A light wind helps by making fish less spooky of boats and fishermen. In deeper lakes (>25 ft) you’ll want to aim closer to … FAQs If that doesn’t work, he should be prepared to fish at whatever depth necessary to catch fish. Slow presentations at these depths are often best, because baits can be pinpointed on cover and held there to entice slow-bite crappie. Also, these fish are deep enough that they are not spooky. These tips will help you plan your attack before the spawn arrives. Life cycle Crappie spawning activity peaks in May and June when water temperatures are between 61 and 68 degrees, though spawning may continue into July. In September, crappie begin migrating away from main-lake points into the main tributaries like Illinois Bayou, Big Piney Creek and Mud Creek. Even so, the fall pattern is similar. A fisherman’s favorite depth zone to fish will play a role, too. Tim Huffman specializes in crappie fishing, is editor for two crappie magazines, as well as writing for several others. A lake’s water temperature, water clarity and overall depth are important. A crappie looking to ambush a shad needs some cover. Fish will position somewhere on that point, waiting to ambush bait. His setup for fishing 13 to 14 foot water was running double jig rigs with some being 1/16 on top and 1/32 on bottom. As the water temperature becomes colder, the crappie in these deep, clear lakes usually will move down to the 40- or 50-foot-deep water or even hold so tight to … Sun and warm temperatures for a couple of days can warm shallow areas. In shallow, dishpan lakes (<25 ft) you’ll want to aim closer to one foot. Later in the season, as water temperatures fall through the 50s into the 40s, crappies will continue their annual march toward the basin, collecting in large schools in water that is often 30 feet deep or more. “Water temperatures can get too cold to catch bass, but one thing about crappie: they don’t mind the cold. Water temperature alone makes a GPS fish finder a must-have when fishing for crappie. Crappies may change location if there is no light penetration, but a rain usually doesn’t bother them. The key to finding them? Any cold front can cause fish to become finicky, but the deeper the fish, the less a front bothers them. The right cover and a good presentation can produce great action. I let the fish show me the ideal depth, but if I could choose, it would be 10 feet.”, 0 CommentsExcellent June Crappie Fishing on Lake of Egypt. Finding deep water crappie requires good electronics. Much like the migration into the shallows crappie will use the same route to migrate out. Many products featured on this site were editorially chosen. On the southern edges of the Midwest Region, lakes with soft water offer great winter opportunities. You can cover 70-80 feet on each side of the boat, find a depth range of 18-25 feet and set your boat right on top of that spot, and check the imaging for fish. 65- 75 DEGREES. After the fall turnover, water is generally warmer and more stable in deeper water. Doing so can help you locate that ideal depth for crappie fishing. Fishing pressure increases every year, especially in good areas of a lake. You’ll want to present your lure or bait within one to ten feet of the bottom to get the most action. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. At the same time, the colder temperatures will cause shallow weeds to begin to die and give off gases from their decomposition. Calendar, Privacy Policy Most of the fishermen said they are lucky to catch four or five fish bass for a day’s efforts. Conversely, Kentucky Lake has a percentage of crappies in very deep water along channel ledges. Fish will be scattered with some in … A bottom depth that allows cover to rise up into the 15- to 20-foot zone is perfect. You can be among the first to get the latest info on where to go, what to use and how to use it! A degree or two change can bring baitfish and fish into the shallows, creating great action. Fishermen’s opinions vary on the ideal depth for crappie fishing. Crappie can usually be found spawning in temperatures ranging from 57 to 75 degrees. The water is still cold, but occasional warm spells, mixed with longer daylight hours, can cause baitfish, and therefore crappies, to start moving up in depth. Bear in mind that surface temperature is usually several degrees warmer. Why do crappie move deeper in the winter? The key is to learn how to properly use a unit to get the most from it. The best reason to fish for crappie in February? Currently, due to the water temperature, crappie are located on brush piles from 10 feet of water to 30 feet. Contact Us, Magazine The shad hatch during the summer causes crappie to feed on small bait but when fall arrives the shad have grown bigger… Casting from an anchored boat is best for bait control and to repeat casts to a specific spot. In spring when crappie are spawning in the shallows, anyone can cast a minnow and bobber toward the bank and catch a ton of fish. Rising water temperatures send crappies shoreward in stages. The depth at which crappie spawn depends on water clarity. The water is still cold, but occasional warm spells, mixed with longer daylight hours, can cause baitfish, and therefore crappies, to start moving up in depth. “In early fall, there is still a thermocline that comes into play with crappie being above it. THE CRAPPIE SPAWN WHEN CRAPPIE SPAWN. However, unlike walleye and pike, who spawn with temperatures in the 40’s (in F), crappies don’t spawn until temperatures are nearing (and many times well into) the 60’s. Water temperatures. State Guide Casting can be productive and fun, but a fisherman must control the bait depth, speed and have a good “feel” of the bait to detect bottom, cover and bites. Podcast “Black crappies will spawn at lower temperatures, so they are the first to spawn. The bass action slowed quite a bit this week on Clear Lake. Reelfoot Lake doesn’t have the water depth for catching crappies at 30 feet, but 16 to 18 feet is popular. Where’s All the Damn Ammo? Crappie may spawn as early as mid-March. The best time of the day to target crappie in the winter will be in the afternoon when the temperature is as warm as it will be during the day. Once things start cooling off, and the water temperature drops to the low 60s, crappie will migrate to the 15-20 foot depth range, suspending over structure. “Fish can be caught this time of year at 30 feet. They'll hold at this depth all winter, until pre-spawn comes around again. Outdoor Life may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site. To find the thermocline, Lower a temperature gauge probe down until you record a significant drop in temperature. Begin by casting over the top of the brush, count your jig down to the appropriate depth, and slowly reel back. In fall, the crappie will move back in along structure into 10′-15’ feet of water and start feeding to build weight for winter. Cold fronts are common in late winter and early spring. Using these two factors, it should be possible to find an average depth to start from. The spawn, like with most species, correlates heavily with water temperatures. His first article appeared in MidWest Outdoors in 1988. Over very deep basins or river channels, look for crappies to suspend, often relating to the 25-35 ft … Although several different factors determine when crappie spawn on any body of water, Nick Nichols, Chief of Fisheries for Alabama’s Department of Conservation, says that crappie, both black and white, traditionally spawn when the water temperature is in the high 50s or low 60s. In 2018, he published his sixth book, Limiting Out for Crappie, available at Amazon. The Lucky Portable Fish Finder … White crappies like a little warmer water, so they will be behind the blacks. Later in the fall, most lakes will have constant temperature and oxygen levels throughout. Here’s how a couple of veteran guides and a tournament angler follow the big-slab bite. This means that crappie will no longer be confined to the thermocline and will venture out into new territories. The thermocline depth varies with lake conditions and surface temperature. I’m a tournament fisherman, so I try to find fish to catch fish at 10 to 15 feet all year long because these fish are easier to keep alive, a requirement in our tournaments. All rights reserved. Most crappie anglers regard springtime as the most productivetime of year to catch crappie, but Davis admits that he prefers the wintermonths for sheer productivity. Sonar provides a visual of what is under the water including depths, cover and fish. Three-time classic champion, Travis Bunting, says he prefers 10 to 15 feet. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. As spring water temperatures rise, crappies shift location from the mouths of bays, to cover on flats, to the shallows. So, my ideal depth is 10 to 15, my buddy’s ideal depth is around 50, with most fishermen finding 15 to 25 feet being good for late-winter fish.”. * Save $24.95 off the 10-issue newsstand rate, My Account A fisherman with a favorite depth zone should first try to find crappies at that level. So, if I find fish on a brush pile, I don’t hesitate blocking others with my boat if they try to crowd us and catch the fish we found.”, The final tip is from Dan Dannemueller, a tournament fisherman who travels from the south to the north each year chasing crappies. As noted in the image above, the distinct layer of cold water will create a line on your depth finder. As mentioned above there is a lull in the migration after the spawn has occurred. 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Mitch Harrison explains how to catch crappie in deep water. "Whenever anglers start catching fish shallow they often think the … As the water temperature drops, the depth of brush the crappie use will change. Our first example used 18 to 25 feet as an ideal depth range. A favorite cold-water depth for catching crappies in very late winter might be 2 feet, or the 18- to 25-foot zone. Crappie will normally build their nests from 2-19 feet deep. The average winter depth for crappie will be between 25 feet and 40 feet. As the temps go above the 65 degree mark you can safely search deeper water for those big females that migrated out to deep water. Baitfish are critical. The spawn generally occurs when water temperatures reach 55F. In stained or muddy water, they may spawn as … Mapping allows drop-offs to be followed, good spots to be marked and provides safe navigation. A Bonnier Corporation Company. However, too much wind makes boat control difficult, so good bait presentations are a problem. Copyright © 2021 Outdoor Life. About Us Depending on the location and characteristics of the body of water, this can happen during a wide range of months. Crappies in this zone can be attacked with slow, vertical presentations including jigging, slow trolling, slip-floats and casting. It’s wrong and rude. The depth at which crappie spawn depends on water clarity. Crappie will look for a depth that has a PH factor they find agreeable. That is the depth of the thermocline, and will be consistent over the entire lake. Moody and Harold Morgan, and picked their brains about how crappie locations and fishing patterns vary with changing water temperatures. Federal Premium’s President Has Some Answers. Others were heavier to run deeper with a 1/8 on top and 1/32 on bottom. The depth at which crappie spawn depends on water clarity. Like other sunfish, crappies are nest “Water temperatures are very important in the fall,” says Mason, NW Tennessee Tourism Director and founder of Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame. You want to know what the temperature is at around 10 feet deep. This will depend largely on the species and the clarity of the water. Rain can be brutal for a fisherman on a cold day. Crappie spawn when the water temperature reaches 56-60 degrees. Its average depth is 14 feet, and its maximum depth is only 61 feet, and so you seldom have to go as deep to catch crappie as you do on other reservoirs. they are often found in the thermocline (a depth at which water temperature changes rapidly), where the water is cooler but still contains dissolved oxygen. A fisherman’s favorite depth zone to fish will play a role, too. Understanding how the spawn plays out and finding prominent areas will greatly increase your chances of catching big, springtime slabs. 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