Re: Guntersville Crappie

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Posted by Alex on October 26, 2006 at 21:51:05:

In Reply to: Re: Guntersville Crappie posted by Flytyer on October 26, 2006 at 08:00:46:

Flytyer, I am sorry to say that Kerry and I did not take a water temp reading. Normally I do but I guess once you get on fish, you tend to forget. Just by feel I would guess in mid to upper 60's. Based on my computer data, 64.3 would be my true guess. To answer your question about crappie being that deep this time of year can only be my opinion. I am no expert but I will share my thoughts and past experiences based on catch rates and data collected.

Crappie normally will be grouping up out on the main channels and creek mouths in late summer. For the exact reason I am not sure but I do believe they are recovering from the past spawning season and high water temps during the summer months. Every year a special thing happens and that is the "thread fin shad" migrations. In the late summer early fall, threadfin shad start to group up in large schools and can be found in the back end of coves or pockets. Once the water starts to really cool down the shad will migrate back out onto the main river channels and will stack up on channel bends and secondary points. The depth of the crappie normally will depend on where the shad are located. When Kerry and I went the other day, shad were not a factor but the bream were. I think just about every fish I cleaned the other night had one or two small bluegill in their stomachs.

The point I am trying to make is that crappie will not be far from their forage source. In late fall early winter, I have fished an area and located threadfin shad in 20 feet of water and right below them you would see larger fish. 90% percent of the time the larger returns were crappie. The very next day I would fish the same location and the shad had relocated at 10-12 feet. Again, right below them would be the larger returns.

When thinking about your question, I went back and looked at an excel spread sheet I created many years ago with some easy formulas. This spread sheet contains over a thousand fishing trips during the past 23 years. What I found was that thread fin shad will hold at certain depths based on water temperatures. What I noticed was there was a pattern taking place and this pattern would give water temps based on time of year. Of course this does not work every time for obvious reasons, but it is pretty accurate! I know you are probably thinking well duh! Not so fast! Think about hooking up your boat one morning and right before you leave you look on your computer and type in November 13! All of a sudden you see data that shows shad on average will be holding at 21 feet and an average water temp of 51 degrees. Now when you get to the lake you start looking in 21 feet of water and BINGO shad schools. You look over at the temp gage and it reads 50.6 degrees. Scary right! Like I said, this does not always work but it is scary how close it is! Anyway hope this might help in some way. What is scary is how much you forget over the years. I still pinch myself sometimes when I go back and read a report from 1982! Kerry said that if anything ever happens to me, he wants this info! It probably would make a great North Alabama fishing book! Good luck and wear your life jacket!

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