High Rock slabfest

Capt. Shane Walser said cooling fall temperatures are a big turn on for High Rock Lake’s crappie. (Photo by Brian Cope)

High Rock Lake’s fall crappie are fattening up

As the days grow shorter and the water temperature eases lower at High Rock Lake, the crappie begin to gorge themselves, fattening up for what they know is even colder weather ahead.

Capt. Shane Walser of Yadkin Lakes Crappie Guides (336-978-3737) said this is when these fish really begin to reach slab status.

“They’re a little skinnier through the summer, once they’ve spawned out and are dealing with the hot temperatures. But they begin feeding like crazy as the summer transitions into fall weather,” he said.

It’s Walser’s favorite time for crappie fishing.

“Once you see the water temperature is dropping, it’s time to start getting out there and covering water for the fall pattern,” he said. Fall is, by far, my most favorite time to fish. Everybody loves the spring. They love to catch the big, fat females. We can certainly catch some monsters in the spring. But in the fall, you can catch a lot of big fish, and a lot of numbers,” he said.

This time of year, Walser said electronics help keep anglers on the fish, which are moving out of the creeks and chasing bait.

Find the bait

“These fish are following the bait and getting back out in the mouths of the creeks on these creek channels. So it’s really important to use your electronics,” he said. “Find these schools of bait, and the crappie are going to be close by.”

Once he finds them, Walser likes to get right above them and deploy multiple jigs with rods placed in rod holders at the front of the boat. It’s a process called spider rigging.

“I like to spider rig right over top of them. You want to roll along between 1/2-mile an hour to 1-mile an hour. I like to use 1/16-ounce jigheads with curly tails. You’ll run these at about .9 to 1-mile an hour, which will put you roughly at 6 to 8 feet deep,” he said.

From there, Walser said anglers can make slight adjustments until the fish start biting. He said these tips work on not just High Rock Lake, but also on lakes like Badin, Tillery, Jordan, and others across the Carolinas.

“These techniques work year-round, but in the fall, they work really well on catching those big crappie that are feeding up.”

About Brian Cope 2783 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@carolinasportsman.com.

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