Spring crappie techniques are generally pretty standard — single-poling, jigging trees, spider-rigging and the like. But sometimes you can meld crappie methods with a bit of a bass approach and pick up a mess of crappie faster than you imagined.
This is a good time to do just that on Lake Bistineau south of Minden. Even though anglers on the 15,000-acre lake seem to be constantly battling giant salvinia, the patches of floating grass can actually hold a lot of fish — especially crappie in the spring.
“If you are willing to take some time to find them, there are pockets in the salvinia patches that are almost like coves,” Monroe fisherman John Jones said.
“It takes some effort, but you can slowly work your way up into the weeds, find open pockets and kind of flip or pitch your bait into the openings. You’ll be surprised how many of them hold crappie.”
All of these “coves” don’t hold fish, but once you find the ones that do, you can replicate the same approach around the lake. Flipping a bait for crappie isn’t a normal technique, but it does work, Jones said.
“We fish with a 10-foot crappie pole and keep out about a pole’s length of line. We use a small spinning reel with the drag set fairly tight,” Jones says. “You have to be quiet and ease up to the openings. The best technique seems to be flipping a small jig with a small cork into the openings.”
Jones said jigs seem to work better than shiners, and you can control the bait in the small openings better as well. You don’t fish deep using this method, only a foot and a half or 2 feet deep. You normally only catch one or two in a spot, unlike deeper top fishing, but you can catch plenty of fish this way.
Bistineau is narrow, winding reservoir that covers part of Webster, Bossier and Bienville Parishes. If offers a lot more than just catching crappie.
“Honestly, as a photographer, I just love going there because of the cypress trees, the moss and the scenery. It’s amazing,” he said.
Smaller line and jigs work best in this type fishing. Hair jigs or plastics in black and chartreuse work well. Once you locate a few spots holding fish, the best way to add to your catch is just go back and forth working the spots you’ve had success in. Sometimes the wind will shift the pockets of salvinia and you have to modify exactly where you fish, but the crappie will still be in the same general areas.
“It’s a lot like bass fishing because you are constantly on the move and flipping a bait up into cover instead of just holding a pole or casting and reeling a small spinner,” he said. “It’s a good change of pace, and productive as well.”