Murray, KY – Learn about the outlook for crappie next spring with our weekly fishing commentary.
Scott Ellison here, with the weekly FLW Outdoors Fishing Report.
Maybe we should be talking about hunting, because that's all most of the guys going into local sporting goods stores now seem to have on their minds. The modern firearms season for deer comes in Saturday morning, so be prepared to hear distant gunfire throughout the day.
The lake is going to seem a lot bigger because there will be fewer fishing boats on it, but dedicated fishermen should be out this weekend anyway. That's because crappie fishing is good and getting better as the water cools down. Eric Benson at Benson's Sporting Goods says a guy came into his store the other day who had caught a three-and-a-quarter-pound black crappie fishing in the blood river arm of the lake with a one-eighth-ounce tube jig. The fisherman told Eric he was fishing in about eighteen feet of water.
Ron Lappin, the tournament director for FLW's Everstart Series, was practicing for a bass tournament a few days ago and wound up catching so many crappie out of brushpiles on the middle and north sections of the lake that he skipped the bass tournament and went crappie fishing over the weekend instead. He caught a pile of crappies, too, though, as he told me, most of them were under the 10-inch size limit.
But just think about what that's going to mean next spring. The crappie fishing should be great after the unders being caught and released now have a chance to grow an inch or two in size. Let's face it, crappie-fishing hasn't been up to snuff in a few years. Remember those three consecutive springs four or five years ago when the weather was all over the place and the lake went up and down? Crappie will rebound after one bad spawning season, but we had three in a row and it just started recovering. It takes about three years for a crappie to grow to legal size, so next spring we should start seeing a noticeable difference in the number and size of fish.
I'm not suggesting you wait until the spring to go crappie fishing, though. The fish are biting now, go get them.
As for bass, it's the same old story. Fish secondary points and flats in the early part of the day wherever you see shad working and bass getting after them. Try lipless crankbaits, spoons and tailspinners, and be sure to match the size of the lure to the size of the shad as well as you can. Later in the day, move back toward the backends of the feeder creeks and coves and try medium-running crankbaits and topwater lures such as pop-rs and zara spooks. Don't expect any big numbers, but you should be able to hook a photo fish or two. This is the last best chance bass have of fattening up for winter, and they're making the most of it.
That's it for this week. Enjoy the last golden days of autumn on the lake, because Jack Frost isn't far away.
This is Scott Ellison, signing off for FLW Outdoors.
Scott Ellison is a lifelong fisherman and FLW Outdoors College Fishing Promotions Manager.