Tips and Tricks for Late Fall Crappie
Seasonal movements of black crappies are similar to other warmwater fish species. In early spring, when water temperatures begin to rise, many fish will move from the deep areas of a lake to shallow vegetated areas where spawning will occur. In early fall, crappies will again begin to move, this time feeding on available forage in preparation for winter.
Crappies are one of the few warmwater species that can actually be caught in greater numbers in the colder months between October and April, with November and March being the two best months.
Crappies move into shallower depths during autumn and closely associate with shoreline structures. They may be found in close proximity to weed lines, rocky points, flooded stream channels, or a variety of other habitats. Cooler water temperatures stimulate more aggressive feeding behavior.
Crappie are generally very predictable and aggressive in October and November. Docks are a prime location for fall crappie, where they can be caught in the upper 10 feet of the water column. Even better than just vegetation is an area with stumps and brush. Crappie will also move into shallow water on warm days in the fall, where you can catch them in the same brush piles they inhabit during the spawn. Crappies love structure!
Anglers can catch these fish using small plastic jigs or hair jigs in a variety of colors. Crappies are color selective at times, so experimentation is important. Additionally, anglers must experiment with depth because crappies often will suspend above structure. Sometimes varying the depth you are presenting the bait as little as six inches can make a difference. Live bait, such as minnow, killifish, small shiners and worms, can improve catches. Small grub tail twisters, such as beetle spins or roadrunners, can also be effective. Remember, crappies are not always on the bottom so the use of a float can be important.
Tips & Tricks for Late Fall Crappie
- Schools will be near deeper weed edges.
- Fish early morning and late evening.
- Fish slowly inside the deepest portion of the weed flats & use a 1/16th-ounce jig with a small minnow.
- A slow vertical jigging motion will reduce snags.
- After locating fish, switch to a slip bobber & vary the depths to zero in on the fish.
- As the water cools, more weeds will die & fish will come to the open edges.
- Watch your fish finder as you slowly cruise the drop offs just outside the weed line.
- Each day you’ll see more signs of life in this deeper water.
- Baitfish appear first, then small groups of Crappies and finally larger schools of fish.
- The arrival of larger groups of fish marks the beginning of the peak fall bite.
- Crappies will locate on inside corners or edges of deep holes near the shoreline.
- You might find some of the fish on points or on straight stretches along the drop off.
Remember: Crappies love structure!
Northern Pike Fishing