Opening Cast – May 2023

Opening Cast


Dan Dannenmueller


Richard Simms


Tim Huffman


Matt Mullikin


Brent Frazee
Keith Lusher
Mike Gnatkowski
Larry Whiteley
Terry Madewell
Keith Sutton
Brad Wiegmann
Lindsey Lucas


Phone: 334-285-1623

Copyright © 2023 CrappieNow Online Magazine. A KMS, Inc. Company. All rights reserved.  Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Cover Photo Credit

Jordan Isaacs with Freedom Fishing Guide Service is often casting before the sun rises on Bull Shoals Lake in Missouri.

Photo by Tim Huffman

How was your Spring crappie season?

Most folks are going to answer, “Okay” or “Bad” or maybe “Great!” But when they answer, it is likely to be based upon their less-than-scientific memory. In my case that means a very poor memory.

People (fishermen especially) often have a tendency to forget the bad days and only remember the good. Or they might remember the day they caught a double-limit of keepers, but they forget they had to stay on the water for ten hours to do it.

For seven years I have been keeping detailed records of all of my Spring crappie fishing trips. I am a professional guide, so I have a pretty good sample size. Going back to 2017, I can tell you the precise number of “keeper crappie per hour” on any given day I was on the water, and more importantly, I can tell you my overall season average.

Fisheries biologists know that it is those long-term averages that provide a true picture of angling success. One single great day, or poor day, doesn’t tell you much anything. Average that day in with dozens, or hundreds, of other days and you begin to see very clear trends.

Based on my long-term data, I have had an excellent 2023 Spring crappie season. Actually, my second-best Spring season since 2017. I was due a good Spring season because 2021 and 2022 were my worst years ever.

In 2023 my clients and I have a season-long average of catching 5.26 legal (10-inch-plus) crappie per hour of fishing. By comparison, in 2021 the average was 2.93. The 2022 average was 3.86. My seven-year average is 4.65 keeper crappie per hour of fishing.

The point here is not to brag about my crappie-angling expertise (and some of you might consider those numbers quite poor). The point is, keeping detailed records can help you paint a far more accurate picture of your angling success, and the status of your fish population.

Couple your quantitative records with daily notes about weather, water conditions, techniques, lures and other factors will help you catch more fish in the future.

It’s not hard. A simple spreadsheet with dates, number of hours fished, number of keepers caught and basic notes about how you fished will pay big dividends in future years.

Plus, when you brag to your buddies about how good you are, or how lousy the fishing has been, you’ve got the exact numbers to back it up!



Richard Simms, Editor

“The outdoors is not a place, it’s a state of mind.”

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