Jordan Lake’s black crappies are migrating out of deep water and have reached staging areas for the coming spring spawn. Even though the heavy activity is a few days away, anglers such as guide Freddie Sinclair were catching slabs in 15 feet of water this past weekend.

That depth indicates that crappie are making their first move toward the shoreline, and with the surface temperature around 47 degrees, Sinclair said it’s still too cool for crappie to trigger a full-blown spawn.

“The temperature needs to reach 53 degrees to push crappie to the banks,” he said. “When we have a few warmer days in a row, with temperatures in the 60s, that’ll warm up the water and fish will move. And that won’t be long.”

Sinclair and other fishermen have been predicting that this spring will feature plenty of bragging-sized fish, three years after a fish kill that affected the lake’s crappie population. One day last week, Sinclair and another fishermen caught 25 fish.

“We fished about six hours and caught them pretty good,” said Sinclair (919-219-2804). “We had several 1 ½-pounders.”

Those fish came from 15 feet of water around the mouth of doves, having left the 25-foot depths where they spent the winter.

Sinclair has been tightline trolling with 12 rods pulling 1/32-ounce curlytail jigs, hair jigs or live minnows while barely moving at .4 mph. The slow speed allows his lures to hang almost straight down. When crappies head inshore to spawn in a few days, he’ll troll faster to keep his lures off the bottom but in the strike zone.

“When the water temperature is right, I’d go to the back of flats in 5 to 6 feet of water,” he said. “Those areas can be in any part of the lake or in any creek. It’s just a matter of searching for them.

“The last few days I’ve been fishing for them in the Haw River arm of the lake, but that’s in the 15-foot deep channel. There are places on both ends of the lake with spawning flats. You just have to go find them.”