Crappie Fishing Is Year-Round Pursuit

OUTDOORS UNDER THE RIM

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Springtime is considered the traditional time to catch crappies at Roosevelt Lake prior to and during the spawn. What about the other nine months of the year?

Do these fish quit biting or do we quit fishing for them? If you hang around fishermen, you will learn of many year-round crappie fishermen who are very successful because of the techniques they use.

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Matt and Jimmy Behrens proudly show off a crappie they boated while fishing at Roosevelt Lake.

There are many successful fishermen, and two of the more noted are Curt Rambo and Art Chamberlin, both of Tonto Basin. They fish year round for those tasty crappies.

Fall is upon us and the air temperatures allow us to fish longer during the daylight hours. So you may be heading to the lake wondering how to catch these fish. A good graph is essential to locate crappies that can be found in 10 to 30 feet of water at this time of year. They will be close to baitfish or submerged structure. Once you locate fish, it is important to present the bait, whether minnows or jigs, at the correct depth and hope for a bite. If you catch a crappie, having used this technique, chances are very good that more fish are in close proximity.

I use small buoy markers, which allow me to fish close to the same spot. I picked this technique up from longtime friend Curt Rambo who by many is considered one of the best all-time crappie fishermen in Arizona.

Choosing the right bait also is pivotal in catching these fish. The most popular bait is a live minnow on a small jighead hook of 1/8, 1/16 or 1/32 ounce. The weight of the jig head is determined by the depth of the fish on the graph or the speed of your trolling motor.

Another popular bait is the Berkley power grub in a variety of colors. The motion of the tail and the smell of the bait make the power grub very successful. My favorite is the two-inch grub in chartreuse and pumpkin colors. Kalin's also has a variety of grubs, and their most popular colors are John Deere or chartreuse and dark blue.

Many crappie fishermen slow troll one of these grubs or a mini-jig tipped with a live minnow. There are other methods of catching fall and winter crappies, but most fishermen at Roosevelt Lake prove these techniques successful. Like everything else, practice and being on the water will increase your chances of catching crappies in the fall and winter.

This next week, take a trip to Roosevelt and give crappie fishing a try. If you have questions stop by the Tackle Box, one-half mile south of Punkin Center, and get the latest fishing report, or call the hotline number at (928) 978-3500.

This weekend, enjoy the outdoors and God's creation. Good luck fishing!

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