Grenada Lake offers many technique options for catching crappie. Terry Stewart swings a
fish into the boat while using one pole and his Garmin LiveScope. (Photo: Tim Huffman)
Destination: Grenada Lake for Great Fishing & Family Fun
by Tim Huffman
Grenada is every crappie fisherman’s dream. There is no scientific data to prove it but most experts agree that these days, it is the lake where a crappie angler has his or her best chance of catching a true 3-pound-plus slab.
“The area around Grenada offers many outdoor activities that families enjoy,” says Tommy Akin with Mississippi Tourism. “However, to a fisherman, it’s all about the lake. It’s the best crappie fishing lake in the country.”
With a shoreline of 148 miles and 25,000 acres of water, a lot of the natural timber was left in the lake providing prime crappie habitat. But there is also plenty of open water in the main lake dam area for recreational boating.
“Grenada’s advantages start with the size and numbers of big crappie,” said tournament fisherman and part-time guide, Terry Stewart. “People can come here and have a good shot at catching a three-pound crappie. Another advantage is the variety of techniques a fisherman can use. LiveScope, spider rigging, pulling jigs, trolling crankbaits, power trolling and casting can catch fish here, so there is something for every fisherman,” said Stewart.
“The lake is in excellent shape now with plenty of quality fish. I believe spring high waters have protected most of our fish because they spread out and get in places difficult to reach by boat. Floods in the spring have helped maintain big fish and good numbers of fish. Also, biologists say that the winter low water allows grass to grow around the lake, so when the lake rises or floods in the spring, the fish have a lot of nutrients that help them thrive.”
“People can come here and have a good shot at catching a three-pound crappie.”
Crappie by the Season
“Summer is a time when crankbait trollers really get going,” explained Stewart. “Fish want something fast and the trolling covers a lot of water with fast baits. Also, LiveScope fishing is very good because a crappie will come get a bait in the warm water. I look for river ledges in the warm months with some fish as shallow as five feet and others as deep as twelve, but they can be deeper. Finding fish is a matter of looking at different depths along channels. Pay attention for fish suspended up in the water column,” he said.
“Fall is when fish will be in different patterns. Some will stay in a summer pattern, but many will go back to shallower areas like in the spring. Look for most fish to be six to nine feet of water. When the gates are open and water starts to fall, the fish move toward the channel. A fisherman may have to search but start by working along the channels.”
Stewart says winter fishing is limited on the lake. The lake goes to about half its size and access becomes difficult. It usually reaches its lowest level sometime in December and stays there a while. The fish get less pressure for a while. Water levels typically begin to start rising again in late February or March.
“Prespawn is a good time to catch big fish,” says Stewart. “They are a little finicky so you’re not going to catch them by pulling crankbaits or other aggressive techniques. Spider rigging works with 0.2 to 0.4 mph speeds being good in cool water. LiveScope is good all year, too, and is popular right now.
“Just a little warming will trigger spawning and it changes the bite to an aggressive attack when a jig is put in front of them,” he said. “The spawn is when weekend fishermen can come here and catch fish in shallow water. Spawning lasts several weeks, but all of March is usually great fishing.”
A unique technique at the lake is wade fishing. People can come from the bank or use a boat to get into shallow areas with trees and bushes. Using waders and a long pole, a fisherman can sneak around and drop baits down to the fish. Fighting a fish on his level is an exciting experience.
Stewart says, “Fish move from spawn into post-spawn by pulling out of shallow water but often not too far from where they spawn. This is the time when more aggressive techniques work. Power trolling is popular and it’s time to start pulling jigs or crankbaits.”
Stewart says a fisherman must be aware of a few things on the lake. It takes very little wind to make it dangerous, so check weather reports to make sure it will be safe and adjust to the best launching location for wind protection. Also, electronic mapping is important because of mud flats and timber areas that can be a navigation problem. Spring fishing is the best time to land a monster fish, so ramps will be crowded and there will be a lot of boats on the lake. Spring can bring high waters, too. So, there can be a few obstacles to fishing Grenada Lake, but the potential results are worth the effort.
Great Family Fun
“The number one draw here is Grenada Lake,” says Gary Worsham, executive director of Grenada Lake Tourism. “It’s the home of the three-pound crappie, and now an occasional four-pound crappie. But we have other things to do at the lake, too. A lot of families come here to jet ski and kayak. Camping is a big draw with good campgrounds we have.
“The camping grew quickly after Covid with more families camping instead of going to Six-Flags or Disney. It introduced them to the outdoors whether it be camping, boating, fishing, or golf. The outdoors here makes it a great destination because we have so many things to do,” says Worsham.
“Our town is growing because of the increase in outdoor activities. We have a great golf course, lodging and restaurants. We landed some industry here that will be big for us. We just opened a sports complex that is first class. The economic impact of increased outdoor activities and everything associated with it has been huge for us.”
Places to visit include the Belle Flower Church Historic Site founded in 1868, Odd Fellows/Confederate Cemetery founded in 1840, Yellow Fever Cemetery, downtown mural, downtown square, and the Grenada Railway.
Unique places to stay include Lofts on the Square, Post Masters Quarters, and the Hooper House. Cabins are available at different locations, too. There are good motels/hotels in town with the Hampton Inn being a great choice having charging outlets for boats, a pool and good breakfast.
Camping areas include the North Abutment Campground with 88 RV sites with picnic tables, grills, and an amphitheater. Also, the Hugh White State Park, there is Class A and primitive camping below the dam, Eagle Point Primitive Camping, and other campgrounds.
Tim Huffman is CrappieNOW co-founder and senior writer. Check out his crappie fishing books and a list of the Top 50 Lakes at www.monstercrappie.com