Doug Wynn's Fishing Report
Early Indications May Lead to an Excellent Spring Crappie Season
Published on February 16, 2024
Hello from the Excel Bay Pro 230 Elite. All my custom rigging is complete and it will soon be smelling like fish. I’ll be wrapping up my boat and outdoor shows at the Catfish and Crappie Conference in Louisville next Friday and Saturday. Excel Boats will be debuting two new models at the show. My boat will be there also. I’ll be at the Excel Boats display and with Off Shore Tackle. The event is at Freedom Hall.
From all the reports I’ve heard from friends, we are looking at spring fishing unlike anything we have seen in recent years. Crappie limits are being caught regularly by several tactics.
Livescope and MegaLive are prominent in most tactics. Many are casting to roaming fish in open water. Some are spider rigging with minnows and jigs. Others are working slip bobber rigs with minnows around cover. These tactics all have one huge thing in common. Fish are being located and pin-pointed using the forward-facing sonar.
Fishermen are now able to eliminate cover and areas that don’t contain fish as well as determine the size and numbers of fish that are present. The technology won’t make the fish bite but it sure does increase the odds of finding some that will.
This technology has been widely used and tweaked by crappie fishermen since it's inception five or so years ago. Many accessories for mounting sonar units and transducers have been designed and are being built by companies like Cornfield Fishing Gear and Precision Sonar here in Marshall County.
Seems the crappie world was first to embrace forward sonar but now others are getting involved. As things have normally worked, once the bass guys got into the game late, all the media attention has been on them. Maybe we perch jerkers would rather have it that way.
Miss Vicki and I celebrated our 49th anniversary Thursday with a trip to Patti’s in Grand Rivers. As we crossed the bridge below Kentucky Dam, we noticed 10 or more gates open. Recent rains have caused the lake levels to jump but now the levels are being dropped back down.
We typically won’t see the levels allowed to start their rise until April 1st. Water temperatures are starting most days in the low 40s and rising toward 50 degrees on calm and sunny days. Those temperatures are sure to fall several degrees with the coming cold snap.
Crappie, bass, white bass, and catfish have been the most sought after species on our lakes recently. Sauger are making a big comeback. One (two technically) species have made conversations over the years but haven’t been widely sought, stripers and hybrids. Bass casters and crappie seekers have been known to tangle with them but few actively target them.
I had a recent conversation with a bass fisherman who was using Livescope to target bass. He was throwing an Alabama rig and saw a huge fish hit the rig but didn’t get hooked. He changed to another lure and watched a group of several fish fight over the lure before he hooked one.
After a lengthy fight he netted a striper close to 10 pounds. He released it then proceeded to catch several more near the same size until the school moved away from the deep water point he was fishing. Hmmmm!
For several years, one of my favorite fishing tactics was catching stripers below our dams on live bait. My personal best was in the mid 20s pound range. I saw several that size and larger caught. Once the Asian carp got established, this fishery was not worth the effort for most of us. Knowing these hardest of fighters lived below the dams, it only made sense they also lived ABOVE the dams!
Being as most fishermen are willing to pursue any fish that will put up a fight and taste good on the plate, we might be looking at an uptick of another great game fish to be sought by more than a very small number of fishermen. The great spawns of both baitfish and gamefish have benefitted all fish species in our lakes.
I’m now booking trips starting March 1st. Come see the new Excel Boats February 23-24 at the show. Be sure to holler at me. I’m always happy to talk fishing or just BS.
We aren’t done with cold weather and cold water. Be careful out there. Get that boat ready before you try to launch it. Help those who might need help.
Welcome to our slice of Heaven.
Doug Wynn's Bio
Doug Wynn has been fishing Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley for most of his life. He is the owner of Crappie Gills 'n More. Doug fishes both Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley and specializes in crappie, bluegill, catfish and other panfish species.
Doug's fishing report covers Lake Barkley from Canton to Barkley Dam and Kentucky Lake from Paris Landing to Kentucky Dam.Doug Wynn
Crappie Gills 'n More
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