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"Planning your crappie fishing trip means planning an outing where you will relax, enjoy the nature around you and get some great fishing in. When you are planning to make this the case, there are various things that you need to take into consideration before you get started."

   The fact is, just about any location in the United States or North America, for that matter, has a lot of crappie fishing to offer to you. This is one of the most sought after and well loved types of fishing available to you. What's more, once you start planning a trip for these fish, chances are good that you will find yourself in a great position to catch them if you have planned for it in advance.

   Fishing for many species of fish practically begs for anglers to have a boat. One of the best things about fishing for crappie is that most fishing areas in the United States give anglers access to crappie rich fishing areas where not having a boat is not a handicap. This makes crappie fishing particularly attractive to those who do not have access to a boat, and those who like to get out and throw a hook in the water with a minimum of fuss. This fact alone makes choosing the best place in the United States to fish for crappie almost impossible. Really, such an undertaking would be daunting for the most experienced, widely fished anglers in the world.

   The best solution to not being able to find a single, perfect place for which to fish for crappie, is to simply determine what it is you are looking for, and to decide for yourself what location best fills your needs and personal preferences in a crappie fishing location. Some suggestions include these places other crappie fishing enthusiasts have tried and come back to time after time might be a step in the right direction as far as choosing some great crappie fishing locations.

   Here is a list of 10 extraordinary crappie waters you should check out.  Although we have neglected many other great crappie lakes, reservoirs and rivers across America, we will add more to this list in the near future. 


1. Grenada Lake, Mississippi
   Experts agree that this 36,000-acre lake is the top destination for trophy-class crappies. Three-pounders aren't scarce and 2-pounders are fairly plentiful. Grenada Lake offers super crappie fishing from Mid-February through late May.  My favorite areas during this time frame are the shallow, cover-filled spawning areas up the Yalobusha or Skuna river arms with a popping cork rig with red/white tube jigs.  Also try dropping 2-inch tubes next to shallow stumps in Turkey and Red Grass Creeks and around Graceport Landing. If you want to find and catch more crappie on Grenada Lake, the real secret is to slow down.  Another secret to catching big crappie is don’t try to fish all the structure that you see in the lake. Concentrate your fishing on isolated stumps and sticks.

2. John Kerr Reservoir, Virginia-North Carolina
   For the past several years, John Kerr (also called Buggs Island Lake) has been the premier crappie lake on earth for both numbers and trophies. In recent seasons, this prolific crappie lake has produced black crappies over 4 pounds and white crappies over 5 pounds.
   All 49,000 acres of John Kerr sprawl over the Virginia border into North Carolina, where this hill-land reservoir offers numerous coves and creek arms for crappies to spawn in, surrounded by the pastoral beauty of two Virginia state parks. Extensive shallow-brush patterns exist here in spring. This is the place to catch 2- to 3-pound slabs on  spinnerbaits like the Blue Fox Big Crappie series or the Terminator Tiny T during the pre-spawn. The shallow bite begins in mid-March most years, as crappies move into submerged terrestrial bushes in 2 to 4 feet of water.

3. Santee-Cooper, South Carolina
   Santee-Cooper is panfish paradise. For one thing, it produces the biggest shellcrackers on earth. There has been world record fish caught here several times.  Slab crappies patrol the endless brushpiles found throughout creek arms in spring, and fish over 2 pounds are fairly common. There are also thousands upon thousands of stumps, standing dead tree trunks and live cypress trees to find these slabs.  Black/Chartruese jigs seems to do the trick, but you will need to adjust your depths until you find where they are holding.

4. Millwood Reservoir, Arkansas
   If you go to Millwood in April, bring braided line. The crappies are that big. You can catch them on spinnerbaits and crankbaits that time of year.  It's an old river system that hasn't filled in or depleted over the years, as so many Arkansas reservoirs have. In winter, follow the river channels to find them. When they come up on the shallow flats into a foot or two of water in April, it's lights out. Big fish and lots of 'em.
   A good day on Millwood is 30 to 40 fish apiece averaging over 1-1/2 pounds, with a great shot at a 3-pounder, possibly several that size.  Its not unusual that most teams win tournaments there weighed in 7 fish for over 15 pounds. The crappies in this lake are just unbelievable. The best pattern in April is to pitch tubes to the cypress knees rising out of the water. Beautiful, warm, productive fishing in early spring.

5. Sam Rayburn, Texas
   Big Sam covers over 114,000 acres of terrain, and the crappies average over 1-1/2 pounds these days. Lots of big-fish water for big fish to spread out. Crappies spawn here in early March to mid-March, and move up to stage in February. Look for big rolling flats in the 12- to 14-foot range covered with hydrilla. The crappies will be there.
   Pitch light jigs in the 1/8- to 1/16-ounce range tipped with augertail plastics or Stanley Wedgetails and swim them across the tops of the weeds. It's one of the most entertaining ways to catch big crappies--precision tackle, light bites, and heavy action. Most years, lots of big slabs continue to relate to those weedbeds into June.
   Crappies also stage near points, in standing timber during prespawn, where pitching or vertically fishing those same jigs can produce more crappies over a pound than any lake in North America right now, with a good shot at one over 3 pounds.

6. Kentucky Lake, Kentucky and Tennessee
   Several years ago, Kentucky Lake was touted as the "Crappie Fishing Capital of the World", and it's still a major challenger for this title.  Lots of 2-pounders are caught in the Blood River and Big Sandy areas. Crappies stage on main lake points in early March and move into coves by early April. Dunk live minnows, slow-troll white Beetle Spins or jig 2-inch tubes in sparkle/chartreuse. Also, the old standard Kentucky lake live minnow rig does the trick, consisting of two hooks spread on a leader and weighted with a 1/2 to 3/4-ounce sinker.  Best spots for the rig are near the mouths of feeder creeks.

7. Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma
   Known as the "Gentle-Giant", this lake has over 102,000 acres of water, lots of sandy beaches and beautiful scenery in spring and fall.  Despite heavy pressure, limits come easy and include plenty of 2-pounders. Work the riprap along I-40 and probe shallow cover in Gentry, Cole and Gaines creeks with 2-inch Yum Beavertail grubs on 1/8-ounce jigheads.  Also try spider-rigging jigs or live shad on the southern part of the lake to bring in some huge slabs.

8. Logan Martin Lake, Alabama
   This 15,000-acre reservoir is deemed as the "Lake of a Thousand Coves". Crappies in this Coosa River impoundment are plentiful and big, many in the two-pound range. Try slow-trolling in 8 to 15 feet of water in creek arms in the upper end of the lake beginning in March. In the fall, fast-trolling with Culprit Tassel Tail or Swim Fin grubs will help reeling in 1 1/2 to 2 pound slab.

9. Weiss Lake, Alabama
   At present, this lake is known as the "Crappie Capital of the World". A 10-inch size limit has helped this 30,000-acre lake, and lots of 1 1/2 and 2-pounders fill limits. The best way to find fish is to slow-troll nose-hooked minnows or tiny spinners in the Little River and Yellow Creek areas. There are many techniques and places to haul in big slabs, so I recommend calling Weiss Lake Guide Kelly Matthews at home: 256-475-5238 or cell: 256-557-5722, and he will put you on some big fish.

10. Patoka lake, Indiana

   Nestled in Hoosier National Forest and known for its scenic beauty, Patoka lake offers a year-round fishery for crappie because it rarely freezes over.  It also is one of the better places to be entertained by a wide variety of wildlife along the shore.  During April and May, plenty of fish over 2 pounds can be caught using a variety of methods.  My favorite methods at Patoka is working the standing timber areas with small tube jigs, and slow-trolling the open water around Jackson State Park.  Best trolling depth is 12-18 feet, using jigs tipped with 2-inch minnows.  During the spawn, the Painter Creek area is a good place to start.

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