Water temperatures in the low to mid 60s represent
one of Kansas’ most important angling times – the crappie spawn. Water warms quickly
in small impoundments like ponds, but more slowly in large reservoirs. This week should
be ideal at many Kansas locations for catching spawning crappies in shallow water.
May crappie fishing is popular for two reasons. First, these fish are tasty and daily limits
are liberal, allowing from 20 to 50 fish per day at most locations. Crappies are concentrated
in shallows, so it’s a great time to stock your freezer. And anglers without boats have
a great opportunity to catch reservoir crappies along shorelines. So accessibility is easy.
Jigs or minnows are the preferred baits, and most anglers fish either of these under a
bobber. Crappies spawn in structure like rocks or submerged brush, and stick-ups in shallow
water are likely targets. Best fishing is often at dawn and dusk, though good fishing
can occur throughout the day. The fish can be spooky in shallows, so fish as quietly
as possible. Set your lure or bait 18 inches below a bobber,
and use a steady or stop-and-go retrieve. When the bobber bounces, set the hook.
Fly-fishers also do well on spawning crappies, either from shoreline or from a float tube.
A float tube permits fishing in less accessible places and can be very productive. Best flies
are minnow imitations on size 6 hooks, but wooley buggers can also be deadly.
Go now and get in on some great Kansas fishing. Check lake regulations – some have a 10”
minimum length lmit for crappies. And take a youngster – you’ll double your fun as
you watch another generation get hooked on this exciting Kansas opportunity.
I’m Mike Blair for Kansas Wildlife and Parks.