What Are The Tell Tale Signs That The Crappie Spawn Is About To End?
It’s been great! Seems like the crappie just want to jump in your boat. The Color of jig doesn’t matter, technique doesn’t matter, oh why does it have to end?!
There really isn’t anything like fishing during the crappie spawn. The longer warm days are in full swing now and the brutal cold winter is nothing more than a memory.
If you’re a minnow fisherman you’re probably catching just as many fish on dead minnows as you were on the live ones! You fillet up huge females gushing with eggs and are the envy of your local fish fry! But guess what? Soon it will be over, and catching crappie will become challenging again.
It won’t be long you’ll be out looking for the nearest brush piles on drop offs seeking out those one-pound crappie that weeks earlier were a pound and a half.
What Are The Signals That The Crappie Spawn Is Over?
We have established in a previous article that the crappie begins spawning when the average air temperature reaches a certain point.
By using that same formula, we have a pretty good idea of when that treasured time is about to wrap up.
Ahead we will breakdown the easy signs that indicate that crappie are done spawning.
It’s Been Four Weeks Since The Spawn Began
This only applies to a specific area of the lake as a lot dictates which areas of the lake spawn first.
Naturally shallow creek arms heat up first. Often the water emptying into the lake is dirtier than the water clarity towards the dam. This is important because most lakes can be divided into two spawns. In clearer water, the crappie that spawn close to the dam will usually begin two weeks after the initial spawn in the creeks.
If the spawn started in the creeks on April 14th then
- The first week will see some waves of females coming in.
- The next two weeks will be the prime time when the majority of females will be ready to lay their eggs.
- The final week will see the last remaining females caught from the area.
When you’re in the last week of the creek arm spawn, the lower end of the lake should be on its main wave. This is why spawns last up to 7 or 8 weeks.
The Male To Female Crappie Ratio Will Be Off When The Spawn Ends
Males are in charge of going shallow first, attracting the female, and then guarding the fry once the job is done. At no time will you catch more females than males but you’ll see much fewer females full of eggs coming into the boat.
It sounds simple once you look at it that way.
During full spawn one out of every three or four fish should be females full of eggs. As that ratio goes more towards one out of every eight or more than you know you’re close to the end.
Also, the males develop an extremely dark tint to them, so much so that they’re nearly unrecognizable when lifted out of the water.
The Average Air Temperature Has Reached Seventy Degrees For A Sustained Period
This is really the final straw. When you start seeing the highs in the eighties and lows in the sixties for a week to ten days, the water temperature has reached its upper end and the males will abandon the fry to let them fend for themselves. This typically happens in early June on average but northern regions it could be well into June.
All great things must come to an end and the crappie spawn won’t last forever. If you start noticing a lot of aggressive dark black males biting and very few fish with eggs in them, then you should probably start working your way out to deeper water.
The males still have a job to do so in order to maintain healthy crappie populations, only take what you need.