Coldwater Crappie at Grenada and Sardis Lakes in Mississippi
Author’s Note: Although water and weather temperatures are cooling down, don’t put-0away your rod and reel just yet. There are plenty of big bass and fat crappie to be caught in November and December. To find out where to catch the biggest and the most bass and crappie this month, we asked two of the best professional fisherman in the industry – Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, four-time BASS Angler-of-the-Year and two-time Bassmaster Classic winner, and Ronnie Capps of Tiptonville, Tennessee, who, along with his partner, is co-winner of more than $1.4 million earned catching crappie, as well as co-winner of the 2009 Crappie USA South Region Regional Event – to name their favorites. VanDam has proven that he’s one of the best bass fishermen in the nation, and has surpassed tournament winnings of more than $3.5 million.
Grenada Lake in Grenada, Mississippi – This lake historically has produced some of the biggest crappie in the nation, and during November and December, the lake will be drawing-down and the crappie will be holding on river and creek channels. Also, since the lake is drawn-down, I can see all the brush piles and the stake beds other anglers have put in the lake to hold crappie. I mark each of these stake beds or brush tops as a waypoint on my handheld GPS receiver. Then when I return in the spring, I know where these crappie attractors are located and I can fish around them.
The crappie will be concentrated in the river and the creek channels because that’s the only place for the crappie to be, besides the main lake. I eddy hop for the crappie at this time of year. I search for slack water areas where current moving through the lake creates eddies. These eddies usually are created by a river or a creek bend, and most of the crappie will be concentrated in those eddy areas. These eddies are easy to spot because oftentimes there will be a lot of trash sitting still in an eddy or going around in a circle. That eddy spot may not be bigger than my boat.
When you find these eddies, you can catch crappie using any tactic. You can fish with either a jig, a minnow or a slip cork and cast to the eddies, or you can put the legal number of poles you can fish on the front of your boat with double-minnow rigs, push those poles and minnows up into those eddies, sit still and catch crappie. Grenada has a 12 inch limit, so your crappie have to be larger than 12 inches if you want to keep them. This size crappie will weigh from 1 pound, 8 ounces to 1 pound, 10 ounces, and it’s not uncommon to catch 2 pound plus crappie here. I’ve caught 2-1/2 to 2-3/4 pound crappie here. Two pounders are quite common.
Sardis Lake in Mississippi close to Como, Mississippi – This is an easy lake to fish. You can fish Sardis all day, never get hung up and catch plenty of crappie. You can find and catch nice-sized crappie right off the face of the dam. You’ll see a number of local fishermen fishing there. I’ll be fishing in 15 feet of water with 3/4- to 1-ounce weights on my minnow rigs. Many people put their boats in at the dam and just fish with their trolling motors around the dam.
The crappie in this lake also have to be larger than 12 inches for you to keep them, and keepers will weigh from 1-1/4 to 2-1/4 pounds each. I expect to catch some crappie that weigh 2-1/2 pounds. I’ll be slow trolling with 2-1/2 to 3 inch minnows. Another productive place to fish here is Clear Creek. Slow-troll along the old creek channel. If the wind’s blowing out of the north, fish on the north side of the lake near White’s Crossing. Try to stand out of the wind, and troll along the edges of the old creek channels or on the old river ledge.
These are the best crappie and bass lakes in the nation picked by two of the best professional fishermen in the nation. Try these tactics on these lakes, and you’ll have some hot fishing action, even though the weather may be a little cool.
This article is part of a series on fall and winter fishing hotspots. Click here for bass and crappie suggestions in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Missouri.