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Thread: The Full Monty on how to catch Crappie at Lake Henshaw

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  1. #1

    Default The Full Monty on how to catch Crappie at Lake Henshaw

    After a humiliating beating by my fishing partner last week. (he caught 5 times as many Crappie as I did last week) I was looking for some payback on those dreaded Crappies at Lake Henshaw. I started with geting the perfect rig, I had to run all over town to find the just right ingredients. Then the perfect bait (Minnows) and last but not least, the right location at Lake Henshaw. All of that came together on Saturday April 17, 2021. I not only held my own, but I was high man in the boat on Crappies that day. Because I pulled my own weight and my fishing partner did what he always does. (hook lots of Crappies) We were the top producing boat on the lake that day. It was kinda of a tough day for everybody, but our Hot spot of last week, still produced plenty of action there for us.

    A funny thing happened to us through out the day. (it started in the parking lot, even before we went fishing) Everybody kept asking us fishing questions, about how to catch Crappies at Lake Henshaw. A guy even said to me, "you look like you know what's going on in fishing" and could I please have your phone number! This was in the parking lot "before" we went fishing! I was asking myself, "do I have that smug look on my face" like these fish are my witches? Lol The sad part is, I really do think that way! But I didn't think it showed on my face without saying a word! Lol So instead of being like 90% of all Internet posters and keeping all this information to themselves. I'm going to tell you everything I know about the Crappies at Lake Henshaw. The good part is, "a lot of this information works on Crappies at other lakes!"

    This rig is for Live Minnows in shallow water. (5 feet or less) In San Diego and Kern County live Minnows are legal baits. So the most popular Crappie lakes to use this rig is probably going to be lake Hodges, Henshaw and Isabella. Start with the line, #2 pound test is just right. You also need a weighted bobber to cast and control. (no Red Snoopy bobbers please!) The rattling green bobbers are a good choice and can be bought at Sav on Tackle and Fishermen Access. Surprisingly Walmart has good weighted bobbers. Now for the best hook, it is an number #8 Mosquito light wire hook! (hard to find) You can try, Sav on tackle, Young's tackle, Fishermen Access or the Long fin tackle store. This is also the best hook for Mice tails during Trout season. Last is a BB or the next size up split shot. (this can be found anywhere) Now how to rig it up the best way. After tying the hook, put the split shot 4-5 inches up from the hook. Then adjust your bobber to the correct depth. When we were fishing under the tree's last week, a 2 foot leader was the way to go. Yesterday at Lake Henshaw, the Crappies weren't under the tree's anymore, but 10-30 feet out in front of the tree's. So a 3 to 3 1/2 foot leader was what you needed to use.

    Here was a question we got asked multiple times yesterday. Where do you buy the Minnows at? The 2 spots I'm going to name are the best, but call first to make sure their not Sold Out! East County bait and tackle in Lakeside CA. (they open at 4:30 am every day) Anglers tackle in Vista CA. They open at 6:00 am Saturday and Sunday and 8:00 am M-F. Now the opening hours at Lake Henshaw. Monday 8:00 am and no boat rentals. Tuesday their closed, unless you pay for your permit in advance. Wednesday 8:00 am and no boat rentals. Thursday 8:00 am and no boat rentals. Friday-Sunday 7:00 am and boat rentals. The permit price is $8.10 and the boat rental price is $50. The boats are very leaky and ours on Saturday had no reverse. (so don't expect much!)

    Where to catch the Crappie at Lake Henshaw? Because fish have tails, they keep moving around! 2 weeks ago the hot spot was the Dam area from shore. This past week the Floating fishing dock was good and the shoreline to the Dam was good also. As for being in a boat, the Dam area and especially the flooded trees just to the right of the Dam and all the way down is a great area to try for Crappie. As I said earlier, last week the fish were under the tree's. This week they were in front of the tree's, so try both places when you fish for them! A useful piece of equipment for a boat was a short dock line! (it can be bought at Walmart) The dock line is a piece of rope with a snap device on it. It's great for tying into the tree's, so you don't blow away. Anchors suck!!!! Especially in heavy winds which the lake is known for.

    That's everything you need to know, to be successful in catching Crappie at Lake Henshaw using Minnows for bait!
    Last edited by etucker1959; 04-19-2021 at 08:51 AM.

  2. #2


    Thank you for the details, Eric. How well do jigs work there? I remember catching Crappie on jigs from the floating dock there about 10 years ago. I was even catching baby carp on jigs.

    I also caught a catfish or two but that was on worms.
    Last edited by Natural Lefty; 04-18-2021 at 06:01 PM.

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Natural Lefty View Post
    Thank you for the details, Eric. How well do jigs work there? I remember catching Crappie on jigs from the floating dock there about 10 years ago. I was even catching baby carp on jigs.

    I also caught a catfish or two but that was on worms.
    The jigs work under a bobber too, it's just a lot more work. When they were really biting 2 weeks ago, many people got a limit on shore with just jigs. Yesterday though a nice private boat came by and ask us at the time, how many fish did we catch with Minnows? We had 12 Crappie and 2 LMB to our credit. I asked them how many Crappie they caught on jigs only. He muttered something, "I think he said 4!" He wasn't to happy, he wanted to have some Minnows with him. He was another person who asked us, "where we got our Minnows?"
    Last edited by etucker1959; 04-18-2021 at 07:11 PM.

  4. #4


    That is a great report, helpful and much appreciated.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by eah View Post
    That is a great report, helpful and much appreciated.
    Thank you!

  6. #6


    Was the water low?? I have a day trip planned there for May 13th. Also SUPPOSE to go to Cachuma or Isabella in May. I haven't been paying attention to fishing at all. I just went up to Clear lake a couple weeks ago so I got my crappie fix in. Anyways, its crazy they open at 8. I thought it used to be 7 or earlier. I used to catch them running a jig in and out the shadows along the rocks holding REAL TIGHT to shore. That was MY LAKE when I lived in San Diego in the late 90's. I try to hit it at least once a year. Glad to see people cashing in.

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