All over Central and North Mississippi, there is one question on the minds of crappie fishermen - "Has the spawn come and gone, or will there be another run?"

The answer probably varies from lake to lake, but most crappie experts are saying - and the reports coming from on the water offer supporting evidence - that the best action is still ahead.

"I know it's late, awfully late in April, but I still think that even on Barnett Reservoir we are going to see another run," said local expert Rabbit Rogers of Fannin. "Two things make me think that and those are the full moon this week and the late spring we've had. You combine those two and I do think we will see another round, and maybe the peak round this week."

With Barnett being at the south end of Mississippi's top crappie lakes, if it is going to happen again on the 33,000-acre lake near Jackson then the peak of the spawn is definitely ahead on the major lakes in North Mississippi, as well as the big pools of the Tenn-Tom Waterway.

That said, there have been excellent reports of spawning activity over the past two weeks.

"Yeah, but that was all before we had that heavy rain and cold weather that came through two weeks ago," said William Thompson of Oxford, a retiree who fishes at Sardis, Enid and Grenada. "We were catching fish in two to three feet of water back then when we had some water temperatures in the mid to upper 60s and even a couple of 70-degree days. But then the water shot up at all three of the lakes and it messed everything up, including I think the crappie's instinct to go shallow and spawn.

"You'd have thought that as the water went up - and I mean five to 10 feet depending on the lake - that the fish just would have moved further up the ditches and creeks with the water. Biologists tell you that. At least that's what they told me when I saw some on Enid trying to collect samples with a shocking boat. But, they didn't find them. They were not shallow."

Thompson said he found some good fish that same day in 8-10 feet of water in the creeks at Enid, and he has continued to find them deep in Sardis and Grenada, too.

"The fish I caught Monday and Tuesday (April 22 and 23) were 8 feet deep and the females were full of eggs," he said. "They have not spawned. But with the full moon coming this week (Thursday and Friday), I think we're going to see it happen. The water is falling and I think that they will find their usual places and get in there."

Scanning the weekly reports posted at mdwfp.com, all dated April 23, Thompson's assessment appears solid.

Fishermen have reported finding pre-spawn females still full of eggs at all four of the North Mississippi Flood Control projects - Grenada, Enid, Sardis and Arkabutla lakes.

"Another key," Thompson said, "is that we are still catching males deep. They are black, like they get when they spawn, but they are not shallow so I think that's all the proof we need that we're going to see a heck of a spawning run on this full moon cycle and it should last through the weekend."

He won't get any argument from Reed Bailey, who is expecting a great weekend on Barnett, too, especially if the weather warms quickly after Wednesday's passing of a light cold front.

"We still haven't seen the water go back into the 70s in about two weeks but I think that will change this week," Bailey said. "If we can get some sunny days (forecast for Thursday and Friday) and some warm nights (upper 50s and even 60 this weekend), then I think we will see a pretty good spawning run this weekend.

"We had a great run early last week but then we had that big front come through and it slowed down. I think a lot of the fish that spawn on riprap and in the vegetation on the Rankin County side of the main lake may have peaked out, but I think the ones that spawn on deeper cover like stumps haven't even started. I caught females this week in 12 feet of water still full of eggs, so yeah, there's still some good spawning action ahead."

Eagle Lake near Vicksburg is one lake where the spawn appears to have peaked and is slowing quickly. Recent reports from that oxbow indicate that the females are spent.

"We're still catching some males shallow, but the females are gone and when you move out and find them, they are thinning up again after dropping their eggs," said Tom Beasley of Vicksburg. "We had a heck of a run though for about a month. The good news is that the bluegills appear to be ganging up in the shallows. I bet we see a bedding period this full moon, and on Eagle, that's tough to beat."