Crappie anglers look forward to two seasons each year — spring, when the lakes rise and the crappie move shallow to feed and spawn, and fall when the crappie move back to shallow water areas after the water temperatures have cooled down.
Most of the lakes have been dropped to winter pool and are stable and clear with a surface temperature of around 65 degrees. These are ideal fishing conditions for fall crappie. If you can find some type of wood or weed or rock cover close to the shallow water areas, this makes a spot even better. The crappie will remain shallow during most of the winter. They are not affected by the cold as much as fish like the largemouth bass. This makes them perfect to fish for all winter.
I have caught big slab keepersize crappie in less than six feet of water in the winter when the air was way below freezing. This makes it kind of easy to set up a fall fishing pattern. The biggest things to consider are location, bait and presentation. First is location. The crappie will move to shallow water areas, but this could be close to a bank in deeper water holding onto vertical cover like standing timber or cliffs or bluff lines. This is one of my favorite types of places to fish in the fall and early winter for crappie. By holding over deeper water and moving up and down on the cover, crappie can change water depths quickly when needed. I think these type of areas hold bigger and more dependable cool water fish than a shallow flat area.
As for bait I like to keep it simple and start with a minnow. I will fish several at different depths to find the most active depth and target that area. If the bite is slow I will stay with a minnow. But if the action is good you can switch to a small tube bait or curly tail jig. As for presentation, keep it simple by slowly working the rod tip up and down in a pumping action watching and feeling your line and rod for any sudden movements.
You can email me at email@example.com.