Catching springtime slabs on Clarks Hill Lake

Chris Simpson loves to catch Clarks Hill Lake’s crappie during March. (Picture by Pat Robertson)

March is crappie time on Clarks Hill Lake

Chris Simpson is a well-known catfish/striper guide on Clarks Hill Lake. But he relishes the memories of going to the lake to fish for crappie with his grandfather when he was growing up. So now, in the springtime, if a party wants to fish for crappie he is perfectly willing to help them fill a cooler with slabs.

“Most of the crappie fishing I do this time of year is from the mouths of creeks to the backs, pulling multiple long lines,” Simpson said. “I don’t fish structure, just specific depths. For instance, if I am marking fish at 10 feet, I want my jigs running at 10 feet or shallower because the fish usually feed up instead of swimming down to get a bait.”

Simpson pulls from a dozen to 16 long lines with 1/16-ounce and 1/8-ounce jigs in multiple colors, holding the boat speed between .8 mph and 1.2 mph. Sometimes he double rigs the jigs, spacing them a foot or more apart on the line.

“As the water warms up the crappie will move shallower in the water and more to the backs of the creeks,” he said. “The lighter jigs work better then as they run a little higher in the water column.”

Use live minnows on jigs when necessary

Simpson said he only tips the jigs with small minnows if the crappie are not feeding aggressively. If they are in a hungry mode, he said, the jigs work just fine without anything added.

A typical day will produce 40 to 80 fish from ¾ pound to 1½ pounds, Simpson said, and probably with a couple of 2-pound slabs in the bunch.

“The biggest we have caught was 2 pounds, 13 ounces. But a lot of 3-pound crappie are caught in Clarks Hill every year,” he said.

Simpson fishes for crappie from February when winter is still holding on with chilly days to April when the sun is shining and warm for the most part. Once crappie season is over for him he switches to guiding for stripers and then later moves on to catfish.

Simpson guides for crappie, striped bass and catfish on Clarks Hill Lake. To book a fishing trip, call him at (864) 992-2352. You can check out his website at:

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply