If you are a crappie angler, now is the time to hit the water. Fishing reports from most area lakes show the crappie run is on and anglers are taking limits of these tasty fish.
Everything from minnows to jigs are catching fish that are in water from 1-4 feet deep. George Rogers, Lee's Summit, said "I have been catching lots of crappie for the past week while fishing at Truman. I started turkey hunting and since hunting ends at one daily, I spent the rest of the day catching crappie. It's been very good at other places, also. I fished at the James A. Reed area and caught lots of fish there and from some of my fishing friends all say now is the time to catch crappie."
After an early morning turkey hunt, my son, Kevin, and I hit Stockton Lake. After launching the boat, we found we had motor trouble, so we used the trolling motor to fish a nearby cove that we normally pass up. It turned out to be a good move because right away we started catching all kinds of fish. Walleye, crappie smallmouth and largemouth bass, white bass, bluegill and a few drum. The action lasted several hours and all fish were caught on a white 1/16-ounce jig.
The next day, with the motor running again, we hit a favorite cove and the action started right away. Staying in this one cove, we landed smallmouth and largemouth bass, a couple of keeper walleye, some big bluegill and a limit of crappie, including a 3-pounder. Since the fishing was so good, we passed up turkey hunting until next week.
Other crappie anglers report good crappie fishing.
Truman tops the list for catching lots of fish. While waiting for a friend to meet him at the dock, Jack Blake, Warsaw, said he watched about a dozen fishermen come to the dock with their limits of 15 crappie each.
"I couldn't wait for my friend and had to get a line in the water. I walked the bank and caught a limit of crappie before my friend showed up," Blake said. "We never launched the boat because we had our limits while fishing from the bank using a bobber with a white jig about a foot below."
Other hot spots for crappie are Table Rock, Smithville, Pomme de Terre, Lake of the Ozarks and Bull Shoals. Before the recent rains, anglers were catching crappie from several streams including the Sac River.
Bob Smith, Joplin, was fishing the Sac last week and had some fish stories to tell. "I started out at Caplinger Mills and caught several walleye, white bass and hybrids and a few crappie. Next, I moved downstream near the Highway 54 bridge and got into the crappie. On almost every cast, I had a fish and in about two hours fishing, I had a limit of crappie and a few nice white bass. I talked with several locals and they said the good crappie fishing has been going on for awhile as well as a white bass run," he said.
There's no doubt this is the time to go crappie fishing on any of the large impoundments, as well as small lakes and even farm ponds. Dwight Baker, Independence, has a favorite pond in Jackson County where he usually can count on catching bass and crappie. "I tried the two-acre pond last week and after a slow start, I started catching some big crappie. When I got home, I measured the largest ones and they went 11 to 12 inches. Usually the crappie I catch are in the 8- to 9-inch range. Although the bass weren't hitting, the crappie made up for it," he said.
Among the good crappie catching stories is one from Paul Lee, Sedalia. The Lee family went on a two-day camping trip at Truman and brought along some fishing gear. All of the family members caught crappie, including 6-year-old Jason, who also caught the largest fish, a 2-pound crappie, while Lee's wife, Ruth, caught a limit before fixing breakfast. In all, the four Lees caught more than 50 crappie in their short camping trip. Lee said, "It was the best camping/fishing trip we ever had and we will be back soon."