Fishing Reports on Top 50 Crappie Fishing Lakes & Rivers
1.Grenada Lake, Mississippi
Grenada Lake is a reservoir on the Yalobusha River in the state of Mississippi. It's one of four flood-control lakes in northern Mississippi constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and was built to help control flooding along the Yazoo River Basin. The dam is located on the Yalobusha River approximately 3 miles northeast of Grenada, Mississippi.
Grenada is the ultimate destination for crappie anglers in search of trophy-class fish. The lake is specifically managed for large crappie and it shows, with giant-size white crappies plus stout blacks. There are aggressive minimum-length and creel limits, and because of such restrictions, 2-plus-pound crappies are rather commonplace and 3-plus-pounders aren't uncommon. There's no doubt it's North America's king of crappie lakes.
2.Sardis Lake, Mississippi
This Tallahatchie River impoundment occupies parts of three northern Mississippi counties. Sardis Dam was the first of the Yazoo Headwaters Projects to be built. Authorization for the project came when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Flood Control Act of 1936. Construction took 4 years and required thousands of men to clear 14 miles along the Little Tallahatchie River, which was characterized by dense woods and undergrowth, plus meandering sloughs.
Giant white crappies swim in Sardis, although the lake's somewhat unique for the state of Mississippi, in that crappies school up and suspend predictably in late fall. The catches can be epic and anglers travel hundreds of miles to fish the bite, but due to this intense and growing pressure, state officials stepped in to protect the crappie population after successive disappointing spawns. Boats now have a total limit. If three or more anglers are fishing from the same boat, the daily limit for the boat is 50 crappies.
3.Kentucky Lake, Tennessee
Kentucky Lake, an impoundment of the Tennessee River, was created in 1944 by the Tennessee Valley Authority. It's the largest manmade lake east of the Mississippi, and when coupled with nearby Barkley Lake (see below), represents a massive and sprawling world-class fishery. And although the lake has earned a well-deserved reputation for bass, crappie remains the lake's headliner and defining species. The lake also enjoys a special distinction: It was the birthplace of crappie trolling.
Big crappies swim here: Fish that touch the 2-pound mark are common and it's routine to see limits of 1 1/2-pounders. Historically, white crappies were the dominant species, but lately the blacks have grown more dominant. Anglers mob the lake in spring – that's when the crappies are shallowest, hungriest and most vulnerable – but savvy slab hunters know how to get on the big schools year-round. Plus, there's another shallow migration in fall, when crappies follow bait back into the bays and coves. The crowds are gone and the fishing can be outstanding.
4.Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee
Reelfoot Lake is a shallow, natural lake located in the northwest portion of Tennessee. It's really more a swamp than a lake, with bayou-like ditches (some natural, some manmade) that connect more open bodies of water called basins – the largest of which is called Blue Basin. Reelfoot's noted for its bald cypress trees and its nesting pairs of bald eagles. It's the site of Reelfoot Lake State Park. Lake Isom, a similar but smaller lake to the immediate south, is a National Wildlife Refuge area. Until 2003, Reelfoot offered the world's only legal commercial fishery for crappie.
February, March, April and May are the peak months to visit Reelfoot, but the fishing is also outstanding during the fall, with just a fraction of the fishing pressure. Late-September through December is absolutely a great time to target slabs away from the hordes of boats.
5.Arkabutla Lake, Mississippi
Arkabutla Lake is a reservoir on the Coldwater River in the state of Mississippi. It's one of four Flood Damage Reduction reservoirs in northern Mississippi. Located less than 30 minutes south of the Tennessee state line, Arkabutla Lake is the only U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project (aside from Mississippi River maintenance) in the Memphis metropolitan area. With an annual visitation exceeding 2 million people, Arkabutla accommodates a wide variety of recreational interest throughout the entire year.
Don't be surprised if you hook b-g numbers of gar while crappie fishing at Arkabutla – the two species seem especially adjacent in this fishery. In fact, savvy slab hunters often search for gar as a clue to crappie location.
6.Green River Lake, Kentucky
The Green River is a 384-mile-long tributary of the Ohio River that rises in Lincoln County in south-central Kentucky, and Green River Lake is an impounded section of that river. It lies in Adair, Taylor and Casey counties in the section of Kentucky known as the Highland Rim.
The lake was a hidden secret until a few years ago when it began to host tournaments. Now there's a huge buzz surrounding it, which centers on the phenomenal numbers of white crappies in the lake. Outings routinely see hundreds of crappies swung over the gunnels up to 1.25 pounds and a little heavier. Two-pound fish are uncommon. The catching is set against a beautiful backdrop – undeveloped, Corps-owned shoreline surrounds nearly the entire lake.
7.Lake Washington, Mississippi
Lake Washington represents the top-ranked true oxbow lake on the list. This disconnected oxbow lies alongside the Mississippi River and includes sufficient lodging and amenities for the visiting angler. It's one of the largest natural lakes in Mississippi. At approximately 700 years old, it may also be one of the country's oldest lakes. Boat ramps are located at Okey's and Cypress Gardens on the south side of the lake. The lake is also accessible through Roy's Store and the Southern Star RV Park.
8.Barkley Lake, Kentucky
Lake Barkley, a 58,000-acre reservoir in Livingston, Lyon, and Trigg counties in Kentucky and extending into Stewart and Houston counties in Tennessee, was impounded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1966 upon the completion of Barkley Dam. One mile above the dam is a canal connecting Lake Barkley with Kentucky Lake, forming one of the greatest freshwater recreational complexes in the country. The lakes run parallel courses for more than 50 miles, with the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area located between them.
Like in Kentucky Lake, the black crappie-population has soared in Barley to the point that black crappie may likely outnumber whites. Anglers have adjusted techniques – they're fishing shallower, rockier areas during the spring spawn, and fishing higher in the water column when fish suspend.
9.Lake Dardanelle, Arkansas
Lake Dardanelle is one of the most accessible and attractive recreation areas in Arkansas. Located about halfway between Little Rock and Fort Smith, the lake stretches some 50 miles as part of the $1.2 billion Arkansas River Navigation System and covers nearly 40,000 acres of land. It's an important link in the 450-mile project that extends river commerce from the Mississippi River to near Tulsa, Oklahoma. Lake Dardanelle State Park offers two areas on the lake: One park site is at Russellville, and the other is located at nearby Dardanelle. The Russellville site features a striking 10,527-square-foot visitor center on the lakeshore overlooking the lake.
Dardanelle isn't necessarily known for massive specimens, but it makes the Top 10 based on numbers of quality fish. It's the type of lake that surrenders hundreds of good fish a day for savvy anglers – all set against a gorgeous Arkansas backdrop.
10.Logan Martin, Alabama
Logan Martin is located in east central Alabama on the Coosa River approximately 30 miles east of Birmingham, Alabama. This 17,000-acre Coosa River reservoir was built in 1965 by Alabama Power Company. The lake, nicknamed "Lake of a Thousand Coves" by locals, has 275 miles of shoreline along its 48.5-mile length sandwiched between Logan Martin Dam on the south and Neely Henry Dam on the north. The depth of the lake is 35 to 110 feet with only 5 feet of average water-level variance.
It's known primarily as a trolling lake and it harbors an outstanding population of black and white crappies. It's also one of the only lakes in the region that sets up perfectly for dock-shooting, so slab hunters who like to mix up techniques can do it all here. The peak dock bite occurs in wintertime.