The basic summer fishing patterns bass and crappie will not change much for a few weeks. The return of hot temperatures has moved crappie from very shallow warm water to cooler deeper water for now.
On some lakes, deeper water may only be a change of a few feet change, but those few feet can make all the difference to crappie, which always prefer cooler water. This is one reason crappie can be fished for even in the winter months.
As for baits for summer crappie, a small live minnow is best to start with to find feeding crappie, the best depth to catch them and to see how aggressive their bite is. If you are doing well with the minnow you can switch to a small tube bait or curly tail grub.
Crappie can be very “color picky,” and you may have to change bait colors during a trip to keep the bite going. You cannot go wrong by trying shad- or minnowcolored baits in silver, white or smoke. If that does not work too well then try brighter-colored baits such as chartreuse with a black head. This is one of the best color patterns that I have ever used for crappie year round.
Look for crappie in areas with some deeper cover — most of the time more than six feet deep — and slow fish your bait around the outer edges of the cover for active crappie. Most of the active ones will hold around the outer edges of the cover.
If you do not do have success doing what I just wrote about, then move into the heavier cover and slowly work the bait up and down for crappie holding tight to the cover.
Doing this will give you the best chance to find a good place to start fishing.