For a lot of fishermen, it is hard to think about getting out during the coldest time of winter and going crappie fishing. But for the ones willing to bundle up and get out on the lake, there is some good crappie fishing to be found.
Crappie are not as affected by cold water and weather as some fish are. They will move around and feed all winter in most lakes, and will follow the bait fish schools into cover and into open water areas.
Crappie will hold on cover in winter that will allow them to move up and down in a vertical movement. This lets them change depths and seek out food, cover and warmer, deeper water.
Look for areas like this to start your winter crappie fishing. Examples of this type of cover include cliff and bluff lines, steep rocky banks, around bridge pilings, deep weed line edges, any type of wood cover and around boat docks. Any of this cover can hold nice size crappie.
When fishing for crappie in winter, fish slow and watch your line for any type of twitch or a pull. If you see or feel anything like this slowly snap your rod back to set the hook. Most of the time the bite will be very soft and light.
Use a light action casting or spinning reel spooled with 4- to 6-pound test clear line. A light action rod with a long limber tip will work well. Most wintertime crappie anglers use minnows as bait. This is a top choice for crappie year round and is a great choice to catch winter crappie. Small crappie jigs work well, and curly tail grubs and tube baits work well at times.
Find the area you want to fish and watch your fish finder for schools of bait fish or for suspended fish holding on deeper cover. Drop your bait down to where the fish are holding and try to keep your bait a few feet above the fish. Crappie have eyes on the top part of their head and will look upward to feed. Keeping your bait above the crappie will increase your chance of catching a feeding crappie and keep your bait in the strike zone longer.
Crappie caught in colder water have a better taste than ones caught in the summertime.
If you need to get rid of some cabin fever, give wintertime crappie fishing a try.
You can email me at gabbyfishingfever@ yahoo.com.