This is the time of year that crappie are feeding well and in shallow water. This makes them easier to catch and to find than when they are in deeper water. Look for shallow water areas and spots close to the bank that have deeper water close by and look for some type of wood cover.
This wood cover can take several different forms, such as bushes or trees in the water, standing flooded timber, stumps. stickups, willow bushes and man made cover such as old Christmas trees. All this cover can and will hold fall crappie at times. On lakes that do not have a lot of wood cover, crappie will use weeds or rocks to hold around.
The same fishing patterns that catch crappie off wood in the fall can be used with any other cover simply by adjusting the depth of your bait to match the crappie location on the deeper or shallower cover. The patterns and fishing for crappie in the fall are fairly simple and are not hard to fish.
Most crappie anglers start with a small minnow on a small hook and light line fished on a light action spinning or spin cast rod and reel. Once you have decided where you want to fish, watch your fish finder and see if it shows schools of fish in the area and if they are holding close to the cover. Once you locate the active crappie, fish in these areas. Start by looking at the depth finder to see how deep the crappie are holding and fish slightly above the crappie with your bait.
Crappie have their eyes located toward the front and top of their head and will look up to feed. So if the depth finder shows crappie holding at nine feet, fish your bait around eight feet or so. Drop your minnow or bait in this area and watch for any line movement. Most strikes will occur as the line drops, so watch your line closely. If you see no line movement then slowly move your rod tip up and down in a slow pumping movement.
Fish these types of areas until you feel the fish are no longer active and then move to a new spot. You can also fish for crappie with baits such as small tube baits and curly tail grubs just like you did the live minnow. The crappie action will last way up into the winter and even all winter long on some lakes. Get out and have some fun on the water this fall.
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