The extreme cold weather that Georgia has experienced this year is giving way to spring. The warmer conditions provide anglers the opportunity to get out on the water, and the timing could not be better.

March is a transition period for crappie on the major reservoirs near Atlanta. These fish are beginning to leave their deep-water, winter haunts in preparation for the annual spawn. The migration marks the beginning of the easiest fishing and fastest action of the year.

The crappie are feeding heavily during this pre-spawn staging period. These fish are holding in 10 to 15 feet of water around fallen trees, brush piles, bridge abutments, and boat docks.

Crappie are extremely prolific fish that grow to catchable sizes of 10 inches or greater in just a couple of years. These fish usually congregate in big schools.

Catching 20 to 30 crappie is possible when a school is located. Harvest limits are quite liberal because of the abundance and fast growth rates of these fish.

Live minnows are the best baits for catching crappie. Anglers preferring artificial lures use 1/24- to 1/16-ounce lead-head jigs with small curly-tailed plastic trailers.

Allatoona, Jackson and Lanier are the three closest major impoundments to Atlanta. The crappie in all three lakes should be in pre-spawn mode right now.

Kellogg, Illinois, Stamp and Tanyard creeks on Allatoona are good areas to look for crappie this month.

Check out the Thompson and Taylor Creek areas on Lanier, as well as the main Chattahoochee River arm of the impoundment from Clarks Bridge upstream to the Lula Bridge.

On Jackson the best action should be around the Ga. 212 bridge on the Alcovy River arm of the reservoir.

Visit georgiawildlife.com and follow the links for Fishing and then Reservoirs for more information on places to catch crappie.

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Jimmy Jacobs is a freelance outdoor writer and Insider Fishing Reporter for the Southeast Outdoor Report on Fox Sports South. Follow him at facebook.com/jimmy.jacobs.180. He can be contacted at jimmyjacobs@mindspring.com.