There is just something about that title that just don’t sound right as we are coming off some of the coldest weather the natural state has seen in a good number of years, but the truth is those crappie just don’t care and the fishing continues to get better and better as we speak.
Crappie are found in every lake in the state and some are simply chalked full of these pan fish that can actually reach the 3-4-pound range on occasion, a mess of one pound to two-pound crappie is exactly what you need to fill your freezer and there is currently no better time to be in hot pursuit of these tasty panfish.
Locally the winter months bring out the best of the best crappie fishermen who will brave any and all elements to catch fish. It will usually start something like this; one morning there will be a truck or two in a parking lot of a boat ramp close to where the fish start biting. The next day it will increase to 5 or 6 and by the time the word gets out you will know by looking at the lot where the fish are most definitely biting.
Last year the strip pits on Lake Dardanelle was one of those very hot spots for fishermen as the bite was tremendous. The pits are always good in the winter time as they are loaded with deep water and brush, not to mention large numbers of crappie and they don’t muddy up real bad when we receive large amounts of rain like last week.
All the bridges around the lake have been good as well. Boats have been seen fishing bridges from Delaware to Dardanelle Bay and then back to the strip pits, but all the rain this winter has not helped with stability and the fishing can be hit and miss when the water is fluctuating.
Fishing the bridges is quite simple, tie up or anchor close to the supports, find what depth the fish are at and keep your bait right in front of them. Jigs seem to be the preferred bait this year, but if the bite is slow, sometimes a live minnow will fire them up.
Two other areas on Lake Dardanelle are extremely popular with crappie fishermen this time of year. The narrows at Piney are one of the most popular as you have good deep water with long bluff banks and plenty of area for a large number of fishermen. As always, the trick is finding the fish, which with today’s electronics is much easier than in years past.
The second popular area is the narrows at Shoal bay. Although this area is not as large it still gets a good number of fishermen each year. Shoal bay is also one of the first places anglers start catching crappie on the banks as the spring warm up begins.
Greers Ferry is also seeing some excellent crappie fishing and several of the state fishing reports say the crappie are biting extremely well there and on Lake Ouachita as well.
Another hidden gem I have included the last couple of years is Blue Mountain Lake in west central Arkansas. This little jewel is chalked full of crappie and despite a large amount of pressure the last few years, Blue Mountain continues to turnout numerous limits of crappie.
I know there are probably several other locations doing quite well this winter too, but sometimes these crappie fishermen can be a bit “tight lipped”, but if you hear of a good spot I should mention just shoot me a message and I will help spread the word.
As always if you find a hot spot drop me a line and if you get more than your freezer will hold, stop by and see me sometime.