I like to call it “Fickle February.”
It may not be so for everyone, but where I live (in Tennessee), February is a bad month for predicting the weather, or the crappie fishing.
When it comes to crappie fishing, my specialty is long-line trolling. That means I LOVE the pre-spawn months of February and March on the Tennessee River. March is almost always prime time, but in years past, February has been very good to me as well. Much to my wife’s dismay, Valentines Day has always been an especially sweet spot. Here’s one example on video.
The last two years, however, not so much.
As a guide I’ve been keeping some detailed records in recent years. In 2017 our February crappie trolling trips yielded 3.6 keeper crappie (10-inches-plus) for every hour fished. My Notes for Valentines Day that year say, “Lots of yellow bass & crappie everywhere I fished! I also caught a trophy Chickamauga Lake largemouth, 12.6 lbs.” Read more about that catch here.
In February 2018 my crappie average climbed to 5.2 keeper crappie every hour we trolled.
But the last two years we have been beset by massive rainfall, muddy water and fluctuating lake levels. In 2019 I made very few February crappie trips. The ones I did make yielded 0.5 crappie for every hour trolled. February 2020 was better, but again, due to lousy water conditions I didn’t even fish until the last week of February. Check out one of those days in this video (HOTLINK TO Video_Tip1).
This year I’m praying we won’t have a ‘threepeat,” again experiencing lousy weather and water conditions in February.
But again, in my part of the world February can be a fickle beast. I hope that’s not the case where you live. Happy Valentines Day regardless.
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Richard Simms, Editor
“The outdoors is not a place, it’s a state of mind.”