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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
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    Frankfort
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    Watts Bar Crappie

    We are planning a trip to watts bar in early April. Going after some big Crappie. My uncle has been several times in the past but not for the last 5 yrs. He usually does pretty good but had heard rumors about them stocking hybrids or some kind of fish that has supposedly does harm to the crappie population. Can anyone tell me if this is the case. I kind of dought it but I told him I would try to research it. Any info would be greatly appreciated thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
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    Lexington, Kentucky, USA.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tracy View Post
    We are planning a trip to watts bar in early April. Going after some big Crappie. My uncle has been several times in the past but not for the last 5 yrs. He usually does pretty good but had heard rumors about them stocking hybrids or some kind of fish that has supposedly does harm to the crappie population. Can anyone tell me if this is the case. I kind of dought it but I told him I would try to research it. Any info would be greatly appreciated thanks.
    There has been no such stocking of a "hybrid" fish that would do harm to the Crappie population. All predator fish species will eat the smaller members of other species, as well as their own. Watts Bar's Crappie population consists of White Crappie, Black Crappie, and stocked Blacknose Black Crappie. The Blacknose is not a hybrid, and has been in Watts Bar for decades.

    I've fished Watts Bar for decades, first for Smallmouth, then mostly for Crappie (over the last 20yrs). Back when I first started fishing there, the locals were all up in arms over the Stripers ... stating that they were eating all the Crappie and that's why they weren't catching them "like they used to". Turned out to be a false claim and just an excuse for their failure.

    Watts Bar has gone through some changes and cycles, just like any other large lake. IMHO .... the one "change" that has affected the lake the most, was when they changed the timing of the water level rise/fall. That and the cyclic nature of Crappie populations in general has changed the normal dynamics of when & where the fish will be ... vs where/when they "used to be" there. In recent years, I've caught spawning Crappie 10ft deep (Spring) and most recently (this past Oct) found them 30ft deep at the end of blowdown trees. Now, I'm fishing the main portion of the lake, not up in the river. Reports from the river end have remained consistant, with shallow fish being caught Spring & Fall. "Normally" (prior to 2005) I would be catching Spring Crappie in less than 8ft of water, around brush or docks ... and Fall Crappie in around 15-20ft of water around brush or docks.

    ... pappy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Grandville, MI
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    Quote Originally Posted by crappiepappy View Post
    There has been no such stocking of a "hybrid" fish that would do harm to the Crappie population. All predator fish species will eat the smaller members of other species, as well as their own. Watts Bar's Crappie population consists of White Crappie, Black Crappie, and stocked Blacknose Black Crappie. The Blacknose is not a hybrid, and has been in Watts Bar for decades.

    I've fished Watts Bar for decades, first for Smallmouth, then mostly for Crappie (over the last 20yrs). Back when I first started fishing there, the locals were all up in arms over the Stripers ... stating that they were eating all the Crappie and that's why they weren't catching them "like they used to". Turned out to be a false claim and just an excuse for their failure.

    Watts Bar has gone through some changes and cycles, just like any other large lake. IMHO .... the one "change" that has affected the lake the most, was when they changed the timing of the water level rise/fall. That and the cyclic nature of Crappie populations in general has changed the normal dynamics of when & where the fish will be ... vs where/when they "used to be" there. In recent years, I've caught spawning Crappie 10ft deep (Spring) and most recently (this past Oct) found them 30ft deep at the end of blowdown trees. Now, I'm fishing the main portion of the lake, not up in the river. Reports from the river end have remained consistant, with shallow fish being caught Spring & Fall. "Normally" (prior to 2005) I would be catching Spring Crappie in less than 8ft of water, around brush or docks ... and Fall Crappie in around 15-20ft of water around brush or docks.

    ... pappy
    We have striper/hybrids/white bass stocked in our GA lakes. Pappy is right, they don't affect the crappie population. I have caught numerous stocked fish over the last 30 years and have never had one spit up a crappie of any size. They have spit up dozens of thread fin shad though.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Oak Ridge
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    Wrong answer re. crappie

    My family bought a lake cabin on Watts Bar in 1970. I am 51. I started fishing for crappie in the mid 1970s. As did many of my friends and relatives that would come to our lake cabin. The crappie fishing in the 70s was incredible. People came from Kentucky, Ohio and other states to catch crappie in late March and April. Anyone that wished could catch as many crappie as they wanted. There were 5 bait shops within 2 miles of our cabin. Well that all changed when TWRA started stocking rock fish in the early to mid 1980s. The crappie fishing got decimated. People say oh no the rockfish just eat shad. That's so wrong. If the rockfish just eat shad than why do rockfish out fits have their clients use bluegill and small crappie in order to try to catch 30 plus pound rock fish. Maybe TWRA's intentions were good but we all know how that one goes. And BTW I have used bluegill to catch rockfish. So I know personally that they don't JUST eat shad. Crappie fishing never been the same since 70s. So sad.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Oak Ridge
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    Spittin up the right answer.

    With all due respect and I do say with all due respect rockfish don't spit up anything. Its whats in their gut that matters. In 1994/95 fishing groups sued TWRA and got a moratorium on stocking of the non native rockfish. TWRA was also ordered to open up the guts of the Rockfish at the university of Miss. They found a lot more than shad. No offense but how can ppl b so na´ve? Bigger fish, esp aggressive ones like rockfish, eat smaller fish. Full stop. They don't care what type it is.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Oak Ridge
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    Excuse for failure

    I know too much about how to catch fish and have conversed with too many others to buy the "excuse for their failure claim". Basically what you are saying is this. As a 9-13 yr old kid I succeeded wildly when I would go to my 2 or 3 crappie spots EVERY year and catch baskets full. Though, myself and the people with me would let the small ones go and would only keep what we were going to eat. We would have a handful of fish fries every year.
    Back to point. Back then I didn't know anything about jig presentation, weather conditions, the effects of depth and so much more. I do now. I am more skilled now. I just don't find the numbers or any where close. Its the same with night fishing under a lantern. The numbers decreased dramatically to the pt where n the 90s crappie practically didn't exist. Therefore I doubt I am "failing now" while I was succeeding wildly, and watching others do same, n the 70s and early 80s/

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