If you’re in search of trophy-sized crappie look no further than Grenada Lake in Mississippi. While this 35,820 acre waterway can be great for largemouth bass, white bass, and catfish, it is best known for its outstanding crappie fishing. 3-pound crappie are not uncommon, and those pushing 4-pounds can be caught by the persistent angler!
Water in Grenada Lake tends to be turbid which discourages anglers that prefer clearer water. Excessive turbidity is not an angling problem, however, as discolored water contributes to larger catches. Anglers should fish shallow and use lures that are brightly colored and produce noise and/or vibration to maximize their catch.
Prior to impoundment, much of the original timber in the minimum pool area was removed, and the remaining timber has been devastated by a series of four 100-year floods in the last two decades. The upper rivers still retain substantial stumpage and stickups. Buck brush above Gums Crossing in the Skuna Arm and above Youngs Landing in the Yalobusha Arm provides great fish habitat when inundated. The Corps of Engineers, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, as well as several private groups and volunteers have an ongoing project of setting Christmas trees and cedar tops in strategic locations to create additional fish habitat. To date, over 3,000 unmarked fish shelters are in place.
Here are some tips for locating and catching crappie on Grenada Lake:
• As soon as the water starts to warm in spring, pre-spawn crappie begin to congregate in sloughs off the main river channels. Crappie will suspend 2 to 3 feet down over water 4 to 5 feet deep. Warm, sunny days seem to stimulate a better bite than cool, cloudy periods.
• Crappie will move from their pre-spawn staging areas to shallower water to spawn some time between mid-March and mid-April. Brush and stump roots provide ideal reproduction conditions.
• When finished spawning, crappie head back to the river channels where they suspend 5 to 6 feet below the surface over depths of 8 to 12 feet. Again, they look for stump fields. Crappie remain in this pattern until early June when even warmer weather sends them deeper. All summer long, crappie school in the main lake near structure that is as deep as 20 feet. A depthfinder is essential for locating fish at this time of the year. Submerged cypress trees are a favorite fish haunt.
• Beginning in September and extending until winter, crappie move from the main lake into shallower water. Begin your search deep and be prepared to move as shallow as 5 feet. Sloughs off the river and creek channels are especially good in fall.
• There’s a number of great setups for crappie fishing. Many prefer telescoping rods, like the Lew’s Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy when straight line fishing. Move to a Mr. Crappie Slab Shaker paired with a Mr. Crappie Slab Shaker Spinning Reel for spinning enthusiasts or Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy Jig & Troll Spinning Combo if you need some versatility in your gear.
• Throughout most of the year, crappie will readily take jigs. A lightweight leadhead (1/16-ounce) in either orange head/black tail or orange head/orange tail, like the Strike King Mr. Crappie Jig Head or Mr. Crappie Slab Slasher jigs, works best. Pair these with a Mr. Crappie Slabalicious, Slab Slangers, Grubs, Lightining Shad, or any favorite soft bait. Do not hesitate to switch colors if the oranges do not produce strikes as they should, as crappie change their color preferences whimsically.
• If you want to add something extra your offering, marinate your jigs and baits in scent or attractant for a few hours before hitting the water. Mike’s Lunker Lotion is a great option to add both extra scent and bright color to your offering. If you’re fishing in low light conditions, add Pro-Cure Super Gel which adds scent and UV enhancement. Tipping your jig with Pautzke Crappie Fire Balls is also extremely productive. Sometimes these little additions to your presenation make all the difference between an empty bucket or full cooler at the end of the day.
For a more detailed lake map and real-time fishing reports follow the Grenada Lake waterway page on Fishidy.