– B’n’M pro Steve Coleman suggests that when fall turnover has crappie stressing on the main lake, finding an area with moving water coming into the lake could become a fall fishing hotspot.
Moving water, caused by culvert pipes dumping into a lake or spillways draining water out, mixes oxygen throughout the water column.
Moving water can be fished a number of ways. Coleman’s favorite is casting or jigging with a single pole.
To effectively fish moving water, look for slack water areas adjacent to the current where crappie will hold to ambush baitfish.
Question: Steve, just where would you find an area that has more oxygen than other areas of the lake?
Coleman: It’s really pretty simple – look for moving water. Any time you have current, either from dropping the lake levels for winter pool or where you’ve got water coming into a lake, you’ll have better water quality. That moving water, especially if it tumbles coming into the lake, will have more oxygen and crappie will always gravitate to the better water quality during the fall.
Question: Are these areas not affected by fall turnover?
Coleman: Usually not. You can tell when a lake is turning over in areas that are calm and still. The water will have a dark or murky look to it. Sometimes you’ll even see dead shad on the surface or rough fish like gar or carp rolling on top. It really stresses crappie which is why they go looking for that moving water that’s got more oxygen from top to bottom.
Question: There’s a common belief that crappie don’t like current. Do your tactics go against this belief?
Coleman: Crappie don’t like having to fight the current, but they do like to eat and that’s another reason they’ll head to moving water. This time of year, baitfish migrate into the backs of creeks, they’re looking for better water quality just like the crappie. Crappie won’t spend much time in fast moving water, they typically like to hide behind a current break or find some slack water right out of the current and dart out there and eat baitfish that are swept by.
I’ll give you an example, there’s this culvert down at Weiss Lake, Alabama that runs under a road and anytime Ronnie and I are down there and cross that culvert, we pull over and take a look at it. If there’s water coming through it, we’ll head down there and fish it and usually catch a bunch of crappie no matter what time of year it is.
Question: So what’s the best way to fish moving water?
Coleman: There’s a number of ways. If the area is big enough to get a boat in, Ronnie and I will tight line right up into where the water is spilling in. But one of my favorite ways is to cast into it or jig fish the edges of it.
Look for a backlash in the current, a swirling area or still part off to the edge of the moving current. Sometimes this is caused by the bottom contour or it could be caused by rocks, tree stumps, or other cover on the bottom. That’s where the crappie will be holding, it’s up to you to figure out the best way to get to them.
Question: What tackle and baits do you recommend for anglers who want to try casting or jigging moving water?
Coleman: B’n’M makes a number of great casting rods. It would be hard to pick just one. The Sam’s Super Sensitive is a good one, as is the Buck’s Ultimate or Roger Gant’s rod, The Difference. You can’t go wrong with any of these. I like a 8 or 9 foot rod for casting. I combine that with a smooth reeling spinning reel. Of course, I use our new Capps & Coleman line for everything now. Either the 4 pound or 6 pound test works great for casting, sometimes I’ll go up to 8 pound if there a lot of structure around just so I don’t break off as much.
A 1/16 ounce jig is probably the most popular bait; you don’t want something too heavy that will hang up in the bottom. It’s rare these days that I don’t tip any jig I’m fishing with a live minnow – either casting or jig fishing. It gives that extra scent and it feels right to the fish.
Browse through B’n’M’s wide selection of casting and jigging rods and find the perfect rod to fit your needs. We offer digital versions of our catalog in two formats – a PDF version and an online interactive version, either way, find us at www.bnmpoles.com and start becoming a better crappie angler today.