Crappie fishing can get expensive this time of year on Poverty Point Reservoir near Delhi. A trip to the lake often leads to a follow-up trip — to the taxidermist.

The riches of Poverty Point’s spring crappie fishing are well documented, with several 3-pound-plus fish caught in the past two years.

The many 2-pound-plus crappie caught from the 2,700-acre man-made lake are too numerous to even guess at their numbers. Dozens of them end up at the taxidermist.

This time of year, the key to catching trophy crappie — perhaps the crappie of a lifetime — is being able to adjust.

Sometime toward the end of February and through March, the fish are on the move. For the most part, they follow the baitfish.

But warming water temperatures also key the annual spring spawning migration to shallower water.

“At the end of February and the first couple of weeks of March, I will start leaving the deepwater areas on the south end of the lake and start fishing more around the coves on the north end of the lake,” said successful Poverty crappie angler Jimmy Watt of Bastrop. “The water temperature is usually getting in the low 50s by then, and the crappie will start staging up in the coves.”

To catch them there, Jimmy starts drift-fishing or slow-trolling jigs and shiners. He usually begins with popular Bobby Garland colors like blue thunder, baby shad, monkey milk or bluegrass with 1/16- or 1/8-ounce jigheads.

But color and style of jigheads doesn’t seem to matter that much, he said. 

“Most of the time, when the fish move up into the 8 to 12 feet of water, they’ll be right down there close to the bottom,” Watt said. “Once the water warms up more, you will start seeing the males move up on the banks.

“The females will usually stage out a bit farther until they are ready to spawn, but they won’t be far behind the males.”

Poverty gets a huge amount of fishing pressure this time of year, and the banks get pounded pretty heavily.

One way Watt adjusts to that is to look for spawning spots 5 to 10 feet out from the bank that might not get hit as hard.

“Fishing is for fun, but when there are a lot of people right on top of each other, it takes a lot of patience and you have to be courteous,” he said.

The angler offered one final tip for that.

“The more fishing pressure there is, the slower I’ll fish,” Watt said. “That can help make a difference in getting bites.”

Poverty Point is rich in facilities. A beautiful state park with a 48-slip marina, multi-lane boat launch, fish-cleaning station and other amenities are located on the lake just three miles north of the I-20 Delhi exit.