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Truman Lake Wintertime Crappie Preview 2020

The fishing season is winding down for many folks right now as we head into the colder months. Many anglers are trading out their fishing poles for a rifle or bow and heading to the woods. But on Truman Lake, some of the best crappie fishing all year long will take place over the wintertime. Here’s the latest for the 2020 Truman Lake wintertime crappie preview!

Truman Lake Wintertime CrappieYes, we know 2020 has been a mess and is a year we all want to put behind us. Luckily, there is a bright spot. The 2020 winter season is shaping up to be very good for crappie on Truman Lake. This winter should provide some especially good quality fish for those looking to target them.

“As far as 2019, that high water all year was really good for the growth rates on our crappie,” Chris Brooke, the Truman Lake MDC Fisheries Biologist, said. “They grew a lot faster than normal.”

“The spawn was really good and comparable to some of Truman’s most productive years, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Truman’s best year ever in terms of growth,” he stated.

For example, if a certain age class may have reached 9 inches by end of the 2018 growing season, that same class would have reached 10 inches given the lake conditions of 2019.

“The black crappie definitely seemed to benefit most from the high water,” Brooke said.

And, that makes sense biologically. White crappie have more of a tendency to feed on shad. Black crappie are typically more dependent on prey that comes in and around aquatic vegetation.

“So, all the flooded trees and bushes in 2019 were a big help for black crappie across Truman Lake,” he added.

Throughout 2020, we have seen the results of the floods. Big limits of fish have been coming in every day, along with larger fish at tournament weigh-ins. It regularly took more than 12.5 pounds on 7 fish to take home a victory.

If you plan to target one species of crappie over the other this winter, there’s a couple things to keep in mind. Black crappie prefer cleaner water. As you move down the lake, the sediment settles out and the water clears up. So down lake is where you’ll want to be if you’re chasing black crappie. In addition, the Tebo and Pomme arms tend to have more black crappie than whites.

“Very generally, as you move up the lake, the fish tend to get bigger in size. You’ll probably catch more quantity as you move down the lake,” Brooke said. “But there’s opportunity anywhere on the lake to find your limit.”

Richard Bowling, one of our Truman Lake Fishing Intel experts, has been guiding for crappie on Truman Lake since the 90s. When it comes to the wintertime pattern, he looks for a few things.

“As water temperatures drop, the crappie are really going to school up in bigger balls of fish and move to cleaner water on deeper banks,” Bowling said.

They will be following balls of shad around near bluffs or steeper banks off the structure.

“I’ll definitely be spending a lot of time on the lower lake putting in at Shawnee Bend for many of my trips,” he said.

When it comes to targeting them, there are a couple of things you can do. Minnows are always a popular option, but can be hard to get in the wintertime as some places quit carrying them.

“I actually like a 2-inch tube jig, double rigged,” Bowling said. “I’ll troll along with two poles as slow as I can waiting for that thump.”

Truman Lake Wintertime Crappie

Using electronics is key to locating the fish, but dropping your baits down to 15 feet is a good start on the lower end of the lake if you’re without that tool. Once you find one fish, there will be more close by.

“The one thing you’ll need to be mindful of as we get further along is that the upper ends of the lake will freeze over, whereas the lower end does not,” Bowling added. “So you’ll get to fish longer down there.”

If you are more of a brush pile fisherman than open water fisherman, there are some options for you as well. Be on the lookout for brush piles on a bluff, bluff pocket, or steeper bank in 20 feet of water. You’ll want the brush pile to come up pretty high to where the top is only about 10-12 feet deep under the surface.

If you plan to drop your own wintertime brush piles, be sure to check with the Corps. of Engineers for rules and guidelines.

For more up-to-date crappie fishing information, visit our fishing reports page all winter long.

Richard Bowling’s Guide Service – (660) 351-5361

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