Editor’s Note: During the prespawn and postspawn periods, crappie school-up in the mouths of creeks in open water for no apparent reason. By motoring a boat to the mouths of the creeks, anglers may find crappie holding in depths from 5-20 feet in open water. But the reason these fish are ganged-up in the mouths of the creeks is to wait for suitable water temperatures to either go to the banks to spawn or to leave the shallow water of the creeks and head for the deep water along the river channels.
One of the frustrating problems associated with trying to catch these crappie is that these open-water fish are roamers. They frequently will be swimming in the open water and may not stop so that an angler can fish vertically for them. Trolling small crappie jigs is often the best tactic for catching crappie from these free-roaming schools. Also, the angler who knows how to use his electric trolling motor often can fan-cast jigs and remain reasonably close to the schools, as they move. And, the minnow fisherman who fishes vertically can move his boat with the schools to keep his bait in the fish’s strike zone. However, trolling is often the most-productive technique for catching these open-water schools of crappie during the prespawn and postspawn times of the year.
Deep-water crappie are the most-dependable and consistent fish in a lake for an angler, since there always are some crappie holding in deep water – no matter what the time of year. The crappie in deep water are somewhat less affected by water and weather changes than shallow-water crappie. When an angler finds deep-water crappie, more than likely he can take more fish or possibly even fill his limit quickly. Because these crappie are often more difficult to locate than shallow-water fish, generally fewer people will be fishing for them. And, to be a successful deep-water crappie fisherman, the angler must be able to read and understand a depth finder. Why do I fish for deep-water crappie? Because I take more and bigger fish, and I can find a mess of crappie to fry at any time of the year.
To learn more about fishing for crappie, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Crappie – How to Catch Them Spring and Summer,” available in Kindle and print versions at http://amzn.to/WGaJLT and Audible at Click here for the Audible link.