Seems the whole world is learning how good crappie fishing is in Mississippi. Find a listing where some magazine or website has ranked the Top 10, 20 or 50 spots in the country, and the state will be well represented.
A recent one by Fishhound.com had Grenada Lake No. 1, Sardis Lake No. 5 and Barnett Reservoir No. 6.
Mississippi had seven of the top 20 lakes.
Way down there at No. 17 was Lake Washington, an old Delta oxbow lake that locals would just as soon not be noticed.
“I’d just as soon it not get too famous,” said Ed Willoughby of Vicksburg. “It’s crowded now. I’d hate to see it just get blown up like they did at Grenada and Sardis.”
But, the truth is, Washington probably produces more 3-pound trophy crappie per acre than any other water in Mississippi, which means more than anywhere else in the world.
According to one of its biggest fans, Brad Taylor of Greenville, former president of the Magnolia Crappie Club, March is best time to target the big 3s.
“The peak fishing, when the highest percentage of 3-pound crappie are caught, is in March during the pre-spawn,” Taylor said. “We catch them trolling the west bank, 8-10 feet of water.
“When they move up to spawn, either later in March or in April, a lot of people go up in the cypresses to fish, but I think most of them spawn out here in open water about 5 to 6 feet deep. That's where I catch my biggest ones, and I can do it slow trolling.
Taylor is a fan of the spider-rig trolling systems, where he can have six poles up front with staggered jigs and-or minnows.
“Just cover more water,” he said.
Tony Wallace of Clinton is a Washington fanatic, too, always spending as much of March as he can on the six-mile long lake.
“I enjoy the pre-spawn there more than anywhere else, but I will say that it gets really, really tough after that,” he said. “I have never really figured out the spawn thing here, and I’ve fished them deep and I’ve fished them in the cypresses. What I think it is is that there’s so much cypress in here that finding them concentrated is just impossible. The post-spawn is even tougher. Who knows where these fish go then?
“So I fish over here during the pre-spawn and then I go to Barnett Reservoir for the spawn. But if I had to choose one of the two, I’d take the pre-spawn on Washington. The whole month of March is so productive trolling out there in 6 to 8 feet of water. It’s the only time of the year we fish the west side of the lake. The rest of the year, we fish the east side, the side where the town of Glen Allen is. That’s the deep side of the lake and even though the fish really never go deep here, not even in the summer, we fish the deep water all year except February, March and April.”