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Crappie Fishing at Chickamauga Reservoir during March and April

Posted: March 12th, 2019 by Bill Dance

Chickamauga Reservoir, a 36,240 acre Tennessee River impoundment located in Southeast Tennessee, is a great destination for springtime (March and April) crappie fishing. Both black and white species of crappie can be found in this reservoir. The daily fishing regulations are 15 crappie/day which have to be a minimum of 10 inches long regardless if it is a black or white crappie. The regulation includes both black and white crappie in combination as part of the daily creel.  As days start getting longer and water temperatures begin to rise during the spring, crappie begin their spawning ritual. This annual event kicks off in large part during the month of March when schools of crappie start to show up in embayments located near the main river channels. Schools of crappie at this time are migrating towards preferred spawning grounds and feeding heavily.  An effective method of angling during this time is trolling. Trolling multiple lures replicates the major forage resource for crappie which are schools of gizzard and threadfin shad that Chickamauga Reservoir has an abundance of. Trolling involves anglers simply equipping multiple rods with desired crappie lures (i.e. crappie jigs, grubs) which are trolled behind a boat at the desired depth depending on how the crappie are suspended. Modern electronics make it possible to locate and target these large schools of crappie in these open water areas. As crappie later (typically late March and April) migrate up into more shallow areas they become more accessible to anglers who target preferred spawning habitat. In particular this habitat would include stumps, laydowns, brush piles, and other shallow water protected areas. Crappie spawning will peak when water temperatures are between 60-65 degrees F for white crappie and 62-68 degrees F for black crappie. Many anglers prefer to cast to these target areas with the lure of choice which may include a minnow under a float. Chickamauga Reservoir has many areas that will facilitate combining crappie, forage and habitat. A map of the reservoir will outline major tributaries, creeks, embayments and sloughs which all lend potential to a great crappie fishing experience on one of the best crappie reservoirs in the state of Tennessee. Since crappie are known for having great table fare, an angler can enjoy a great day of fishing here long after he leaves the water. Make Chickamauga Reservoir a destination for crappie this March and April.

Bill Dance

Tennessee

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