Crappie Time in Tennessee

Well the fishing has been good all winter. The saugers were great eating and the bass put up a good fight. Now it’s time to put some meat in the freezer.

Last year in March and April was very good. On priest we had 2 real good age class fish that measured 11″ and 12 inches. We harvested a lot of these fish but there still should be a lot more of them.

Percy priest is my favorite lake for crappie. The number 1 crappie guide and the best on the lake is Harold Morgan. Harold and Joe Neally and I spent a lot of time this winter on priest in one of my commercial boats putting out brush in some of Harold’s favorite places. I feel very lucky that Harold and Joe have taught me all there is to know about crappie on priest. Now that’s according to Harold and Joe. Just kidding! These 2 guys have over 50 years between them on priest crappie fishing and they know the lake and the fish.

Now when Harold puts out a brush pile he actually puts out large trees. There is no brush involved. He also cuts out a lot of the small limbs. Dead willow trees are the best. To get these trees to the lake is no easy chore. We used a 30ft. Goose neck to haul the trees on. We backed it down the ramp and put a rope on one tree at a time, at the base and pulled them to secret locations around the lake. When we got to the location we would attach about 5 cement blocks to the base with a 3/8 nylon rope. This would sink the trees in a vertical position. Harold say’s these trees stay vertical the 1st few weeks and as the trees absorb water they lay on their side. He also says the 1st year they will produce few fish because of the oil’s and sap coming out of the trees. The second year on though they will load up. About 5 years is the average life span of these attractor’s.

After we put all the trees in we went back with one of my dive boats and positioned these trees tight to our structure lines. This should really help. With all the rock ledges in the lake you just put the blocks at the bottom of the ledge. The tree will fall in place in a few weeks. Thanks for the lessons Harold and Joe.

Now if you don’t have a way of hauling brush and trees I would recommend a good depth finder. With an x55 or x65 lowrance you can find every brush pile in the lake. Get in 7′ to 20′ of water and cruise the shorelines slow. Have a couple of marker buoy’s at hand and watch the depth finder. Soon as you go over a stump or a brush pile with fish on it drop your first buoy. Then take your trolling motor and watch your depth finder and pin point the exact location of the brush and drop your second buoy. Now set your bobbers to the depth of the marked fish and start fishing. Marking several piles of brush close together is normal mark 3 or 4 with buoys and go from one to the other as action slows.

About bait, myself I like small and medium minnows or a Charlie brewer whirly bee. A lot of customers catch just as many on small white or yellow tube jigs. Use very little weight and a small bobber. Let the fish pull you down 1ft. And set the hook gently.

Crappie fishing is fun for the whole family. Get out on the lake and enjoy the springtime together.

If you need crappie fishing supplies and minnows try over at Norts bait shop by the airport their prices are good and the minnows are always fresh. Last year cliff also started handling the ruby red minnows and they really catch crappie.

Don’t forget wear that life jacket set the hook and may the fish be with you.

Jim Duckworth

Ducktrail guide service