Cooler than normal air temperatures are helping Stumpy Pond, a small lake also known as Rocky Creek Lake, continue to produce good catches of crappie right into May.
Guide Buster Rush said the first few weeks of May look very good on 847-acre Stumpy Pond, which is just upstream from Lake Wateree on the Catawba River. Right now, it’s Rush’s favored hot spot is producing excellent crappie action.
"The lake has been producing limits of crappie consistently," Rush said. "Plus, we’ve caught some huge fish there this spring, with one fat crappie measuring 18 inches long. At Stumpy Pond and a bit further up at Fishing Creek, the water temperature is such that excellent fishing continues after fishing slows down at some other lakes. The action usually remains good right though the middle of May and sometimes the entire month. This looks like one of those late seasons."
Rush (803-432-5010) said his preferred method for taking crappie from Stumpy Pond is to troll using jigs.
"I fish from my pontoon boat and actually use the big motor running in reverse to back-troll," Rush said. "To keep the speed right, I'll put out a 6-foot wind sock to slow the speed of the boat. My targeted speed is between 0.8 and 1.1 miles per hour, and right now, the best depth to troll is 7 to 8 feet deep. I will experiment daily to adjust the speed and depth for that specific day, but that is the range I’m using now."
Rush troll multiple rods, usually 10 of varying length to effectively cover more water. He prefers a 1/16-ounce jighead with a No. 7 split-shot about a foot above them. The jigs and his grub bodies will run the gamut of colors.
"I'll experiment with color patterns until I find what's best on a particular day," Rush said. "Right now, the brown and green jig with a chartreuse tail has produced best, along with the John Deere green color. But those colors are merely a starting point.
“Trolling at just over a mile per hour speed, the jigs work about 7 feet deep, and at 0.8 they drop to 8 feet. As the month continues, fish will typically move a bit deeper, and I’ll compensate for that.”
For specific hot spots, Rush said it's a daily experiment of checking several different potential areas.
"Stumpy Pond is aptly named, and there’s a lot of stumps and underwater woody cover,” Rush said. “I’ll experiment until I get the right depth for that day and work on that depth with plenty of cover. Points, pockets, flats near drops or even slight depth changes are places where I’m catching crappie. I typically prefer mornings at this time of year."