Whitesburg KY
Mostly clear
Mostly clear

Gabby’s Fishing Fever

Deep-water crappie

In the springtime when crappie come up shallow, they are fairly easy to catch. A lot of people really look forward to this time of year because crappie are aggressive and will hit a bait and you can catch a lot of numbers of crappie.

But as the mild springtime air and water temps give way to the warmer summer weather, there is a big change in crappies feeding and in the depth of water in which crappie will stay.

As the water starts to warm from the high 50s and moves into the 70- and 80-degree range, several things start to happen that affect crappie and a lot of other fish. The bait fish head into the deeper water and they are followed by fish like crappie and bass. Also, the shallow water that had good oxygen levels when it was cooler, now because of the very warm water temps has a very low oxygen content and this stresses the fish and they will not stay in these areas and will move to the deeper cooler water areas. The water has more cooler and better oxygen levels and crappie will hold on these deeper areas till the fall and early winter weather cools the shallows down once more.

A lot of fisherman think when they hear of fish being deep you mean 30 or 40 feet deep. This is not always the case. Deeper can mean going from a fivefoot deep brush pile to moving out to the edge of a point and fishing a 12-foot-deep laydown treetop.

In most cases the best crappie fishing done during this time of year is night fishing. During the day while the lake is active with speedboats and skiers and jet skis, crappie will not feed much but will hold on areas like a channel drop or on a deeper water flat edge or even on cover on the deep side of a main lake point. After the day turns to night and the lake settles down, crappie will start to move in groups into the deeper heavier cover and then scatter into the cover in a little shallower water. This is when the crappie angler needs to be on these areas.

Look for places that have deep water wood or weed or rock cover. This is where a good fish finder is very helpful. Watch for signs of cover on or close to the bottom. On most fish finders a school of crappie holding on a piece of cover will look like several fish in a tight group. When you find a area like this, drop your bait so it will be directly over top of the school. If you see fish on the finder holding at 15 feet then try to keep your bait about 13 or so feet. Crappie will almost always go up to hit a bait instead of down. One reason is that a crappie has its eyes located in the top part of its head so it sees a bait better up then down.

As for baits for crappie, a minnow is a top bait and so is the tubebait, the small colored jigs, and doll flies. Crappie can be very color selective at times so you may have to change colors of your baits during your trip to stay on the fish. You can use a floater or not while you’re crappie fishing. Myself, I prefer to use a floater because it gives me the ability to change the depth of my bait by simply moving the floater up or down the line, and crappie will change depths most of the time during the night. Also, the floater lets me see the lightest of strikes that I would miss with the line straight down. By using the floater, you can get your bait into the heavy cover and back out more easily than if you tried to just pull it out. When you’re fishing at a certain depth and the action slows, the best thing I have found to do is first go a little deeper or shallow or switch baits or colors.

Nighttime crappie fishing is one of my all time favorite ways to fish and if you give these tips a try it will be one of yours too.

If you would like to contact me with a fishing question or any thing fishy, contact me at gabbysfishingfever@yahoo.com.

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