There are things in this life that just make you scratch your head. How do they get the peanut in peanut M&M’s or why doesn’t McDonalds serve breakfast all day when IHOP does? But the one thing us crappie anglers will never understand is why the authorities controlling the water levels on reservoirs would release water during the spawn.
It’s crazy. Why would you drop the water level during the spawn on reservoirs? Falling water levels during the spawn pushes the spawning crappie back out to deeper water and possibly make spawning conditions poor overall with the reduction of spawning habitat.
Before we get to unsettled over falling reservoir water levels and spawning crappie it happens. Sometime Mother Nature turns off the water faucet or an anticipated rainfall influences the powers controlling the water levels release water on a prediction of rainfall. Whatever causes the falling water levels anglers and guides have to deal with it in order to catch crappie.
Reservoirs like Beaver Lake, Table Rock and Bull Shoals all part of the White River Chain have years when lake levels drop in the spring. Beaver Lake crappie guide Greg Robinson knows all too well the challenges of fishing when the reservoir is dropping in the springtime during the spawn.
“This year the water level has been dropping although it’s making for good water clarity for fishing; it’s also making the female crappie pull off from shallow water to deep water where they are suspending. Plus we have been getting cold north winds and temperatures at night really cool so crappie are put off by these conditions. It’s just not good spawning conditions,” said Robinson.
Robinson has gone to spider rigging to catch crappie during these conditions. “While some of the males have moved up shallow and a few anglers catching them on minnows and bobbers most of the females are staged out in deeper water. I have been fishing in 15- to 30-feet of water spider rigging to catch the bigger females with my lures at 8- to 14-foot deep,” said Robinson.
While the shallow water has smaller males moved up, Robinson has been fishing for spawning crappie suspended around nothing and areas where crappie stage before moving in to spawn. He uses eight of the 16 foot B’n’M Poles (www.bnmpoles.com) Buck Jig Poles rigged with baitcasting reel with 8 pound high vis Vicious fishing line and single lead jighead with a Red/Chartreuse or Pink/Chartreuse and Bobby Garland Minnow Mind’R (Bobby Garland(R) – Brands) in Green Hornet or Black Chartreuse tipped with a live minnow.
The key for Robinson for catching crappie during these conditions is going slow and using his Garmin LiveScope to see the bigger female crappie. “I’m singling out individual crappie. The larger female that seem to be suspend by themselves. Plus, I have to slow down to troll at .2- to .3-mph which can be challenging with a cold northeast wind blowing,” said Robinson.