By Darl Black
Winter has arrived in the northern states. The only way to catch crappie during January and February in my neck-of-the-woods is to go ice fishing. But if you dislike sitting around a hole in the ice as much as I do, you might want to consider a crappie fishing trip to a somewhat more southern location for a mid-winter break.
You may not have to travel as far as you think. Check out Rend Lake in southern Illinois.
I recently spent a couple days with several other outdoor writers at Rend Lake. This was my first visit to the 18,900-acre crappie lake near Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Completed in 1973, this US Army Corps of Engineers reservoir impounded Big Muddy Run creating a lake with a maximum depth of 35 feet and an average depth of about 10 feet. In many areas, stumps and logs remained during the flooding of bottom land creating a perfect habitat for crappies.