The final crappie contest in a series of four two-week showdowns hosted by the Tackle Box in Tonto Basin begins today and wraps up April 29 at Roosevelt Lake.
To participate, register at the Tackle Box one-half mile south of Punkin Center. There is no fee.
Prizes will be awarded for the three heaviest crappies weighed in during the two weeks.
According to pro angler and Tackle Box co-owner Mark Kile, it doesn't take a huge crappie to be in on the prize awards.
"We gave away a third place for a .93 pound (crappie)," he said.
"A one-and-a-half pounder also has won."
The few crappie being caught, Kile said, are not because of a lack of fish in Roosevelt Lake but rather flaws in strategy.
Kile said that when the waters at Roosevelt were lower, anglers could catch the elusive crappie by trolling in the middle of the lake. With Roosevelt now 93-percent full and plenty of submerged vegetation for the fish to hide in during the spawn, the trolling strategy no longer works.
"Fishermen have to rethink how to catch (crappie)," Kile said.
Anglers should now fish underwater structure, trees and brush rather than trolling.
A real plus in the crappie contest is that following weigh in, anglers and their families can sit down to a delicious pan-fried meal of a fish that is considered one of the most mouth-watering species.
For more information on the contest, call Kile at (928) 479-2108.