We like to keep our anglers in the know! All Seasons Crappie Guides will post updated fishing reports below from the various Southern Illinois waters that we all love to fish.
Spring is almost here! Can't wait, but at the moment fish are in a scattered pattern as always this time of year. As water temps slowly climb, look for crappie to start staging in mid depth cover in big numbers over the next few weeks. As of now, water temps on Rend are in the low 40's. As I said, crappie are in a wide range with water temps, bait fish, and water clarity all playing huge rolls in where fish are located now. North of 154, water temps are a degree or two higher and water clarity is stained to muddy. With that, look for crappie to be staging on main lake points and the mouths of bays in 6 - 12 feet of water. Black/chartreuse and black/pink glow combos have been the best as of late. Jigs have been out fishing live bait as well lately. South of 154, water temps are slightly cooler and the water is a touch clearer. Look for fish staging on main lake points, mouths of bays, and directly on the main creek channel in depths of 12 - 20 feet. Again, this is the time to pay attention to water temps more so than any other time of the year. Also, don't over look rip rap banks, especially on sunny afternoons. Crappie can be found very shallow chasing bait fish and relating to slightly warmer water temps around rip rap banks. Fish will move quickly from there staging areas now, to pre spawn, and then spawning areas in a matter of a few days. So for the moment, use your electronics to locate structure, bait fish, and the right water temp and get in on some good late winter action!
Kinkaid always offers a wide pattern during most of the year. With a clear/ deep main lake and a shallow/ stained creek arm, fish can be found in a few inches of water to 35 feet of water this time of year. Target crappie on the main lake using medium shiners in 20 - 35 looking for cover in the mouths of bays and creek channel banks. Kinkaid offers a lot of prime spots where lay downs are adjacent to creek channels. Always a year round crappie spot! As you move closer to the creek arms, water clarity will turn to stained/muddy. Look for crappie to get shallower as the water gets muddier and Midsouth glow tubes will start producing more bites. Crappie are holding in 5 - 12 feet of water in murky water at this time. Water temps are in the low 40's and on Kinkaid with a good population of black crappie, look for some large black females to start showing signs of spawning when water temps reach 48 - 52. Look for cover high in the water column over deep water. Brush or lay downs in the 15 - 30 feet of water that come up just feet below the surface, can hold huge black crappie especially on sunny days! As I said, this can be a challenging time of year to fish but staying on the move, utilizing your electronics, watching for bait fish, and paying attention to slightly warmer water temps can produce big results!