(l-r) Professional crappie angler Steve Coleman and Ronnie Capps show of one reason Lake Grenada is
one of the six Mississippi reservoirs featured on Mississippi Quail Trail. (Photo: Richard Simms)
Mississippi Crappie Trail
by Larry Rea/Memphis Commercial Appeal
CrappieNOW Publisher Dan Dannenmueller and Mike Jones believe they have hit a home run in the recent birth of the Mississippi Crappie Trail (MSCT).
“The analogy that I can give is that everybody is familiar with the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama,” said CrappieNOW writer Ron Wong. “This is essentially the same thing … except it is for crappie fishing in Mississippi.”
Dannenmueller, a retired Air Force officer, professional crappie fishing angler and co-owner and publisher CrappieNOW, and Jones, program manager for Outdoor Marketing at Visit Mississippi, call the project a major effort in what could be the first of many such fishing destination trails throughout the U.S.
“First of all, let me say, this isn’t a tournament trail,” said Dannenmueller, who lives in Millbrook, Alabama. “It is basically a crappie fishing trip planner.”
The website is made up of two distinct parts.
A trip planner with more than 1,800-mapped and tagged fish, play, stay and fillet areas defined. The trip planner continues with information on fishing resources, including guides, bait shops, ramps, gas stations and more around each location. It also includes places to stay, things to do and attractions.
The website highlights each lake with current information and photos about each location.
Each section of the two parts has Apple and Android apps, including a planner app and a website mobile app once launched.
Tim Huffman, senior writer for CrappieNOW magazine, says, “I’m guessing you won’t find another website that offers so many things for a fisherman in one place. I was privileged to be a part of the team who researched information for the site. It is rewarding to know the effort will provide fishermen and non-fishermen with such useful information to make their trips more enjoyable.”
How big is crappie fishing in Mississippi?
“Real big,” Jones says. “You can go to any of the lakes and landings and just start looking at the car tags. Traveling I-55 it’s nothing to see boats being pulled from all over the U.S.”
Many of those boat-pulling vehicles come from Memphis.
All of which brings us to why so many people come to Mississippi to crappie fish.
“I’m guessing you won’t find another website that offers so many things for a fisherman in one place.”
~ Tim Huffman, CrappieNOW Senior Writer
For one thing there is the white crappie caught by Memphian Fred Bright near Enid Dam on the Yocona River in Yalobusha County on July 31, 1957.
Using artificial bait on a fast-action rod with a Denison Johnson reel, Bright’s white crappie weighed 5 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 21 inches in length and remains the International Game Fish Association’s all-tackle world record for white crappie.
Wong believes the new Mississippi Crappie Trail web site could lead to a world-record catch. If so, he predicts it will be on Arkabutla Lake.
“Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t come out of Arkabutla,” Wong said. “I truly believe that’s where the next world record will come from.”
Dannenmueller isn’t ready to predict where the next world record white crappie might be, but he’s confident it is in one of the six lakes featured in the MSCT.
“I like them all,” Dannenmueller said. “But Grenada has got to be it because of the over-all population and the size of the fish. It is possible there’s a world record in one of these lakes. Just look at the number of 3-pound plus crappie that have been caught this year at Grenada and the other lakes.”
Huffman said he has fished all six lakes in the MSCT.
“My heart is with the middle to northern lakes simply because I’ve spent the most time on those waters,” said Huffman. “I’ve caught big slabs at Grenada, had days with live-wells full of 12-plus inch crappie at Enid and Sardis, and I’ve been skunked a few times at Arkabutla. Yet, (I’ve) had trips where I caught good fish and netted a 3.22-pounder for my partner.”
The Mississippi Crappie Trail website was born with that in mind, according to Jones.
“In teaming with Dan and his group made it possible to pull all of this information into one place and create a trip planner that is amazing.”
(This story is republished courtesy of author Larry Rea and the Memphis Commercial Appeal Newspaper. With decades of experience in outdoor journalism, you can listen to Larry Rea on Outdoors with Larry Rea Saturday mornings from 6-7:30 on ESPN 790-AM and 92.9 HD FM in Memphis and 1520-AM and 95.3-FM in Brownsville, Tenn., and 6:30-8 on News/Talk 101.5 in Jackson, Tenn. E-mail Larry Rea at email@example.com or go to his web site at lroutdoors.com.)