A lot of anglers are night fishing this time of year for good reason. One reason is to beat the heat of daytime and all the action on the lake. At nighttime the water is calmer and much quieter and the fish will move back to more shallow cover and along the bank areas.
One of the most fished for species at night in the summer is crappie. After dark, crappie will school on key areas with some type of cover. On most of our area lakes the main type of cover for crappie is wood, which can take many forms in the water — anything from standing flooded timber, fallen trees with branches still intact, stumps, willow trees growing in the water, even manmade fish attractors such as old Christmas trees.
When you get down around the Tennessee lakes, wood is not as common so you need to look for things such as depth changes where a shallow flat drops off into a deeper channel. Look also for a pile of rocks or a rocky ridge known as a spine by some anglers. Crappie will relate to these areas just like the ones around wood do.
Simply put, crappie are fish that like to school in areas with some type of cover to hold on and watch for food like small shad minnows. Taking the time to find these areas and fish them at night with the right bait and the right depth can pay off big.