Though it seems that the late arriving winter is reluctant to release its grip this year, Bay Springs crappie guide Wayne Inman (662-416-1296) indicates that the prime season for catching slab crappie from the upper Tenn-Tom Waterway lake is right around the corner.

"Water temperatures in the back of most of the northerly coves have reached 57 degrees," said Inman. "The main lake is still 47, which is helping to push the fish shallow. Right now males are being caught in 3-4 feet of water using small crappie jigs."

The spring spawn for crappie, the time that most anglers refer to as "Crappie Season," typically kicks off under a variety of weather and environmental factors. The combination of lengthening daylight, rising water temperatures and moon phase work in concert to initiate the ritual.

Inman claims the Crappie USA tournament that will be held at Bay Springs in late March will show many local anglers just what is in store for the upcoming season. Bay Springs is considered by many crappie anglers to be a challenge, owing in part to its crystal clear waters and diversity of depths.

"Bay Springs can fish like two different lakes," said Inman. "The north end of the lake is going to warm up a lot quicker than the south end where depths get into 70-90 feet deep water. The north end features a lot of shallow flats and stump beds and shallow road beds that can get muddy and also get warmer a lot quicker."

Last year as part of Mississippi Sportsman's Crappie Hotspot Series, the late Charlie Kent provided readers with GPS locations and descriptions of where and how to find spawning crappie.

As a refresher, the GPS coordinates for the 10 locations that were profiled are listed below:

1. Riddle Creek        N 34 36.414 / W 88 19.522
2. Back of Riddle Creek     N 34 36.581 / W 88 19.476
3. Old Road Bed    N 34 36.185 / W 88 18.669
4. Ashcraft Stumpfield   N 34 36.332 / W 88 18.697
5. Ashcraft Creek – Secondary Points      N 34 35.837 / W 88 18.558
6.  Jackson Camp Area - North      N 34 36.259 / W 88 18.073
7. Jackson Camp Area - South     N 34 36.075 / W 88 18.159
8. Jackson Camp Church      N 34 36.673 / W 88 17.996
9.  McDougal Creek     N 34 35.435 / W 88 17.015
10. McDougal Ramp      N 34 34.962 / W 88 17.536

"Those locations that Charlie provided produce every year on this lake, so those hot spots should be smoking very soon," said Inman.