The Outdoor Journal, by Kyle Carroll
Even if you’re not a fisherman, you can tell when the crappie spawn is on. That's when you will see more fishermen on the banks and in boats on the lake than any other time of year.
You can get varying opinions, but for the most part, crappie spawn when the water temperatures get between 50-60 degrees. Black Crappie spawn a little ahead of the White Crappie. According to Josh Gowan on the Wired to Fish blog, “The more days of consistently warm weather bringing the water temps up, the smoother the transition will be for the crappie, and the better the fishing will be for the anglers. “That’s what we have experienced in the last ten days or so and the crappies are starting to show up.
Understanding what is going on with the spawn can make you more successful when you go fishing.
Gowen says, “Male crappie fan the nests and essentially make the bed while the females stage out from the nest. Depending on the lake and progression of the spawn, females may be farther out and much deeper than the males, or within 6 feet and at the same depth, but both sexes will be feeding aggressively up to the last stages of the female moving in and dropping her eggs. Females are then in and out rather briefly, and once they’ve dropped all of their eggs are very difficult to pinpoint and catch.
Male crappie are emphatic guards of their up and coming fry, which is why the spawn bite is the best “thump” most anglers feel all year. They aren't biting your bait to eat it. They are trying to kill or wound the predator, so a quick hook-set is key, otherwise your bait will be outside of the crappie’s mouth in a matter of seconds.
Now's the time to get after the local crappie. You can read more from Josh Gowen at www. scout.com/outdoors/bass-fishing/Article/A-Guide-to-Catching-Crappie-During-the-Spawn-.