Collapse bottom bar
Subscribe
Crappie Panfish

Fishhound’s 50 Best Crappie Lakes

by Matt Straw   |  February 15th, 2012 0

My friend, Todd Huckabee, holds a couple nice ones we plucked from the brushpiles of Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma, one fine spring morning a few years back. Spring comes earlier on Eufaula than up here in Minnesota, where we’ve battled our way through one heavy snowfall after the other the past few weeks.

Something popped up on my server the other day that turned my thoughts in Todd’s direction. In fact, it conjured memories of 3-pound crappies I’ve encountered all across the South, from Florida to Arizona. It was an e-mail from Marc Malkin, directing me to Fishhound.com’s new list of America’s 50-best crappie lakes. Having created many Top 10 Crappie Lake lists for In-Fisherman magazine over the years, curiosity was instantly piqued. Who compiled it? Who was consulted? And were all my favorite Southern lakes still considered worthy of the honor?

Todd will be happy to see Eufaula made the list, as did Lake Fork and Toledo Bend in Texas, the Harris Chain in Florida, Lake Truman in Missouri, and many other lakes I’ve fished, including Pickwick, Erie, and Kentucky. Most of the lakes from the South that I’ve mentioned in the past made the list.

The press release from Marc describes the selection process: Fishhound compiled its “50 Best Crappie Lakes” list (http://www.fishhound.com/best-crappie-fishing-lakes) after consulting with a host of industry experts, including veteran outdoor writers, professional crappie anglers, companies like Blakemore and Southern Pro, and organizations such as Crappie USA, Crappie Masters and Crappie Nation.

“We devoted considerable time and resources to develop this list based on feedback from some of the most experienced and knowledgeable crappie throughout the U.S.,” noted Rick Patri, Fishhound’s vice president, operations. “These are bodies of water that earned well deserved reputations for producing big numbers of fish as well as some real monsters.”

Google “Arc Of Slabs.” The sociological fallout from that pair of articles I authored for In-Fisherman included a dramatic increase in fishing pressure that forced changes in the way fisheries managers addressed crappie fishing in Mississippi. Where crappies grow fast.

But, with the exception of a couple waters in Ohio and one from Indiana (which are south of “North” at best), few lakes from the North are mentioned by Fishhound. Which is interesting. Speaking of sociological fallout: Crappie anglers travel. Otherwise, my Arc of Slabs construct would have had little impact. When crappie anglers travel north, they find slow-growing crappies. And slowly-changing, reactionary regulations to protect trophies.

My Top 10 lists included places like Red Lake in Minnesota. To be honest, Red belongs on nobody’s top-anything list for crappies right now. It’s currently experiencing a down cycle, which always corresponds with an up-cycle for walleyes. For the moment , walleyes rule on Red.

But what about Lake of The Woods and Rainy Lake in Ontario? Lake St. Clair? Chippewa Flowage? The Mississippi backwaters? Those are great crappie fisheries by anybody’s standards. The reason nobody mentions those places is because big crappie tournaments are rarely held north of the Mason Dixon line. Is that because great crappie waters don’t exist up North? Or because fishery managers up north fail to understand the sociological impacts engendered by great crappie fishing?

That’s grist for a later post. For now, peruse the following to see how many of these waters you’ve visited, and how many you need to include on your next bucket list:

Fishhound’s 50 Best Crappie Lakes List

1. Grenada Lake, MS

2. Sardis Lake, MS

3. Kentucky Lake, TN

4. Reelfoot Lake, TN

5. Arkabutla Lake, MS

6. Green River Lake, KY

7. Lake Washington, MS

8. Barkley Lake, KY

9. Lake Dardanelle, AR

10. Logan Martin, AL

11. Weiss Lake, AL

12. Nimrod Lake, AR

13. Clarks Hill, GA

14. Chickamauga Lake, TN

15. Patoka Lake, IN

16. Santee Cooper Lakes, SC

17. Eufaula Lake, OK

18. Pickwick Lake, TN

19. Oologah Lake, OK

20. Enid Lake, MS

21. Harris Chain of Lakes, FL

22. Truman Lake, MO

23. Toledo Bend, TX

24. Alabama River, AL

25 Lake Erie, OH

26. Texoma Lake, TX

27. Buckeye Lake,  OH

28. Kaw Lake, OK

29. Ross Barnett, MS

30. Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, MS (Columbus, Aliceville, Aberdeen)

31. Douglas Lake, TN

32. Monroe Lake, FL

33. Lake of the Ozarks, MO

34. Lake Fork, TX

35. Neely Henry Lake, AL

36. Kinkaid Lake, IL

37. Rend Lake, IL

38. Shelbyville Lake, IL

39. Conway Lake, AR

40. Lake Greeson, AR

41. Greenwood Lake, AR

42. West Point, GA

43. Oconee Lake, GA

44. Lake Cumberland, KY

45. Indian Lake, OH

46. Lake Talquin, FL

 

back to top