Crappies Down Deep

September 9, 2013 by  

by Bob Jensen

Almost anyone who enjoys freshwater fishing enjoys catching crappies.  Crappies are great on the table, they’re abundant in many waters, they are very appealing visually, and best of all, when you get on them they can be willing biters.  In the fall months, if you can find the crappies they will provide lots of action.

Crappies can be kind of a mysterious fish, especially the big ones.  They can be easy to find and catch in the spring when they’re in the shallows spawning, but after the spawn, in many bodies of water they seem to disappear.  They reappear in the fall if you know where to look.  Here’s where to look in some lakes and rivers.

In many lakes, in the fall, you’ll find the crappies in the deeper areas of the lake.  It’s not unusual to find them in water twenty five to thirty feet deep.  And, much of the time, they’ll be in an area that has no structure or unusual features to attract the fish.  They’ll just be out in the basin of the lake within a foot or two of the bottom.  They could be relating to baitfish or bugs, but much of the time they’ll be where they are for no apparent reason other than they’ve got to be somewhere.

Crappie Fishing

In lakes and rivers in the fall, drop a jig on a crappie and you’ll probably get it to bite.

The best way to locate these open water, deep crappies is to cruise an area with a close eye on the depth-finder.  In this case, the depth-finder truly becomes a fish-finder.  Don’t stop to fish until you see what you suspect to be crappies.  They’ll usually be right on the bottom in this situation.  Drop a jig on them:  They’ll usually eat it.

If you fish in rivers that have crappies, look for brush or wood in the deeper shoreline stretches.  Perhaps the best way to locate potential crappie hotspots is simply going along a shoreline looking for the steepest bank.  Steep banks usually indicate deeper water.  Look for brush or trees extending out from the shoreline and lying in the water.  Sometimes the crappies will be on the outer edge of the cover, sometimes they’ll be right in the middle of the cover.  Again, a jig will be a good way to get them to bite.

Whether you’re fishing a river or a lake, if the crappies are aggressive, jig color isn’t that critical.  However, if they’re finicky, selecting the proper color can be the difference between a few fish and quite a few fish.  Color preferences can change from lake to lake and even from morning to afternoon.  However, in the deeper water in the lakes, and the stained water you often find in rivers, a brighter color will often be best.  Last year on the Mississippi River in stained water, an Impulse Water Bug in the bubblegum color rigged on a Weed-Weasel Jig was hard to beat.  Because of the brush-guard on the Weed-Weasel, we could swim it through the heavy brush where the crappies were holding.

“Paper-mouth” is a nickname for crappies because of their very thin and delicate mouth.  Regardless if you’re going to keep or release the ones you catch, the bigger ones should be netted just to protect them.  Frabill’s Conservation Series of nets are perfect for crappies, especially if you’re going to put them back.

In the next few weeks, if you’re on a lake or river that has crappies, try these ideas.  If you do, and there are crappies around, you’re probably going to catch them.

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