Crappie Hide and Seek

I had a pretty good fishing spot for Crappie but suddenly all I’m catching are Bass. Do Bass drive the Crappie away from an area?

     While it is possible that bass could drive off crappie, it is unlikely, since the two species have different preferences and habits. Largemouth Bass are predators and would eat any crappie small enough to be considered food, but Bass are mostly stationary and solitary ‘ambush’-type predators, preferring to lie in cover and wait for prey to come in range.            

     Crappie, on the other hand, are gregarious school fish that migrate several times a year, at least in reservoirs and impoundments.  Crappie prefer deeper water with cover, except for the pre-spawn, and spawning seasons. They are frequently on the move, following schools of baitfish, except in very cold water, and when spawning.

     The biggest key to crappie movement is water temperature. When the water is 50-60 degrees, crappie move in to the shallows in preparation for spawning, usually off of creek channels and shallow bays with weeds, timber and other cover. When the water approaches the 70 degree mark, crappie will migrate to deeper water,  near cover, such as weed beds. They will move into the shallows at night to feed on baitfish, then move back out during the day. Their movements are somewhat predictable if you find their route. When the water is over 75 degrees, crappie will move to the deepest part of the lake, as deep as 70′, near cover, along drop-offs and river channels.

     My guess is that the crappie have moved off and the bass just came in to take up the slack. If you will seek out the nearest drop-off with cover, from where you were catching them, I believe it’s a good bet that you will find them again.

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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