by Ron Wong
This central east Alabama lake is a virtual crappie factory.
Nestled in Elmore County, Alabama is bountiful Lake Jordan. The lake attracted the Bassmaster Classic in 2004 which showcased the great fishery in the annual championship. However, bass is not the only abundant species in this 6,800-acre lake. The18-mile-long impoundment, located on the Coosa River, is also the home of some wonderful white and black crappie fishing.
Many of the local fishermen remain quiet about the quality of crappie fishing on this fairly clear lake with visibility around 3 feet. Lake Jordan’s deepest water is 110 feet with an average depth of 35 feet. Boat docks, cypress trees, and many shallow water coves adorn the shores of Lake Jordan thereby providing more than adequate spawning areas for crappie.
Throughout the lake there are many natural brush piles, sunken trees, and man-made stake beds providing shelter and feeding areas for the crappie. The lake stretches 18 miles between the Mitchell and Jordan dams. Jordan is located about 25 miles north of Montgomery and minutes from Wetumpka, AL where there are excellent accommodations for those traveling from other destinations.
Depending on the season, crappie on Lake Jordan can be caught in a myriad of ways, including spider rigging, vertical jigging, double-minnow rigs, and dock shooting.
During the winter months, slow drift spider-rigs and vertical jigging are best. The crappie will school around the many brush piles and other sunken cover on ledges bordering deep water. Using your electronics to locate these crappie haunts will be key to your success. Spider-rigs with a Bobby Garland 1/8th ounce jig head rigged with a Bobby Garland Baby Shad moved slowly above the cover will produce some good size fish.
If a productive brush pile is located it is often best to vertical jig it to get a limit of fish. Using a 10- or 11- foot B’n’M Tree Thumper rod, design by crappie pro Steve Danna, with 6-pound test Gamma line dropping a Bobby Garland Slab Slay’R can get you a limit of fish out of one small area during the winter.
As the water warms in February, the crappie will move towards the numerous spawning areas throughout the lake. The double minnow rig and vertical jigging become the most productive way to catch the crappie now. Fishing the transition areas such as secondary creek points and ledges will produce good size fish.
Typically, the crappie will spawn on Lake Jordan during the months of March and April. Targeting the many cypress trees that adorn the shores of the lake are excellent places to catch the spawning fish. Vertical jigging a Bobby Garland 2-inch Slab Slay’R tipped with a small minnow around the trees will catch some nice slabs, some exceeding 2 pounds.
Once the crappie has spawned, they will move to areas of the lake that are comfortable to them and have a good food source. Shooting docks become a very good way to catch the post spawn fish.
The best docks are those with deeper water in front of them and pole docks are best. Using a 1/24th or 1/32nd ounce Bobby Garland Head Dockt’R Shooter jig head rigged 2.25 Minnow Mind’R or Baby Shad on 4-pound test Hi-vis Gamma line will be the most productive baits to use.
As the lake continues to warm and summertime is in the air, there are 3 effective methods to catch Lake Jordan crappie: Long-lining, trolling crankbaits and using planer boards.
For long lining, it is recommended to use two12-foot, two 14-foot, and two16-foot B’n’M power trolling rods. Rig each with 1/8- or 1/4-ounce Roadrunner heads tipped with a Bobby Garland Stroll’R.
Those same rods used for long lining will work well pulling crankbaits. A stiffer rod like the B’n’M Silver Cat is a good choice. The Bandit 200 series, Strike King 3XD, and Jenko are good crankbait choices. Using planer boards gives you the advantage of covering a wide area of water. The smaller Off Shore planer boards are the best choice for crappie fishing.
Trolling speed is an important consideration for pulling cranks. The preferred speed can change from on day to the next. Most pros recommend a starting speed of about .8 mile per hour and move faster as needed. The fish will let you know the optimum speed.
As fall approaches and the water cools, vertical jigging and dock shooting become the best way to catch a good mess of fish. During this part of the season the crappie will be moving towards the backs of creeks and coves following baitfish.
Crappie fishing on Lake Jordan is very good year-round. The beautiful scenery and abundance of cover and structure will offer you different ways to catch fish throughout the year, so you can fish your strengths.
If you plan to spend a few days fishing Lake Jordan, Wetumpka is the closest city to the lake and a great place to stay. There are some excellent accommodations in the city with the new Hampton Inn being one of the best. There are parking spaces for your boat that allow you to remain connected to your vehicle. There are also plenty of power sources to charge your batteries.
Wetumpka is a beautiful and historic city. It is a family destination with activities for all to enjoy. Mark your calendar to visit this hidden gem soon for some excellent crappie fishing!