaby Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/08/07
Posts: 2292
Loc: Belton, TX
Changing not only color but style/shape of bait can sometimes trigger another strike. But even though it's spawning time, the fish can turn off easily and not bite. When fish are shallow, little things affect them more easily like wind changes, cloud cover, noise, ect.
Bigger females sometimes move in first or at night. Not knowing the clarity of the water you're fishing, I'm going to suggest move a little deeper for the bigger females. Females may be holding at 3-5 FOW away from the males during the day. Bigger fish will spawn in deeper water than smaller fish.
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#11508098 - 03/29/16 08:36 AM Re: Finicky Spawn Bit [Re: Bfail]
Laner Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 2185
Loc: Joshua, TX
First, let me say that I like the way you are actively stalking fish. In my opinion, that is the only way to fish for crappie this time of year. Move until you find fish, catch the ones that are there, and move on quickly. There is no need to be patient right now, as the fish are very defensive and willing to strike much more aggressively than other times of the year.

Secondly, what you're experiencing is very normal. Typically speaking, even during the heat of the spawn, the fish will come shallow the first couple hours of the day, and the last hour or so of the day. Factors that can have some effect on the depth of fish are water clarity and cloud cover. If the water is murky and you're fishing on a cloudy day, the fish will remain shallow for a longer period of the day.

One aspect of your fishing that you may tinker with a little bit is your depth. If I know that I am where spawning fish are, and I'm not catching them in 2-3ft of water, I will back up to 6-8ft. If they are not in the 6-8ft range, I will back up to 10-12ft. This deeper water allows for less light penetration, and I believe, with my limited knowledge, that the fish will hold at this deeper range until the sunlight lessens, and they move back shallow.

As far as males to females go, I'm not sure why you're catching smaller females than males. Perhaps that is just the characteristics of the school you're fishing. I will say though that when I want to target trophy fish during the spawn (2lb plus females) I don't fish shallow. I find where the males are at, then move out to about 12-15ft. Almost always will I find my big girls waiting off in the deeper water for the males to get finished making the nests. The only time when I consistently catch big females shallow (less then six feet) is when I target the spawning grounds at night.

I hope this helps. Nothing is 100% true all the time, especially with crappie, but this is what I've found in my years on the water.
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#11508132 - 03/29/16 08:50 AM Re: Finicky Spawn Bit [Re: Bfail]
Spiderman Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3272
Loc: EAST TEXAS
I usually fish spawning fish from first light until 10:00 am and then the last couple of hours of the afternoon. Bigger Females for me are usually 6'-8' deep most of the time.

Spawning fish are easiest to catch the 1st 2 hours after the sun has gone down. They will hit anything that moves once it gets dark.

Yesterday the shallow bite was fickle and I ended up catching deeper crappie 13' deep in 16' of water. So don't be afraid to experiment. Keep moving until you find fish that want to bite.
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#11508216 - 03/29/16 09:19 AM Re: Finicky Spawn Bit [Re: Bfail]
SheCrappieKilla Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 2477
Loc: West of Ft Worth and South
Only one thing I can add to what is said above by all is.

You need to study and understand the moon phases, this has a major impact on prime times during the days as well as the best days.

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#11508314 - 03/29/16 09:52 AM Re: Finicky Spawn Bit [Re: Bfail]
koobycrappie Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 09/21/07
Posts: 2052
Loc: PFLUGERVILLE, TEXAS , NEAR AU...
On Lake Granger over the years, I have found that the bigger males seem to show up early during the spawn. On 2-18-16, I had a guide trip and thought this was a little early to find spawning fish shallow....2-3ft. of water that is. I knew in the past that I caught them as early as 2-22, so I had to give it a try.

It turns out that the fish were on fire that day and we ended up with 37 big males and two females.
Since that day, I have not even come close to those numbers fishing shallow. Most all the fish were over a pound with three or four going a little over 1.5 pounds.

Most indicators would have said this would not happen this early.... water temp was only around 55-56, too early, etc.

Just goes to show that you should never pass up the opportunity to give it a try. Had we fished for 20 min. without a bite, I would have changed patterns, but they bit within the first couple of casts and bit in different areas of lake until around 1 pm.

This year, with the fluctuating water levels after big rain events, the shallow bite has been off.

I have caught some really nice females up to 1.75 on brush piles when I could not find them shallow this year.

If one pattern doesn't work, try something else.

This pic is from 3-18-16. This female caught by this young man on brush pile in 13 FOW when the shallow bite was off. This girl went 1.75 lbs.
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#11508317 - 03/29/16 09:53 AM Re: Finicky Spawn Bit [Re: Bfail]
Bfail Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 1729
Loc: Austin
Thanks a lot for the comments. Just to clarify a couple of things, I have been fishing in stained water. I have noticed the fish are in the shallows when we still have cooler weather in the mornings and when the sun does get up high overhead around 11, the bite shuts off . I did pay attention to the moon phase yesterday and believe I was catching my fish when the moon was in the process of setting. I caught a total of 8 keepers. Couple days before had 8 keepers with just as many come unbutton at the boat.

I've experimented with depth a little bit, but most of the deeper brush is flooded timber and I just haven't been able to get any thumps around it. I seem to only get bites in brush piles created by all the rains (guess I haven't really put in the time yet searching for man made brushpiles.) One thing I was thinking about though, is that the falling water is scattering the fish. I was reading that it will generally scatter crappie, until the lake stabilizes somewhat.

Right before I get into the slough, there is really nice point that has a drop off from about 4 ft-8 ft, but it is lacking the cover I would expect crappie to be in. However, the radar was picking up a bunch of fish, I just figured they were sand bass hanging out, since the bottom was relatively barren off brushpiples and or timber.



Edited by Bfail (03/29/16 10:11 AM)
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#11508459 - 03/29/16 10:42 AM Re: Finicky Spawn Bit [Re: Bfail]
leanin post Online   content
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 5382
Loc: TEXAS
try a rattling cork, and a road runner, flash and sound.
also, fish looking to spawn can stage on anything, a flat, a point, rock pile ledge, ect. a small lil fishie by creme lures is a good lure to find out what species they are. almost anything will bite a lil fishie. also, dont just concentrate on visible cover, there are crappie relating to just on small rock or root, that everyone else is passing up.
as far as water clarity and cloud cover, big factors, falling or rising water, big factors, type of bottom, and directional orientation of banks, all important. water temp is not even in the equation for me anymore, too many times ive searched out the warmest water, and blanked. I believe the richness of nutrients, and previous spawn years are big factors in thier yearly locations of spawn. If you pass up cooler water because you believe they arent there you may be passing up fish. show up before sunrise and look for spawning shad, if you find them, you can usually find crappie too.
many times the schools of pre spawn females will sit in deeper water and only feed right before dark. or right at daybreak.


Edited by leanin post (03/29/16 10:45 AM)
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#11508885 - 03/29/16 01:33 PM Re: Finicky Spawn Bit [Re: Bfail]
tboxfish Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 4913
Loc: A small blue spot on planet ea...
Good read! thumb
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#11509677 - 03/29/16 07:35 PM Re: Finicky Spawn Bit [Re: koobycrappie]
Ruffneck2000 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/10/13
Posts: 1204
Loc: tx
This!
Originally Posted By: koobycrappie
On Lake Granger over the years, I have found that the bigger males seem to show up early during the spawn. On 2-18-16, I had a guide trip and thought this was a little early to find spawning fish shallow....2-3ft. of water that is. I knew in the past that I caught them as early as 2-22, so I had to give it a try.

It turns out that the fish were on fire that day and we ended up with 37 big males and two females.
Since that day, I have not even come close to those numbers fishing shallow. Most all the fish were over a pound with three or four going a little over 1.5 pounds.

Most indicators would have said this would not happen this early.... water temp was only around 55-56, too early, etc.

Just goes to show that you should never pass up the opportunity to give it a try. Had we fished for 20 min. without a bite, I would have changed patterns, but they bit within the first couple of casts and bit in different areas of lake until around 1 pm.

This year, with the fluctuating water levels after big rain events, the shallow bite has been off.

I have caught some really nice females up to 1.75 on brush piles when I could not find them shallow this year.

If one pattern doesn't work, try something else.

This pic is from 3-18-16. This female caught by this young man on brush pile in 13 FOW when the shallow bite was off. This girl went 1.75 lbs.



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#11512974 - 03/30/16 11:13 PM Re: Finicky Spawn Bit [Re: Bfail]
Bfail Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 1729
Loc: Austin
Crazy what a cloudy day will do. Caught 22 keepers today and 17 of them were females up to 14 inches. 1-3 ft of water.


Edited by Bfail (03/30/16 11:15 PM)
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