Crappie anglers know that during the spring, the fishing can be excellent.

Crappie anglers know that during the spring, the fishing can be excellent.
The fish move close to the bank for the annual spawning run, and that makes for an ideal situation for catching a limit of these tasty fish.
As Fred Thomas of Oak Grove always says, “If you can’t catch crappie when the spawning run is going, then you just aren’t a true crappie fisherman.”
When asked what lure is best now, Thomas replied, “I use small white or yellow jigs, but just about any type of minnow-like lure will catch fish if you put it in the right place. Look for pea-gravel banks and cast close to the shore. You might want to use a bobber to keep from getting hung up. If the water temperature is above 55 degrees, it is a perfect time for catching crappie close to shore. However, if we get a cool spell, the fish might move out a little, so try deeper water.”
Like other crappie fishermen in the spring, Thomas has caught his share of other species while fishing for those slab crappie. Last week, he hooked several walleye, both white and black bass, as well as a few bluegill and even several drum.
“Two years ago, while crappie fishing at Pomme de Terre, I hooked a big muskie,” Thomas said. “The fight didn’t last long because I was using 4-pound test line and ultralight gear. I did get to see the monster, and that was good enough for me. I wouldn’t have been able to nor did I want that fish in the boat with me.”
Paul Martin of Butler, Mo., tried the crappie at Stockton last week and caught several fish.
“I must have caught 50 fish, but most of them were 8 or 9 inches,” Martins said. “There is a lot of difference between a 9- and 10-inch crappie. After catching a limit of crappie earlier at Truman, I found just how much difference that 1 inch makes when I fished at Stockton, where the 10-inch length limit applies.”
Two area anglers have been fishing off the docks at Jacomo and Blue Springs, but most of the crappie they catch have been small. Tom Brown and John Walker of Independence counted the fish they caught one day last week and came up with a total of 54 crappie between them.
“Of all those fish we caught, only six of them were big enough to keep,” Walker said. “When the spawning run starts, we will start catching bigger ones, but at least we have some action.”
Gene Holmes of Sedalia found the crappie fishing at the Lake of the Ozarks very good over the weekend. Using a small, white jig under a bobber, he caught a limit of nice-sized crappie. Most of the fish were in the 12- to 14-inch range, which makes for some excellent eating. Holmes also used a small Roadrunner, which worked well. He saw other anglers pulling out fish as the word got out very fast when the crappie start hitting in the spring.
“There are many other fish that fight much better than crappie, as well as fish that are fun to catch,” Holmes said. “But when it comes to great table fare, you can’t beat crappie.” Not too many anglers would argue with that.”
With the warm weather last weekend, area crappie anglers turned out to test the waters and found fishing from fair to excellent. Tom Nelson of Blue Springs tried the Sac River to see if the white bass were making a move. Nelson thought he hit it just right when, on his first cast, his reel started singing and he saw a flash of silver on the end of his line. After a 10- minute fight, he landed a 5-pound drum. The Ozark, Mo., native caught four more drum before he decided the whites weren’t in that part of the river.
Fishing below the dam at Truman has been producing some whites, crappie and walleye. In the most recent fishing report, fishing below the dam was one of the best spots in the state for catching fish. However, fishing conditions can change fast below the dams and if you go to Truman and don’t see many vehicles in the parking lot, you might as well keep on going. But if the parking lot is full, you better stop because that usually means the fishing is good.
“I started doing some serious fishing for crappie last week and have seen the fishing pick up every time I have been out,” said Jack Shaw of Lamar, Mo. “I hooked several nice crappie and caught some bass and bluegill. It’s a great time to be on the water and it’s going to get even better.”