Want to fish for big crappie? Grenada Lake is giving up summer slabs

·4 min read

The spawn is over, summer is here and the temperatures are hot, but you can still catch giant crappie at Grenada Lake.

"It's been really, really good," said John Harrison of JH Guide Service. "The fishing has been great here.

"From 11¾ inches to 12¼ inches, it's absolutely full of them. You can catch them LiveScoping, trolling crankbaits or just about about anyway you want to fish."

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Harrison said anglers have been catching a break this year. In the past several years, the 35,000-acre lake, which was designed for flood control, has been high and made fishing a bit more difficult as crappie could get into flooded timber where anglers couldn't navigate.

This year, Harrison said less rainfall has kept the lake at more normal levels and has produced some giants.

Joe Baker of Tri-Lake Guide Service said anglers at Grenada Lake are all but guaranteed to catch crappie over 2 pounds right now.
Joe Baker of Tri-Lake Guide Service said anglers at Grenada Lake are all but guaranteed to catch crappie over 2 pounds right now.

In a March Crappie Masters All American Trail tournament, the winning 14-fish limit was 44.71 pounds — an average of 3.19 pounds per fish. More astonishingly, four fish were brought to the scale weighing over 4 pounds with one weighing 4.26 pounds.

Although anglers shouldn't expect weights like that this time of year, Harrison said he's still catching fish in the 2.2-pound to 2.6-pound range.

"We've got some big fish in here," Harrison said. "If you catch 15 fish, you'll catch two to four of these big fish."

Grenada is known for big crappie and plenty of them, but this year has been off the charts. So, what's happening?

John Harrison of JH Guide Service holds a big Grenada Lake crappie.
John Harrison of JH Guide Service holds a big Grenada Lake crappie.

High water, lots of forage producing big Grenada Lake crappie

Joe Baker of Tri-Lake Guide Service said there are two factors. One is the protection offered by high water in past years.

"They get up in the bushes and they're safe from predators and fishermen, too," Baker said. "They'll just stay there all year round.

"Ospreys and cormorants, they hammer crappie. That helped them a lot with that high water."

Another factor is a seemingly endless supply of food.

"The shad, there's always been an abundance," Baker said. "It's like you're in a shad pond.

"I've never in my life seen shad like what's in this lake. I've fished lakes all over the country and they don't have shad like this."

The weights Baker is seeing now are similar to what Harrison is experiencing with the largest fish ranging from 2.2 pounds to 2.5 pounds. Baker said catching a fish over 2 pounds is almost a given.

"I hate to guarantee stuff, but you're almost guaranteed  a fish over 2 pounds," Baker said. "I haven't had a trip this year without catching one over 2 pounds."

Although it's summer and big fish are harder to come by than during the pre-spawn and spawn, he said bigger fish can still be caught.

"This weekend I had a guy catch a 2.98, so we still have big fish and a 3-pounder isn't out of the question," Baker said.

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How to catch big Grenada Lake crappie

High resolution live sonar units known as LiveScope have become popular tools for locating crappie. Anglers can actually see real time video of fish and put their bait right in front of them.

For Baker, it's his key to big crappie.

"LiveScope is primarily what we use," Baker said. "That's how you catch your big fish."

Baker also targets crappie using traditional methods such as trolling crankbaits and spider rigging.

Baker said his spider rigs consist of double-rigged jigs and minnows pushed at .3 mph to .8 mph.

He trolls crankbaits at 1.3 mph to 1.8 mph.

Baker said he focuses on fish suspended 12-feet to 18-feet deep on ledges, river channels and bends. Harrison said he's targeting those depths and areas, too.

Harrison said he's pushing Grenada Lake Tackle Company flies with 1.5-ounce to 2 ounce weights at 1 mph on his spider rigs. He said he uses 18-foot B 'n' M poles to get the baits well ahead of his boat.

When trolling crankbaits, Harrison said he keeps the speeds around 1.5 mph and 1.7 mph.

Contact Brian Broom at 601-961-7225 or bbroom@gannett.com. Follow Clarion Ledger Outdoors on Facebook and @BrianBroom on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Fish Grenada Lake this summer for big crappie