Posted by Kerry Grissett on November 25, 2002 at 19:34:02:
In Reply to: Crappie discussion opinions posted by slabby on November 25, 2002 at 18:27:39:
I thought about the possibility of a year class event, but I doubt that is the problem this time. Consistent water levels in the fall may in fact help the crappie population in future years, but if TVA is actually changing the way it handles the water levels on the Tennessee river lakes, a lot of us are going to have to re-learn how to fish them.
I think we need more consistency during the spring when the crappie are staging for spawning and during the actual spawning period. We definitely haven't had that on Wheeler in a very long time, yet Wheeler is out producing Guntersville this fall and Guntersville has historically had MUCH more consistent water levels at all times of the year mainly due to having only a 2 foot draw down compared to Wheeler's 6 foot draw down and wild level fluctuations given its use as a flood control lake. Go figure.
The smaller crappie in numbers have been on nearly every lake, Pickwick, Wilson, Wheeler, Guntersville and even Weiss, so it would have to have been something that affected all of these lake the same year for a year class answer.
I still think the warmer water and higher levels have kept the crappie from moving into their usual fall haunts. Also, I have noticed that the shad have not been in many of the usual areas they "normally" would be by this time of year. I think this is also due to the warmer water and higher levels late into the fall. When colder weather comes in sooner (and it has for the last several years) and the water levels drop according to the TVA operating guides (which it has not so far this fall for more than a day or 2), I think this pushes the bait and game fish out of the shallower areas and into the deeper waters where folks usually catch them this time of year. Of course, I haven't heard much about anyone catching good shallow water crappie either. Another note, the sauger are usually turned on by now. Only a few reports of slow activity with sauger up to this point.
Wheeler has produced better crappie for me than Guntersville, so far, but Guntersville looks like it may be getting its water level and surface temps down finally.
In any case, I am always full of theories about why I'm not catching as many quality fish as I would like. Funny thing is, none of them involve a lack of skill on my part! (grin)
Thanks for the post!
Good luck and good fishin'
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