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With cool temps and clear skies its a great time of the year to find Crappie in “winter patterns” and schooled up. Try trolling over flats or casting into and around cover and structure.
Two-inch Kalin Grubs have always been a favorite bait for AZ Slab Seekers but lately a lot of anglers have had success with small crankbaits. The trick with is that the small cranks don’t always drive deep enough but a little bit of weight about 40 inches above the bait will remedy that.
This week I hope to get out and experiment with some Wally Marshall Crappie Crankbaits and I will report my finding ASAP.
Alamo - I haven’t heard anything from Alamo in a week or so. But it can be a great winter time lake for crappie so give it a try. Some of the best times I’ve had crappie fishing was at Alamo between November and February. Troll the steep cliff walls around the damn or the flats up by the river end.
Bartlett- Lots of crappies are being caught by both trollers and casters right now. Most fish are coming from the top end of the lake but its dropping fast as SPR is going to bring the lake down to 40 percent for spillway inspections. Soon the ramps (one is already) will be out of the water and shoreline launching can be tricky so be careful. There are a lot of clay batches on the shoreline and getting off them with a vehicle can be very frustrating. I know is first hand! Last Friday I caught over 40 crappies in less than 3 hours. There were all too small to keep but the little kid in me had a blast. The Arizona Crappie Association practices and promotes the release of all crappie under 10 inches. If you let those lil fellas go they will feed all winter and next spring Bartlett will be full of big slabs.
Pleasant- I got a couple of reports of some crappie being caught but no specifics. Try the back of Humbug, Coles Bay or Castle Creek.
Roosevelt- Mixed reports from Rosey lately but crappie are being caught. I think most folks from Phoenix are fishing Bartlett right so Rosey might be the place to avoid big crowds and busy ramps. A few places to try are School House, Windy Hill, Salome or the flats up in the Tonto end.
San Carlos- With the lake at 2 percent, many anglers fear a large fish kill. It sure would be a shame as SC has been maybe the best producer of monster slabs in AZ for years. Last week I talked to a friend that fishing there a lot and is one of the best crappie anglers around. He said the launching at Soda Canyon was still doable but the deepest water he could find was 16 feet. Be very, very careful out there as there are no marker buoys. Let’s all prey for some rain and a good snow pack this season.
Tip- Remember that the single most important thing to catching crappie is depth. Crappie only feed upwards so if you’re going to make a mistake, make it fishing too shallow. Not in shallow water but rather the depth of your bait. This week I work the closing shift at Bass Pro Shops, everyday but Thursday. If you need any help please stop in and see me.
Bill (Piscolli) Eveland