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Joined: Nov 2013
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Need a bit of guidance with a project I am starting to work on.
The Goal is to improve the Crappie Fishing while keeping the Bass population thriving on our lake.

Some details:
- 200 Acre lake with Largemouth Bass, Crappie, Sunfish/Bluegill and Chain Pickerel.
- Deepest part of the lake is 32 Ft Deep and DNR says the only thing needed in the lake is to add Structure.
- Lake has very little natural structure left in it and not many drop-off points.
- 32 Blocks with Orange piping were sunk in 12 ft water last year and Bass have started to use them. No Crappie yet.
- Using mostly orange Piping free from Cable Company and has been approved by our State DNR to be safe and approved by the HOA as well. This piping lets crank-baits just bounce off of it and no snags

These are the structures we have begun to build:
- 1 Gallon pots with 1/2 inch Black plastic strips- ( think like a spider 3 ft round with 30 legs)
- 2 Gallon Landscape pots with cement and Orange Pipes- 3-4 Ft tall
- PVC Porcupine Structures 4 ft tall and 5 foot long (XXXXX)
- Cinder Blocks with Cement and Orange Pipes 4-6 ft tall
- 8 Feet Tall PVC Trees
- Pallet Triangles weighted with sand bags
- Pallet Stake Beds weighted with Sandbags

We have over 900 more pieces of this orange piping and over 76 Pallets to get creative with. The lake will be drawn down 5 feet in October as this is done every five years for maintenance.
Questions I need guidance with from all you great minds:

Where should each of these structures be sunk and how many of each should be in each group to attract Crappie?
How far away should we space each grouping?
What are we overlooking or missing?
Is it better to “Pepper” the 1/4 mile between my dock and my Friend’s dock across from me ,or spread this structure throughout the 200 acres in some organized way?
Do Crappie like one Big pile in deep water and we should just keep adding to it?
Do Crappie like tall structures (20 ft tall) in Deep water (32ft)?

Thank You

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Here is the link to the main structure thread.

Structure - Pond Boss Thread

Are you seeing the crappie at depth on your sonar? I think 32' may be a little too deep.

I might consider a small pipe "brushpile" in 10' of water, then move deeper on roughly the same line and build a bigger one in 15' of water, and finally move out to 20' deep water and build a bigger one. On the deepest one, build it up to within 10' of the surface, and maybe have a small section of the brushpile within 5-6' of the surface.

Once you determine which brushpile the crappie prefer, then you can build more at the optimal depth in Year 2.

Good luck on your lake. Sounds like a fantastic situation!

P.S. Can you add a rough location of your lake? Some advice is universal, but some guidance varies strongly by region.

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Thanks for all your insight. I see a few Crappie around what we have sunk already but it’s in 17 feet of water and they could be largemouth Bass. The lake is in South Carolina and is really a gem but we have been told to get some type of structure (as best we can) and we will never have to restock. DNR says to make structure for the bait fish and some for the Crappie and Bass and we should see some type of results

I’m doing some research and finding out that a majority of the lakes in our area are manmade and the issue is that most of the structure has rotted away after 40-50 years. Pine trees have been sunk over the years , but only the main trunk is left

This is why I am trying to sink what I call “Forever structure”- PVC or other type of non-leaching pipe that will never rot.

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I suggest sinking some of the structure where it is convenient to reach while fishing from shore.


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Forever structure is nice, but there is some value in natural cover too.

Cedar trees that pond owners clear from their fields are a popular item. They start out as very dense cover for the smallest baitfish. After a few years of decay, they have lost all of the small twigs and are great cover for BG. In their final years as mostly just a main trunk, they are great "ambush" cover for the LMB to utilize.

If you don't have cedars that people around the lake clear, you can almost always get Christmas trees for free at the local recycler after New Years.

Almost any cut trees will make good cover, just make sure you do NOT put in freshly cut oak branches or stumps. (Some people have had fish kills due to oak tannins, other people have had zero problems.)

I would definitely tend to use any wood-based structure in the areas where the more experienced fisherman will be fishing. I like your usage of treble-hook resistant plastic pipe for structure. I would also follow Theo's advice and do some of your plastic pipe structures in places that are easy to access for small children to fish.

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Watched a video online that I liked on this topic. Modeled some of our habitat off of the suggestions in the video. I think what you are asking about is simple vs complex habitat and my understanding is:

Simple habitat will provide the fish some cover and ambush opportunities but really not protection from predation due to the larger gaps in it.

Complex habitat on the other hand has much tighter limbs and overlaps and does provide more protection from predation as a result.

As far as where to put it. We used our spawning beds as a prime spot for complex pieces because we wanted to get our baby fish a chance to grow a bit before they were eaten. Think about where your babies go after the spawn....this can vary based on the species.

With the simple habitat our first sites were anyplace there was an abrupt depth change (enhancement of the edge) or anyplace there was a change in the bottom (gravel bed vs mud/clay). Off a point or flat would likely be a good location as well. After we got those set, we moved on to sites adjacent to complex habitat. The goal was to give our predators an ambush location for those babies that had grown.

Lastly, our pond is not nearly as deep as yours but we did set some habitat in the deep zones of the pond. Our thought here wasn't so much for the summer months but more for winter. We have two deep pools and they were decorated with a little with of complex but mostly simple. Fish feed less in the winter and we want to make sure our predators get a chance to eat without missing to many meals.

200 acres of water. 90% of the fish in 10% of the water. The beauty here is you get the choose the 10% you really want to have them in or relate to the most. Sounds like one heck of a fun project.


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Very cool project! The things you have done so far and intend to do sound right on. I'm a big fan of "forever" structure too.
For crappie I would sink most of the structure in 10'-15' of water, the tall structure in deep water should work good for winter fishing...around here fish stage on deeper structure like that when it is cold.

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
I would also follow Theo's advice and do some of your plastic pipe structures in places that are easy to access for small children to fish.
Small children, and old guys who have been known to fall out of canoes.


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I dont think there is a wrong place to put structure, some might serve one purpose while others might serve a whole other scenario. my years Crappie fishing in different size BOW will tell me that in mid winter and hot summer times they move deep, up to 15' tho is pretty much max, seldom that deep, right now mine are close to 10' deep in my pond, but then during the spawn, and the rest of spring and fall they will be a lot shallower, around 5' for normal existence to real shallow for spawning.

Which to me indicates that you will need habitat in a variety of depths, and of course you also want to create habitat for their prey fish, which to me means a little shallower and more dense habitat.

I am fully convinced that you can influence the location of the fish, like lure them to your area by the placement, kind of, and depth of your habitat, of course also in relation to habitat that holds baitfish. to me, crappie don't require a real dense habitat.

And like Theo G said, put some in an area where the little kids and the old timers can fish it too,,, last thing you want is some big Crappie dragging an old man out of a boat!,, although that might make good habitat too.


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Thanks for all the feedback and seeing You all are knowledgeable as well forthcoming with advice, I have a few more questions.

This project is quickly becoming a passion and hopefully part of my Legacy to leave something for the Kids and Grandkids although I have neither.

Questions

What could I attach to each plastic pipe structure to make it show up on a fish finder clearer. Some fishermen have old Fish Finders and they say it’s hard to find these structures. I have heard of people using aluminum pie tins

Is 6-7 feet of water deep enough to sink Crappie Stake beds from pallets, knowing that they are 4 foot tall?

We have foot of Muck on the bottom and I will be using Sandbags to sink the Triangle pallets and Crappie Stake beds. Would it make sense to tie pallets to the sandbags and allow 1-2 feet of rope to suspend the structure above the pallet. This would allow the pallets to float off the bottom and swing with the current until they are water logged.


Is there any more ways to make improvements when the Lake is drawn down five feet in October? I am going to use a power washer to blast the muck off my shoreline and into the deeper water. didn’t know if I should dig a channel or blast some holes in the clay/sand to make the bottom a bit different ?


Once I get this project in full swing, I think it’s only fair that I will post some picture of the progress to share with You all, seeing these ideas are coming from this group.

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Originally Posted by Foodeefish
What could I attach to each plastic pipe structure to make it show up on a fish finder clearer. Some fishermen have old Fish Finders and they say it’s hard to find these structures. I have heard of people using aluminum pie tins

I think if you filled 1-2 pieces of your largest size of plastic pipe with sand and then capped the ends, those pieces might provide a good, long-term reflector.

You can certainly experiment with pie plates, etc. the next time you have out a boat with a fish finder.


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