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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody,

I'm new to NC Angler and I'm a crappie enthusiast who knows a little about crappie fishing but not a whole lot. Does that make sense? How can I say I'm a crappie enthusiast who doesn't know "a whole lot" about it? Sort of contradictory, huh? I grew up fishing Ky Lake and went back there last year with a guide and brought back a cooler full. I live in Waynesville, NC and I can't find anyone who fishes or even guides for crappie on the lakes here in the mountains. I'm most intersted in Fontana where I'm told there are a lot of crappie, nobody is fishing for them, but they are hard to find and hard to catch because the lake is so deep and the water level is always fluctuating so much...................messing with the spawn, etc. Any thoughts?

Rob
 

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Re: Hello!

Check the regulations on the lake before hand but building a series of crappie beds at different depths usually affords you some pinpoint locations to fish where you know where to fish when they are at a certain depth. As the water level changes, the depth to the bed will also change. A lot of newspapers post the local lake water levels at least weekly but if you have a depthfinder you can always check a certain lake bottom feature to get the most accurate depth above your beds.
 

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Re: Hello!

JDHD - and we just thought you were extra-enthusiastic about sinker-man's crappie bed suggestion! I recommend the first part of sinker-man's suggestion
Check the regulations on the lake before hand
be applied to any "alternative" solution, especially one using non-traditional tackle (ie. boom sticks, crank telephones, car batteries, tasers, or whatever else you might have on hand. Sounds like JDHD may have more of that on hand than the rest of us).

Semi-related tangent - I did see an episode of one of the discovery/learning channel survival shows where the survivor-guy mashed up the roots from some tropical plant, shook them around in a small tidal pool, and the residue from the pulp paralyzed a bunch of little fish who floated to the surface for easy dinner. I thought that was really cool (but not sure how excited I'd be to eat the paralyzed fishies).

Other semi-related tangent - Forgot to welcome roblough to the fun. Haven't ever been up to Fontana so can't offer much toward your post, but I look forward to hearing about that mountain lake fishing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Hello!

Thanks to all you guys! Sinker man, I'm familiar with crappie beds from my days on KY Lake. It's a TVA lake and they alwsays drew it down in the Spring getting ready for the rains to come. We used haybales, brush..................anything biodegradable that would entice the fish to hang around. Those were the days before GPS and you either had to tie a float & string to them if they were very deep, or if the area you were putting them was shallow enough, just a long tomatoe stake would do.
 

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Re: Hello!

Crappie beds are usually just junior versions of what you sleep on at home. (sorry couldn't resist.) really they can be made from a variety of materials as long as they provide plenty of dense cover. The simplest and most common are cedar Christmas trees cleaned up and weighted with a concrete block or two at the bottom and a plastic quart jug firmly attaced near the top to keep them upright. In a lake like Fontana it would be best to drop 5 or 6 right up against a vertical ledge in a sunny location. The floats should ideally be about 2-3 above the top of the tree tops in open water to help boaters avoid them in low water. Use polypropelene rope to attach blocks and floats. Some folks build them out of vertical slabs, some out of bamboo and just about any materials you can think of. The method I like best is to accumulate some hardwood pallets and concrete blocks and build condos. Put a block down under the end of each runner of a pallet. (6 blocks on edge, 1 per corner and 1 on each end of the center partition or runner) On top of that just alternate between a block on each corner and another pallet. End up with a pallet on top so that she will sink properly. Make sure you place your blocks like you were laying a wall so you can run rope or steel strapping down thru each pallet and block on each corner. Remember that these will weigh a lot so you need a a pontoon boat with big pontoons or 20' carolina skiff etc. to set these out. Also some strong backs.
 

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Rob, I live just a few miles from fontana it's a good lake for walleye but not the best in our area for crappie. You should try lake Santeetla just outside Robbinsville, it's only a few miles from Fontana and a much better lake for crappie. Two years ago the lake had alot of habitat work done for panfish, trees were cut down and allowed to fall in the lake all along the shore and it has paid off big for crappie. The lake has several boat ramps has alot of shallow water 25-50 ft in the channels and sloaping up to the banks. Give it a try I'm sure you'll like it better than Fontana and there are a few guides in the area that do Crappie.

Good luck and tight lines
 

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Give the crappie a little time. The water temp has not come up. They will turn on around 60 degrees. Deep water lakes are tougher but they are there. Fish structure and rock piles. Most mountain lakes have very few docks. If you do see a dock, fish as far up under it as you can get. Nantahala lake is also nearby. Even here in the lower elevations they are 12 to 15 ft and rising.
 

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Christmas trees, especially cedars provide dense cover for larval crappies which can't be penetrated by most predators. They also provide cover for adults, especially when they are placed within 10" of a ledge or similar structure. These are great for shallow water use.
 
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