Many anglers across the Carolinas are eager for water temperatures to warm up, but some anglers are happy with them just the way they are right now. That’s because depending on what you’re fishing for, and where you’re fishing for them, the current water temperatures are just right. That’s the case with Lake Wylie right now, if you’re trying to catch crappie.
Capt. Jerry Neeley of Jerry’s Fishing Guide Service has been having a lot of luck catching crappie, and he said the water temperatures, which have ranged between 44 and 48 degrees in the past couple of weeks, make it easy to find crappie.
“The key to finding them right now is finding bait. Find the bait and you’ll find crappie,” said Neeley, who has been catching them while tight-lining minnows in the mouths of creeks like Big Allison and Little Allison creeks.
Watching his depth finder, Neeley (704-678-1043) has been finding most of the bait stacked up around ledges and humps in these creek mouths. He trolls at around 1/2-mile an hour, and fishes with a two-hook rig with a 1-ounce bell sinker on the bottom of the rig.
“You want to keep your speed down around .5. Otherwise your baits won’t stay vertical. They’ll start coming up behind where you want them. The crappie won’t bite as well as when they are straight down,” he said.
The cooler water temperatures are key, Neeley said, because once those temperatures rise, which he expects will happen within the next few weeks, the crappie move to a different pattern. He said catching them then won’t be a problem, but it will involve a different approach.
“A lot of people really enjoy catching them tight-lining like this. Once the water warms a few degrees consistently, the fish won’t be found in the same areas they are now, at least not in big numbers like they currently are,” he said.
Neeley also said anglers should try to pick their days based on the weather, but he’s not concerned with how cold it is.
“Blue sky days are the best for crappie. On cloudy days, a lot of the crappie will move out to the main lake, and they just don’t bite well out there for some reason. So if you have the choice, fish on those sunny days,” he said.
Neeley is finding a lot of white perch mixed in with crappie right now, but he sees that as a bonus.
“Lake Wylie has some big white perch, and they are very good to eat. You’ll catch them mixed in with the crappie right now,” he said.