Outdoors

Fishing for crappie tips

Expert crappie anglers Jeff Ensz and Bob Roberts offer the following advice:

* Spawning crappie prefer to relate to brush in shallow water when spawning. They also prefer areas with solid bottoms.

* Attaching a quarter-sized float above a jig will help keep lures from getting snagged and at the right depth. The added weight also helps when casting small jigs. About two feet is usually the right depth but it's wise to experiment.

* Chartreuse and white are the most popular colors for crappie lures. Florescent pink heads are often used. It's wise to carry an assortment of colors should the old faithfuls fail.

* Cold fronts and rising water can hamper the spawn fishing, as can fishing pressure and boat traffic. Get on the fish as quickly as you can once they move shallow.

* Most good anglers see 60 degrees as the perfect temperature to send crappie to the banks. Temperature swings of five or more degrees are common in different parts of the same lake.

* Not all Kansas crappie are spawning at the same time. Normally lakes in southern Kansas start and end a week to two weeks earlier than those further north. The spawn begins in the shallow, murky waters of creeks and rivers on most lakes. Coves on the lake's main body generally warm last and hold the last pockets of spawning fish.

* A great way to fix crappie is to roll the cleaned fillet in flour, dip it in an egg wash and roll it in instant potato flakes before frying. Lightly salt the fish after it's golden brown and serve. - Roberts.

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