As temperatures drop around the state, the fishing is definitely heating up, and there's no place that's more true than on Lake Russell.

According to guide Wendell Wilson, three different methods are all producing crappie on Russell: trolling the creeks, fishing at night under bridges or fishing brush piles.

"There's a lot of 8- to 11-inch fish, or about a half-pound, up in the creeks," said Wilson (706-283-3336). "They're holding in anywhere from 4 to 12 feet of water in the very backs of the creeks. There's a lot of shad present, and the best way to fish them in the creeks is to troll jigs. The fishing is still better in the morning and late in the evening, but it doesn't quit in the middle of the day like it does in the summer – and that'll get better as it cools off even more."

If you're looking for larger fish, Wilson suggests down-lining live bait under the bridges at night. And since the cool weather has gotten rid of most of the bug population it's not such a bad idea. Those fish tend to like the deeper water – 40 to 50 feet – but they're holding in 15 to 20 feet.

The last way Wilson recommends fishing is to fish the brush piles with a slip-float rig in 10 to 12 feet of water. The brush is in depths of around 20 to 25 feet, and the fish are holding in the middle of the water column.

"When I troll and use jigs, I use a 1/16-ounce head with a curlytail grub," Wilson said. "I honestly don't pay too much attention to the color of the grub. I put out all different colors, and one color doesn't seem to work better than any other right now."

If live bait is more to your liking, Wilson has been using medium-shiner minnows and threadfish shad, both about 2 inches long – "exactly what they're eating," he said.