El Capitan Crappie


Mar 11, 2001
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From Jim Matthews' weekly column 3/28/01.

The excellent crappie action at El Capitan is the buzz of local panfish anglers all over the region. San Diego City Lakes biologist Larry Bottroff said that something on the order of 6,500 crappie have been caught over the past three weeks. That is out of an estimated population of something over 20,000 crappie. Anglers are likely to lands 12 to 15,000 of the fish before the bite dwindles. Bottroff said that some years the combination of fishing mortality and natural mortality eliminates over 95 percent of the crappie population. Amazingly, the fish rebound quickly. The key to a water year that supports a good spawning effort by the fish, not the harvest numbers.

"The only way we could have consistantly good crappie fishing is to be able to control the water levels in the spring and summer," said Bottroff. And that will never happen so anglers should be happy there was a great spawn in 1999 and that there are a pile of 3/4-pound to one-pound crappie at the lake right now. Other spots also with good crappie numbers but less fishing pressure. Look at Lake Sutherland, also in San Diego County, and Silverwood Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains. Both have fewer fish, but some better quality fish.

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