cold water crappie tips

I can’t seem to catch crappie in cold water. What can I try?

Crappie like other fish are cold blooded and as the water gets colder many fishers think that the crappie is just out of season and move to another target.  That is all fine and good if you like the other fish options but crappies are certainly a unique slab of meat so finding them throughout the year can be important.  When the waters are cold but on the upswing in temperatures this means it is spawning season and you should start looking for fish in the weedy areas or shallow sandy areas of the water.  This is because crappies lay their eggs on the weeds or shallow nests. 

In the fall and winter look for ledges in the bottom of the lake where the waters are slower and warmer but the upper part of the ledge has vegetation where bait fish hang out.  These area work great when fishing in the fall or ice fishing.  Crappie will move from these slightly warmer waters during dawn and dusk especially to look for food, but some hungrier fish will hunt all day long.  You will have your best luck fishing these ledges use small plastic jigs, small minnows or mealworms. 

Live baits have are a little warmer than the surrounding waters and will tend to attract the fish.  It should be noted that when the waters are cold the crappie, as with most fish, are not looking for a fight in what it eats so stick to slower moving baits but remember that crappie do like a live meal and not a dead worm like a catfish.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow crappie fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on crappie fishing since 2004.

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