Reelfoot Lake is a natural lake that is in northern Tennessee and more specifically in Fulton county. It was once the only commercially fished lake for crappie. With this said it would might be easy to find a decent crappie in the lake's various coves and other holes. This particular lake looks like a reservoir for good reason. It is suggested in the annals of history that the Mississippi river flowed backwards after an earthquake to fill this shallow valley with water. Regardless of how the lake was formed we know that it is a great source for crappie.
The best crappie fishing will be found in late April or early May. With that said let me focus on the other times of the year first and save the best for last.
Let us start with late winter and early spring on Reelfoot, this is a shallow lake, at most 18 foot deep, and these deep areas are where the crappie are going to spend the winter. To fish these waters during this time of year it is important to know what the temperature of the water is. For crappie 50 degrees seems to be a magic number, warmer temperatures and they are super active and colder they turn into a couch potatoes. Use large jigs or minnows during these colder times. Most of this lake is a shallow lake so look for the ledges. I know that these really don't exist on this lake but you can always hope. The whole trick is to follow the bait fish but knowing that some of the edges or coves might have warmer waters during the day the bait fish are looking for a constant temperature.
Before the spring spawning try to catch the crappie in the deeper waters so stick to the center of the lake or just at the mouth of the coves. On other lakes in the late winter or early spring I have had great luck fishing right were the plant life begins in the cove. Bait fish will go where they can find food and plant life is often a good indicator of that food.
Once spring has set in, late April or early May, you should start to move your crappie fishing to the shores where the water temperatures are about 60 degrees. Crappie will spawn between 60 and 65 degrees depending on the weather and some other variables. No matter when they spawn it means good bites for you. Spawning requires lots of energy and there is also a self preservation aspect here. If your bait looks like it might eat the young crappie it has a really good chance of being ate.
During spawning times use a small jig. There is no need to use live bait at this time of year as they will eat almost anything. I would avoid brightly colored jigs as they seem to be unnatural and I just have never had good luck with them during spawning. Basic rule for the spring crappie is just practice moderation and only take a few.
Spring is over and the spawning is done so the Crappie are getting picky about what they eat. In these shallow waters what you present may not be as important as where you present it. As summer sets in and the waters begin to warm expect crappie to be hanging out in the colder waters and this means deeper waters. Lakes shaped like this seem to age and fill in from the center so the mouths of the coves have slightly deeper areas.