It seems like it’s been a long winter, but the weather is warming up and with it comes the yearning to go fishing. Now is the time to crank up the boat and head to your favorite lake.
Crappie are always one of the first species to start feeding in preparation of the spring spawn, so they are good targets this month. Let’s have a look at crappie hotspots for middle Georgia.
In central Georgia, Jack Ivey of Leesburg really likes Lake Blackshear and currently holds the lake record for crappie. He caught his record 3-pound, 7.52-ounce fish back in December of 2007. Ivey dropped a minnow down into a brush pile and the crappie bit so hard he though he had tied into a bass.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Lake Blackshear is the only reservoir in southwest Georgia where catches of both black and white crappie can be expected. The fish usually average 9 to 11 inches in length, but slabs up to 3 1/2 pounds are available.
To find them, concentrate on shallow backwater areas using minnows and jigs while the fish are spawning this month.
Although the lake record fish was caught on a minnow, Ivey fishes with a wide variety of baits. He sometimes uses with a beetle spin, but prefers to fish with a jig most of the time. It may be a white curly tailed jig, a Hal Fly or Jiffy Jig.
The angler also tries a variety of colors. He normally experiments with an assortment of colors to determine if the crappie prefers one color to the others.
But the key, he said, is to move around the lake and study his depthfinder graft to locate the fish. Once he sees a good number of fish on the graft, the next goal is to drop plenty of lures in front of them to entice a bite. Ivey does this by rigging 10 to 12 long poles around his boat and varying his speed to drop the jigs down to the desired depth.
Several of his favorite fishing spots are in the back sections of Swift Creek, which is located on the east shore near the dam. But for bigger crappie, he likes the more open and deeper water around Campers Haven in the upper reaches of the lake at the State Route 27 crossing.