It’s finally spring! The older I get, the longer winter seems to be and after New Years I simply can’t wait for spring and getting back on the water! Over the weekend, I had the privilege to share the boat with Amos Livingston on Stockton Lake. He and his brother John are Team Livingston, professional crappie fisherman that travel the country catching big slab crappie.

Once the water warms into the 50s crappie schools break up and fish start thinking about spawning and start to move shallower. The key is finding those staging areas where the crappie feed up before they hit the banks. Most of the fish we caught were in less than 10 feet of water. The key was finding active fish and pieces of isolated cover that the fish were holding on.

Of course, todays improved electronics make finding the cover and active fish easier. Live Scope has taught us a lot about fish behavior. We used to think crappie were pretty much a schooling fish that hung around cover waiting to ambush prey. We know now that they will actively chase bait on large flats. The flats closer to deeper water off the old river or creek channel are usually best.

When you can find a nice piece of isolated cover in the right spot, there are usually active fish hanging around. The trick here is sneaking up close enough to drop the jig down without spooking the fish. Try to pick off one or two from the edge of the cover before dropping down in the middle and risk getting hung up and spooking the group hanging around.

Below, Amos shares a great tip on how to rig extra weight to get your bait down quickly and help hold your presentation in front of the fish.

If you love fishing, catch my Ozarks Outdoors podcast! We’ll be talking a lot about about fishing of all kinds over the next few weeks including a crappie spawn episode with Team Livingston.