Participants will compete in amateur and pro divisions
Contributed by Crappie USA
Crappie USA celebrates its 25th Anniversary of providing competitive fishing to crappie anglers in 2021. Lake Harding joins the celebration on Feb. 13, 2021, when anglers will travel from across the country to join the competition.
Presented by Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s, 2021 anglers will be vying for a guaranteed $10,000 payout for one-day events and $20,000 for two-day events. The three two-day events are rescheduled from 2020 because of COVID-19 and will be phased out when completed.
Anglers may also compete in the $50,000 points race and an opportunity to qualify for the Regional Championships and the 2021 Crappie USA Classic. The Regional Championships will all feature a $25,000 payback and the Classic will be highlighted by a $165,000 payback.
Anglers fishing the event will be testing their crappie fishing skills against other anglers and whatever Mother Nature has in store. This event is a Region 2 qualifier in the new CUSA regional competition.
Lake Harding, also known as Bartlett’s Ferry Lake, is a 5,850-acre reservoir formed by the Bartlett’s Ferry Dam on the Chattahoochee River. Lake Harding is a deep lake with a depth of over 100 feet at the dam. It is a power-producing lake, so current can be dependent on the generating schedule.
The lake is populated by both white and black crappie. In fact, the record black crappie was just recorded. Georgia angler Mickey Peacock set the new lake record with a 3.09-pound black crappie on April 17, 2020.
Local anglers report that Lake Harding crappie fishing is especially good in the spring, so the February Date should be just about right. The lake has plenty of crooks and crannies to investigate. Regardless of your favorite method for chasing slabs, you should be able to apply it at Harding.
The 2021 Regional Competition is based on four regions with five or six qualifying events in each region. Each region will have its own championship and points will be tabulated both regionally and nationally. Visit the CUSA website for complete scheduling.
How to Enter
Teams may consist of one or two anglers, with a third member allowed if the angler is under the age of 16 years old. Early registration can be accomplished on the CUSA website at www.crappieusa.com/Tournament_Registration.cfm. Teams may also enter by calling (502) 384-5924 or by entering at the mandatory pre-tournament seminar on the night before the tournament begins. Entry fees vary by length of tournament. All fees are posted on the website linked above. Late entries are subject to a $25.00 late fee.
Participating anglers must be a member of the American Crappie Association (ACA).
Sign up at www.crappieusa.com/Membership_Information.cfm where the various levels of membership are available. Each membership will include a subscription to the Crappie Digest, the official publication of Crappie USA and one of the top crappie fishing publications in the nation.
Anglers will sign up at registration, be given a copy of guidelines for social distancing, be given a copy of the rules and be given their weigh-in voucher. At that point, they will leave the registration site.
At the weigh-in, social distancing will be maintained in the weigh-in line and only allow a few teams at a time will be allowed to be in the line. Other anglers can wait in vehicles and boats. All staff will be wearing facemasks and we encourage all anglers and spectators to do the same.
Registration and Seminar
Late registration and a pre-tournament seminar will be held the day before the tournament at the Sportsplex & Aquatics Center, 1001 Andrews Road in Opelika.
Late Sign-in begins at 5 p.m. and runs to 7 p.m. A National Sponsor Field Test Product Drawing accompanies the seminar starting at 7 p.m. local time. This seminar is open to the public. Those not fishing the event are encouraged to attend this meeting and meet some of the region’s top crappie anglers. Social distancing rules will apply.
The Weigh-In Site
The tournament weigh-in will be held at Po Boys Landing, Lee Road 334, Salem, Alabama. Fishing hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and all anglers are required to be in line by 4:00 pm. This is the perfect opportunity for non-competitors to learn how the big ones are caught. Interviews of the top 5 teams are conducted following the weigh-in with social distancing rules in effect.
Tournament Host and Lodging Site
Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau welcomes all Crappie USA anglers and their guests to the area and hope that they take the opportunity to enjoy the local attractions. For more information on the area visit the website at Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau or call 334.501.3281.
Lodging is provided by:
 Comfort Inn, 811 Fox Run Pkwy, Opelika, Alabama, 334-744-9977
 Quality Inn, 1102 Columbus Pkwy, Opelika, Alabama, 334-745-6331
The number of rooms in the area may be limited. It is recommended that participants make their reservations early.
Crappie USA “Free Crappie Kids Rodeo”
A FREE Crappie Kids Fishing Rodeo will be held in conjunction with the tournament at the Po Boys Landing, Lee Road 334, Salem, Alabama. An adult must accompany all participating children. The event is free to all children 12 years of age and under.
Sign up for the Kids Rodeo is Saturday morning at 8 a.m. with fishing from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. The Crappie USA Kids Fishing Rodeo is a chance for children of the area to get out and enjoy nature, do a little fishing, and win some prizes. All participants are eligible for a chance to win one of the six, Crappie USA $1,000.00 scholarships. The scholarships are awarded annually at the CUSA Classic. To date more than $379,000.00 in scholarships have been awarded.
The Classic Championship
The CUSA Classic Championship will be held Oct. 14 – 16 at Lake Hartwell, South Carolina, at Anderson, South Carolina. The 2021 Crappie USA Classic presented by Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s features a guaranteed payout of $165,000 in cash and prizes.
National Sponsors of Crappie USA are: Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Mustad Hooks, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Talon, Lake Master Maps, Gamma, B’n’M Poles, Driftmaster Rod Holders, Ego Nets, Brushpile Crappie, Charlie Brewer Slider, Crappie Now Magazine, Jenko Fishing, Big Bite Baits, Crappie Magnet, EFX Graphics, Fin n’ Frames, Crown Trophy, JR Madd Breading, Freaky Franks Tackle, EZ Drift, Allegro Marinades, Pro Controll, Bubba Blade, Flambeau and Smooth Moves Seats.
For more information on the Classic and other CUSA events visit the website at www.crappieusa.com and Crappie USA Tournament Trail Facebook Page.