BLACK CRAPPIE inhabit warm clear water lakes with large aquatic plant communities. During spring they prefer cover such as docks, pilings, brush, underwater weedbeds and tules. As the water warms they migrate to cover in deeper water.
They spawn from April through May although the time may vary somewhat due to water temperatures. They hollow out nest on soft mud bottoms in or near weedbeds. Crappie nest in colonies and the females may lay eggs in more than one nest. The males guard the nest until the eggs hatch and guard the fry until the egg sack is absorbed at which the young scatter to open water.
Crappie congregate in schools prior to the spawn and during the nesting period which make them a popular target for anglers during the spring.
Black Crappie are heavy fish eaters but will eat plankton, insects and shrimp in the absence of fish. They feed at all times of the day but their preferred feeding times are early morning, evening and late night.
Black Crappie commonly reach 1.5 pounds. The lifespan of the Black Crappie is 6 to 10 years.
FISHING METHODS: If legal, the best bait for black crappie is live baitfish such as minnows, shiners, or shad, two to three inches long. Crappie will hit small rapalas, or Broken Backs, however, the most popular lure is an 1/8th ounce lead head jig with a rubber or marabou skirt. The most popular colors are green and white, red and white, yellow and white and purple and black. The jigs can be suspended from a bobber or jigged at a variety of depths.
Black Crappie can be fickle. A color combination may work for a short time and then they like something else. Be prepared to offer variety and change lures often. If you haven't caught a fish within 15 minutes after fishing a likely spot, move on, they probably aren't there.
Bluegill are one of the most common species population our low elevation warm water lakes and slow moving rivers. They prefer habitat with good aquatic plant growth or tule beds but will survive almost anywhere they are introduced.
BLUEGILL are prolific reproducers with as many as 60,000 fry hatching from one nest. Spawning usually takes place in May but may continue until August. The spawn takes place when water temperatures reach the mid sixties. The males construct saucer shaped nests in sandy or muddy bottoms and usually in colonies. More than one female may lay eggs in a nest. The eggs which hatch in two to three days are guarded by the males which protect the fry for several days thereafter.
The favorite food of bluegill is minnows although a larger part of their diet consists of aquatic insects such as caddis flies and mayflies. They also forage on worms, snails, small crawfish and fish eggs. Large bluegill will feed on forage fish. Their preferred feeding time is the evening hours but they forage all day.
The average bluegill is 7-9" long and weigh less than .5 pounds but are commonly caught in the two pound range in large lakes with good habitat.
FISHING METHODS: Pieces of nightcrawlers, redworms, mealworms, grubs and nymphs are all good bait for bluegill. Use a small hook, #10, and suspend the bait from a bobber of fish the bottom in shallows near tules. Small spinners and bass plugs will also induce bluegill to strike. Fly fishermen can match the local aquatic insect hatch and be quite successful.