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#12601534 - 01/29/18 10:29 PM Where did they go.....
canyoncreek06 Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 03/03/16
Posts: 706
Loc: Victoria, TX
OK, I'm fairly new to modern crappie fishing. Years ago my high school buddies and I would catch them at Lake Texana when it first opened up. We had no technology back then. Just an old 16ft. riveted hull flatbottom with a 35hp Evinrude. We would just tie up to a stand of willow trees and do very well. Well, Texana has silted up over the years and remains a mudhole the majority of the time. I have done well there the last couple of years fishing up the tributaries feeding it. I also fish Coleto Creek (power plant lake) mainly because it's about a 20min drive from the house. During the summer I would do well there up until the fronts started coming through. Summertime pattern was to fish structure in 15-21 ft of water and fish at about 12ft. After the fronts started coming through and gradually dropping the water temps it has become tough to locate fish. Two weeks ago following a couple of brutal cold snaps the water temp had dropped to about 45-46 deg. This past weekend the water temp had come back up to about 60-62deg. in the main lake. I didn't go to the warm water discharge to check the temp in there. I tried some brush and submerged timber from 13-21 FOW at all depths and got one bump. So, my question for the experts who fish power plant lakes is what is the normal pattern during this time of year. Does the spawn on these lakes occur earlier? Seems to me that hours of daylight would affect it vs. water temp. Is the spawn more spread out on these lakes? There are a few coves with some small creeks feeding them. Should I try to get up in those creeks and fish shallower? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Columbus took a chance and he made it.

#12601621 - 01/30/18 01:56 AM Re: Where did they go..... [Re: canyoncreek06]
leanin post Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 6028
first, dont pay any attention to the temperature. its not even part of the equation. Its the second biggest myth in crappie fishing, aside from the first which is that all or most crappie spawn shallow, and in specific temperature ranges. Im not going to go into a long drawn out topic of why baitfish are where they are when they are there,(see my post title Daphnia), to learn more on that subject, but you need to locate where the baitfish are hanging out on the lakes. if the lake has roadbeds, ledges, humps, holes, rockpiles, drop offs, ect at depth of 26 feet and deeper, scan those areas for pods of baitfish with gamefish near them, usually underneath. if the baitfish are in tight pods, with gamefish ghosting around under them, the feed window is likely closed at that present time, but sooner or later, they will feed, then baitfish will elongate thier formation and scatter out.
you can catch shallow crappie in a foot of water this time of year, or in 50 ft of water. The crappie go where the baitfish go, no matter the depth, temp, wind direction, moon phase, season, ect.
Looking for bird activity, such as gulls, terns, ect can help you locate where baitfish are hanging out. finding the baitfish and crappie on most lakes this time of year is not very hard, timing thier feed schedule, which can be VERY short, is usually the hardest part. It may mean sitting on top of a school of fish all day and not getting a bite, or it may mean getting up at 6.00 and getting to the spot for a bite that lasts from 630 to 7.00. many times after a front has passed and the barometric pressure is rising fast, or is already very high, the fish will not feed. you can bounce a jig on thier head, and they just wont bite, until they feel comfortable again, and adjust to the pressure changes.
this situation can be frustrating, but a good side of this is, that once you locate the crappie in winter, they will hang out in the same areas for most of the winter, the only issue you then must solve, is when they are feeding, and what they want. live bait, or pink jigs with clear mono line is a good choice.
you can study navionics web app before you go to any lake, and get a very good idea where to concentrate your searches.

Edited by leanin post (01/30/18 01:58 AM)
Many living in this generation shall never see the grave, JESUS gave us revelations and the time is very near. Dont be a soul that stands before GOD on judgment day and be told "depart from me, I do not know you".

#12601772 - 01/30/18 08:07 AM Re: Where did they go..... [Re: canyoncreek06]
fishin'aholic2 Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 13926
Loc: Irving, Texas
Temperature is a major factor in locating crappie. It tells me where to start looking and is always a good starting point.

Text Joey at 817-897-1384 for great rod and rod repair rates!

#12601790 - 01/30/18 08:16 AM Re: Where did they go..... [Re: canyoncreek06]
Mckinneycrappiecatcher Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 12/20/10
Posts: 3740
Loc: mckinney, tx
I would argue that temperature is MORE important than length of days. They should spawn earlier on a warm water power plant lake. I would be looking shallower, probably 8-20’ near structure. Sometimes on lakes with a lot of structure it’s important to find isolated timber or brush piles.

TCU class of 2019

#12601811 - 01/30/18 08:28 AM Re: Where did they go..... [Re: canyoncreek06]
bush hog Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/12/13
Posts: 2682
Loc: Beckville, TX
I fish a power plant lake (Martin Creek)often and finding crapping can be a challenge. I would think if water temp play a big role in finding crappie on a hot water lake then you would find all the fish in one part of the lake weather it be warm water or cold. Fact is, I find them in all different temps on this lake (anywhere from 60 to 96 degrees). I agree that the crappie will be hanging close to their food supply but finding shad on Martin this time of year isn't real easy either. I've always considered the amount of sunlight to be the determining factor in when the spawn starts just as it triggers the rest of nature. I've got other good crappie lakes close by to fish but I still go to Martin from time to time just for the challenge. Last year Martin gave up several limits for me but this year has been awful. Keep in mind too that the crappie spawn runs in cycles in that there will be good spawns for two or three years followed by a poor spawn which greatly affects the population at times. I wish I could tell you the pattern for a hot water lake but it escapes me too.

#12601935 - 01/30/18 09:19 AM Re: Where did they go..... [Re: canyoncreek06]
Ken Gaby Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 05/08/07
Posts: 3033
Loc: Belton, TX
Fish in power plant lakes do not react like fish in non-power plant lakes. Shad follow a food supply like most other fish. Shad also seek out comfort zones based on oxygen supply and temp. In large lakes without a power plant, shad may move from deep areas, 30-40 ft, to shallow areas, 1-2 ft, in the afternoon when the sun has warmed the shallows. Fish that feed on shad follow. That's why you read about blue cat fishermen hitting shallow water in mid winter. The bait has moved there after a warming trend.

The recent warming trend has raised the surface temp by 5-7 degrees. That has affected the fish patterns greatly. Shad are moving to warmer water temps. The shad may be 1-3 ft deep in 40 ft of water right now. When bait is very scattered, so are the other fish.

For power plant lakes the constant influx of warm water changes the normal stratification of water temps. The colder temps this year have changed the fish patterns more than any year I can remember in the last 30 years. Haven't seen surface temps in the 42-44 degree range in central Texas that I can remember. Locating fish on a daily basis has been difficult. Where they were 4 days ago is not where they are today. Power plant lakes don't normally have water deeper than 30 ft. Again, that's something that affects the movement of shad seeking a comfort zone.

To answer your question, there is no best place to look right now. I'd definitely look close to the warm water discharge for bait concentrations. And those creeks you mentioned may hold bait fish also. When I fished a power plant lake in Missouri in 77-79, there were two very cold winters. We found crappie right in the warm water discharge arm in 7 FOW. The warm water discharge was where almost everyone fished and the discharge arm was the best and most consistent crappie hole all winter.
A life without God is like an unsharpened pencil, it has no point. Billy Graham Best crappie and catfish rods/reels Premium crappie baits and jig tying accessories / "Helping YOU catch MORE & LARGER fish!" World's Best Rod Holders

#12602581 - 01/30/18 03:12 PM Re: Where did they go..... [Re: canyoncreek06]
canyoncreek06 Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 03/03/16
Posts: 706
Loc: Victoria, TX
Wow, Gentlemen. Lots of great information has been given. Thank You and I appreciate each of you taking your time to divulge your thoughts.

Columbus took a chance and he made it.


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