Crappie fishing on Lake Wateree is excellent and will likely be that way for the next several weeks, according to local fisherman Ken Boone, who said the action is a bit different than most years during April.

"The best way to describe it is that right now, and I think for the next several weeks, if you can find the crappie, you can catch them," Boone said. "A good example is my experience recently. I am catching a limit of big crappies nearly every time I go, but I am often finding them in different places and depths." 

 

In addition to living on the lake and fishing several times a week, Boone also owns the Colonels Creek Market where he also gets the latest crappie information from other anglers.

 

"Typically, conditions at Lake Wateree during April are fairly predictable," Boone said. "But this year, with the cool weather and cold rains in March and early April, the water temperature has been anything but stable. Now that we've got warm weather and the water temperature is on a steady climb, the fish are cooperating but fishermen need to move to find them."

Boone said that very recently, crappie made a move to the shallows, and limits of slabs were caught by numerous anglers in as little as a foot of water.

 

"But almost overnight, the fish moved back out of the major creeks to the mouths of the creeks and were being consistently caught in 12 to 18 feet of water," Boone said. "But as we approach the full moon (next week), I expect the fish will come back to the shallows, then move back out.

 

"Based on the condition of the eggs I've seen in the crappie I've cleaned, many are still weeks from spawning. We're going to have a lot of fish spawn in May. I think there could be another movement to shallower water in a few weeks, although because of the water temperature, the crappie may not come all the way to the bank. I think we'll see a wave of crappie spawning in May, but they'll likely do so more in 10- to 12-foot depths."

 

Boone is catching crappie casting 1/32nd-ounce yellow jigs on 4-pound test line around sunken brush or blowdowns, stumps or other woody cover based on the depth crappie are found. He said a lot of anglers are making excellent catches tight-lining minnows and trolling jigs or minnows along ledges.

 

"Crappie are biting," Boone said. "The key now and for the next few weeks is to work different depths with either jigs or minnows. When you pattern them, you can usually limit out quickly on that pattern. But the next time you go, the pattern may have changed so be ready to adapt."