Well, it appears that with the unseasonable warm weather and overall mild spring, the crappie spawn at Hillsdale reservoir has come and gone a bit earlier than usual this year. Water temperatures are now in the low 70’s lake wide and over the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a drastic decline in the number of fish being caught up in the shallows, so Adam and I decided to try some post-spawn techniques and locations last Wednesday evening when we had a chance to get out. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and that decision paid off nicely. We found the crappie relating to cover in 10-12 feet of water and they were hungry. Minnows were the preferred bait (vs. jigs) as the fish were trying to build up energy reserves after the spawn I presume. Even though we only fished from 5:30 to 7:30 (ran out of minnows) we caught an amazing 35 crappie over the 10” length limit. Even more surprising was the number of fish measuring 12” and over. We must have found a pocket where the “big ones” were congregating. The big female crappie did indeed to be spawned out and empty of all their eggs.
When the crappie bite is a good at that, what other choice do you have than to try and repeat the experience? So back we went on Thursday evening for another couple of hours of great fishing. The crappie were right were we left them and with a better supply of minnows this time, we were able to stay on them until dark ending up with a total of 38 keeper crappie between us. Once again, the overall size of the fish was quite impressive; many over 12” and several over 13”. We both agreed that these were some of the best crappie fishing outings we’ve had at Hillsdale in quite a long time.