Just after 10 a.m. on Friday (March 28), between rain bands that hit with a lot of roaring thunder and flashes of lightning overnight and those expected later in the day, the sun broke out and the winds slowed down.

A two- to three-hour window, just what I needed to see if the reports were true from Barnett Reservoir. It is just such an opportunity that makes living on the lake so advantageous.

“I had some bass fishermen tell me they caught some big, dark, almost black male crappie shallow,” said Myron Watson, co-owner of Performance Outboards on the upper end of the main lake. “Wasn’t many but if they have started moving shallow, we can probably pick up a few.”

That report came Tuesday of this week but strong winds since and then the heavy rain had prevented any trips to verify the news.

But, on the run Friday, I launched and made a short trip to some shallow spawning areas near the Highway 43 area on the Rankin County side of the lake. I picked an area with scattered pad stems in 2½ to 3 feet of water and went to work with my jig pole.

It took 10 minutes before my redheaded, 1/16th-ounce jig with a chartreuse/lime tube got whacked. It was about a one-pound dark crappie, obviously a male white crappie already shallow working his bed.

Five minutes after that, I got another bite, this time from a bigger male and I got a photo just as the wind started rising and clouds moved back in.

With the new moon coming on Sunday (March 30), I would expect to see some spawning action with a few females in some areas, perhaps Pelahatchie Bay is a great place to start. With the water temps still struggling to make it to the mid 60s, the bet here is that we’re still looking at a mid April peak to the spawning activity at Barnett and the other major Mississippi crappie lakes like Grenada, Enid, Sardis, Okatibbee and Washington.

And with the full moon set for April 15, get your taxes done early and be ready to hit the water between April 10 and April 20.