Story of a Crappie Fisherman
Sitting in a boat at sunset on a little lake with a mirrored surface, I suddenly became conscious of schools of fish feeding everywhere on the surface…. two to the left, three behind me, five in front. I counted fifteen schools, all making little swirls and dimples on the water’s surface. What were these fish? I slowly paddled toward the closest school, made a mold, and promptly hauled in a fat crappie! Several more castings into the exact same region resulted in two more fish, before they swirled away. I moved on to another school, and within 30 minutes captured and released 30 fish. Amazing.
But that is crappie fishing; constantly changing, with no “typical fishing day.” The truth is, in regards to crappie fishing, you can count on one thing that for every generalization you make, the reverse often uses. For example, crappie in many cases are captured via the ice, but the finest fishing is in the springtime, from ice out to midsummer. While early morning and evening are prime fishing times, crappie will bite during the day. I normally fish with white or silver baits, but occasionally just black will do. Determined by the period of the day and year, crappie are available in a single foot of water or the deepest portion of the lake.
Known by various names, from calico and strawberry bass to papermouth, the right pronunciation of the fish is “harvest-ee”. Classified as a warmwater fish species, crappie appear in just about all forms of water including lakes, ponds, streams, rivers and impoundments. They’re schooling fish, and are often located where there’s construction in the water like brush, logs, stumps, emergent vegetation, rocky shoals or man made piers and docks. In the event you are not becoming snagged, you are not crappie fishing.
New York is home to two species of crappie, ‘black and white, each of which happen through the state. The black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) is more extensive and plentiful, while the white crappie (Pomoxis annularis) is more patient of muddy or muddy water. Members of the sunfish family (which includes bass, bluegill and pumpkinseed), both species of crappie are quite similar in look, which makes it almost impossible to tell them apart. Actually, the New York State record white crappie, captured in 2001, was initially misidentified as a black crappie.
Crappie can grow to reasonably big sizes in New York, together with the state records being 3 pounds, 13 ounces for the white crappie, and 3 pounds, 12 oz for the black crappie. On the other hand, the average crappie is a lot smaller, typically under 1 1/2 pounds in weight and 7 to 14 inches in length. Lately, New York State enacted a 9 inch minimum size limit for crappie because studies suggested that fish less than 9 inches in length hadn’t reached sexual maturity.
Crappie are an ideal fish for the typical worm dunker to pursue. These fish are widespread, abundant, simple to get, and are prized for their solid, white, delicious flesh. Alongside sunfish, bluegill and yellow perch, they may be excellent species to pursue when introducing a child to fishing.
Crappie Fishing Tackle
An assortment of fishing gear may be utilized to catch crappie. I often use an open faced reel on a six foot ultra light pole with four pound test line. Fly fishing fishing gear additionally functions nicely, particularly in combination with streamers or little, dark flies like black gnats. However there’s no need to get fancy I got my largest crappie on a cane pole, using a bobber as well as a worm.
Lure Crappie Fishing
Lure for crappie fishing contains crickets or grasshoppers, worms, minnows, or little bucktails or jigs with plastic bodies. Don’t forget to utilize a quiet strategy, and throw as far as possible from the shore or a boat. If jigging, allow the lure drop before starting a recover, then recover erratically. Crappie frequently get a lure as it descends in the water. Don’t forget, more than one fish is often captured in the exact same place. These fish will feed commonly during the nighttime, and under the appropriate conditions, for example a lit pier where the lights attract insects and minnows, the fishing might be fast and furious.
Following the tradition which you simply never understand what is going to work when fishing for crappie, I Have even taken crappie on topwater lures, just like largemouth bass. I still remember one June day when they were consistently hitting floating Rapalas project right against emergent shoreline vegetation. My buddy from Kentucky, an enthusiastic crappie fisherman, could not believe his eyes. We reasoned that most likely they were spawning and defending their nests.
Crappie are excellent eating and might be ready for the frying pan with normal filleting techniques. I like to dip the fillets in milk and place them in a bag comprising a combination of equal parts Italian bread crumbs and yellow cornmeal, seasoned with onion and garlic salt. The coated fillets are flash fried in rather hot oil (smoking) until gold brown, and then served with tartar or cocktail sauce. For a real summer treat, join the fillets with corn on the cob and zucchini Parmesan.
I am able to taste ’em now.
Handling the fishery
by Patrick Festa
Contrary to the old popular notion (which even professional fisheries managers touted for a lot of years), capturing and killing as many panfish (crappie, bluegill or yellow perch) as potential isn’t the “greatest thing one can do” for better panfish fishing. The idea of thinning them out so that the remaining fish grow quicker just doesn’t work in practice. Stunting (smaller fish) is frequently the consequence of too many young fish which are too little for anglers to keep. Rather, anglers remove the biggest, fastest growing fish. This not only reduces the typical size of the remaining people, but really encourages stunting by causing the remaining fish to develop early, and by restricting cannibalism a naturally productive means of thinning young fish.
Since anglers can not and do not get enough of the extremely modest sized panfish to make a difference in the growth rate, bigger fish crops don’t enhance panfish quality. Instead, the capacity for crop of panfish is raised, notably during pre-spawning intervals when the biggest, mature fish are highly focused and exposed to fishing. New York anglers need to forget the erroneous belief that “you cannot kill too many panfish.” Instead, they need to work with fisheries managers to support use of day-to-day creel and length limits that equilibrium restricting the crop of larger panfish with the enjoyment of taking home a fair amount of these great eating “sunfish” and perch.
Clark Pell is a biologist in DEC’s Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources. He resides near Coxsackie and spends much of his free time fishing, generally for crappie.