Dan, how can I locate where crappie are on a lake without having a depth finder.

Dan, how can I locate where crappie are on a lake without having a depth finder.

It honestly is much easier to locate schooling crappie when you have sonar or a depth finder, but not all of us have one, and you really can find them without, it just takes a little knowledge and some good, old fashioned trial and error. When it comes to catching fish, nothing works as well as doing your homework, and getting out there and finding out what works best for you in the areas in which you will be fishing. Seasons effect the way a crappie can be caught and where they can be caught, but as long as you understand the basics of how they operate, and are willing to put in the time and effort, you can catch then without any type of depth finder. Crappie are schooling fish. They live with their family, and mostly stay in open water. They come in to the brush and grass to feed. They follow baitfish so they can feed. If you can locate schooling baitfish, you can find crappie, so your first course of action should be to find the baitfish. When crappie like open water most is in the summer. During the summer, in the open water, if the water is stained look for them at about 7 to 15 feet deep. In normal conditions with a standard amount of algae, the crappie seem to hold at about 12 to 20 feet deep. In clear water, go as deep as 50 feet to find the schooling crappie. If there is flow in the water, look for the main channels. In lakes or areas where there is little flow, they will school in areas where there is structure nearby. Basically, this happens because they like to lie in wait for prey and ambush a meal on its way by. Since you know what conditions will cause crappie to hold at different areas and depths, just drift a live minnow with a small #2 hook and add a split shot about 10 inches up from that. I hope this helps!


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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