ADVERTISEMENT / ADVERTISE WITH US. Generally, spawning activity will begin earlier in the south (February-March) and later in … To find the thermocline, Lower a temperature gauge probe down until you record a significant drop in temperature. When the water temperature is 50 to 56 degrees, most crappies will be found staging on flats ranging from 6 to 15 feet deep. The right cover and a good presentation can produce great action. Finding deep water crappie requires good electronics. The best reason to fish for crappie in February? Crappie may spawn as early as mid-March. Fish will be scattered with some in … Since there are a variety of depths on a point, this time of year, I’ll start a little deeper, where the current will be lightest. In spring when crappie are spawning in the shallows, anyone can cast a minnow and bobber toward the bank and catch a ton of fish. Doing so can help you locate that ideal depth for crappie fishing. Sun and warm temperatures for a couple of days can warm shallow areas. Depending on the location and characteristics of the body of water, this can happen during a wide range of months. “Not all fish go into spawn at the same time,” says Capps. Conversely, Kentucky Lake has a percentage of crappies in very deep water along channel ledges. 65- 75 DEGREES. Terms of Service In shallow, dishpan lakes (<25 ft) you’ll want to aim closer to one foot. It’s like you deer hunting in an open field, compared to being in a tree. Pope likes to locate big schools of crappie when the water temperature reaches around 48 or 49 degrees; it's then, he says, that they'll school up by size under baitfish in open water with no structure. It’s wrong and rude. As the water temperature becomes colder, the crappie in these deep, clear lakes usually will move down to the 40- or 50-foot-deep water or even hold so tight to … As mentioned above there is a lull in the migration after the spawn has occurred. Casting can be productive and fun, but a fisherman must control the bait depth, speed and have a good “feel” of the bait to detect bottom, cover and bites. Where Do We Draw the Line on New Hunting Technology? As spring water temperatures rise, crappies shift location from the mouths of bays, to cover on flats, to the shallows. FAQs Lucky Portable Fish Finder FFC1108-1 – Best Affordable Fish Finder. Also, these fish are deep enough that they are not spooky. When the water temperature reaches the upper 50s, crappie will begin to move towards suitable spawning grounds in shallow water. Hyperlinking Policy. Crappie will normally build their nests from 2-19 feet deep. You want to know what the temperature is at around 10 feet deep. However, unlike walleye and pike, who spawn with temperatures in the 40’s (in F), crappies don’t spawn until temperatures are nearing (and many times well into) the 60’s. A bottom depth that allows cover to rise up into the 15- to 20-foot zone is perfect. They'll hold at this depth all winter, until pre-spawn comes around again. Over very deep basins or river channels, look for crappies to suspend, often relating to the 25-35 ft … they are often found in the thermocline (a depth at which water temperature changes rapidly), where the water is cooler but still contains dissolved oxygen. Many products featured on this site were editorially chosen. THE CRAPPIE SPAWN WHEN CRAPPIE SPAWN. A fisherman’s favorite depth zone to fish will play a role, too. Rain can be brutal for a fisherman on a cold day. The water is still cold, but occasional warm spells, mixed with longer daylight hours, can cause baitfish, and therefore crappies, to start moving up in depth. Cold fronts are common in late winter and early spring. The spawn generally occurs when water temperatures reach 55F. A Bonnier Corporation Company. A lake’s water temperature, water clarity and overall depth are important. While extremely high-dollar models have advantages, a weekend fisherman with a basic sonar and GPS mapping can effectively find and catch crappies. The shad hatch during the summer causes crappie to feed on small bait but when fall arrives the shad have grown bigger… Where’s All the Damn Ammo? These tips will help you plan your attack before the spawn arrives. As the temps go above the 65 degree mark you can safely search deeper water for those big females that migrated out to deep water. This will depend largely on the species and the clarity of the water. Most crappie anglers regard springtime as the most productivetime of year to catch crappie, but Davis admits that he prefers the wintermonths for sheer productivity. The depth at which crappie spawn depends on water clarity. Bear in mind that surface temperature is usually several degrees warmer. Podcast Fishermen’s opinions vary on the ideal depth for crappie fishing. Crappie may spawn as early as mid-March in the southern part of the state and as late as the end of May in northern Missouri. Advertising That line tells you the depth where deep water crappie might be holding and feeding most actively. Winter fishing can unnerve the most determined crappie angler. In stained or muddy water, they may spawn as … A fisherman’s favorite depth zone to fish will play a role, too. "Whenever anglers start catching fish shallow they often think the … “Fish can be caught this time of year at 30 feet. 60-70 degrees. Using these two factors, it should be possible to find an average depth to start from. Most of the fishermen said they are lucky to catch four or five fish bass for a day’s efforts. The spawn, like with most species, correlates heavily with water temperatures. Finding the ideal depth for catching these fish is determined primarily by the zone of the crappies, but is also influenced by baitfish depth, overall bottom depth and depth of cover. A guide once told me, “I don’t’ go in on someone who is catching fish, and I don’t expect others to crowd me. His setup for fishing 13 to 14 foot water was running double jig rigs with some being 1/16 on top and 1/32 on bottom. Currently, due to the water temperature, crappie are located on brush piles from 10 feet of water to 30 feet. White crappies like a little warmer water, so they will be behind the blacks. Here’s how a couple of veteran guides and a tournament angler follow the big-slab bite. Copyright © 2021 Outdoor Life. I let the fish show me the ideal depth, but if I could choose, it would be 10 feet.”, 0 CommentsExcellent June Crappie Fishing on Lake of Egypt. Brink varies his jigs based upon the depth and type water. Later in the season, as water temperatures fall through the 50s into the 40s, crappies will continue their annual march toward the basin, collecting in large schools in water that is often 30 feet deep or more. These experts pitched in to help me create this simple but useful cheat sheet that spells out where crappies will be and what you need to do to catch them in 5-degree water temperature increments year-round. Once things start cooling off, and the water temperature drops to the low 60s, crappie will migrate to the 15-20 foot depth range, suspending over structure. The depth at which crappie spawn depends on water clarity. Casting from an anchored boat is best for bait control and to repeat casts to a specific spot. Life cycle Crappie spawning activity peaks in May and June when water temperatures are between 61 and 68 degrees, though spawning may continue into July. “Water temperatures can get too cold to catch bass, but one thing about crappie: they don’t mind the cold. After the fall turnover, water is generally warmer and more stable in deeper water. On the southern edges of the Midwest Region, lakes with soft water offer great winter opportunities. Cover is good. Tim Huffman specializes in crappie fishing, is editor for two crappie magazines, as well as writing for several others. Baitfish are critical. If that doesn’t work, he should be prepared to fish at whatever depth necessary to catch fish. Crappies may change location if there is no light penetration, but a rain usually doesn’t bother them. Crappie fishermen have great help with today’s electronics. The thermocline depth varies with lake conditions and surface temperature. Crappie spawn when the water temperature reaches 56-60 degrees. In deeper lakes (>25 ft) you’ll want to aim closer to … Some good depth-finders can also indicate the thermocline depth. The key to finding them? Fishing pressure increases every year, especially in good areas of a lake. “Black crappies will spawn at lower temperatures, so they are the first to spawn. Federal Premium’s President Has Some Answers. Slow presentations at these depths are often best, because baits can be pinpointed on cover and held there to entice slow-bite crappie. A favorite cold-water depth for catching crappies in very late winter might be 2 feet, or the 18- to 25-foot zone. Mitch Harrison explains how to catch crappie in deep water. The key is to learn how to properly use a unit to get the most from it. Why do crappie move deeper in the winter? 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State Guide A fisherman with a favorite depth zone should first try to find crappies at that level. Later in the fall, most lakes will have constant temperature and oxygen levels throughout. The spawn generally occurs when water temperatures reach 55F. Catching slab crappies may be a challenge during some parts of the year but not in spring, when rising water temperatures put them in specific locations. Calendar, Privacy Policy This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Outdoor Life may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site. Others were heavier to run deeper with a 1/8 on top and 1/32 on bottom. You can cover 70-80 feet on each side of the boat, find a depth range of 18-25 feet and set your boat right on top of that spot, and check the imaging for fish. But with nearly any good depth finder you can detect that thermocline simply by turning the sensitivity very high. As the water temperature drops, the depth of brush the crappie use will change. “Water temperatures are very important in the fall,” says Mason, NW Tennessee Tourism Director and founder of Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame. Contact Us, Magazine About Us Crappie will look for a depth that has a PH factor they find agreeable. This means that crappie will no longer be confined to the thermocline and will venture out into new territories. In fall, the crappie will move back in along structure into 10′-15’ feet of water and start feeding to build weight for winter. Much like the migration into the shallows crappie will use the same route to migrate out. * Save $24.95 off the 10-issue newsstand rate, My Account His first article appeared in MidWest Outdoors in 1988. The bass action slowed quite a bit this week on Clear Lake. You can be among the first to get the latest info on where to go, what to use and how to use it! Crappie like these favorable conditions and will often be found hovering near the bottom. That is the depth of the thermocline, and will be consistent over the entire lake. Our first example used 18 to 25 feet as an ideal depth range. In 2018, he published his sixth book, Limiting Out for Crappie, available at Amazon. Moody and Harold Morgan, and picked their brains about how crappie locations and fishing patterns vary with changing water temperatures. The water is still cold, but occasional warm spells, mixed with longer daylight hours, can cause baitfish, and therefore crappies, to start moving up in depth. A favorite cold-water depth for catching crappies in very late winter might be 2 feet, or the 18- to 25-foot zone. So, my ideal depth is 10 to 15, my buddy’s ideal depth is around 50, with most fishermen finding 15 to 25 feet being good for late-winter fish.”. Wind can be a friend or enemy. In September, crappie begin migrating away from main-lake points into the main tributaries like Illinois Bayou, Big Piney Creek and Mud Creek. The Lucky Portable Fish Finder … Sonar provides a visual of what is under the water including depths, cover and fish. He says, “One structure I like to target is a point with a little current on it, especially if it’s in a river system or upper area of a lake. Reelfoot Lake doesn’t have the water depth for catching crappies at 30 feet, but 16 to 18 feet is popular. Species, correlates heavily with water temperatures reach 55F water crappie might be holding and most! Are important, or the 18- to 25-foot zone can also indicate the thermocline depth especially in good areas a... Spawn as … crappie spawn depends on water clarity good depth-finders can also indicate the depth... 15- to 20-foot zone is perfect up into the shallows until you record significant... 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