This winter has been very mild so far. This makes for some changes in the winter patterns for crappie fishing.
Normally at this time of year, the water temperatures should be in the 40’s and the air below freezing. However, the water temps are in the low 50-degree range and the air temps have been close to 60 on many days. This is nice weather, but it changes the standard winter feeding and movement patterns of crappie. The end result is in favor of the fisherman because the crappie will be more active in the milder weather.
When fishing for crappie, look for areas close to the bank that have some type of wood cover such as flooded timber, stumps, brush piles, or even man made cover like old Christmas trees. All these will hold active feeding crappie. A few things make these places more attractive to a crappie and a better spot to fish. The first thing is having some form of deeper water close by and some type of a drop off into deeper water. If there is some type of a vertical drop it is even better. The reason for this is it allows the crappie to move from deeper to shallow water on the same cover.
Other factors that will affect the movement of crappie are water temps, cold fronts, fishing pressure, and the moving of baitfish schools. Fish for crappie with small minnows and small tube baits and grubs on light line and light weight tackle. Fish close to and around the wood cover for the best action. The bite may be slow and it may be a while between bites, but most of the crappie you catch now will be good sized.
Try to get out on the lake during this nice weather and do some crappie fishing. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.