Wintertime Crappie

wintertime crappie

Wintertime Crappie Fishing


Wintertime crappie fishing can be tough, but crappie caught in the winter months can be the biggest of the year. Most crappie will relocate into deep water in the winter. Some wintertime crappie will be found shallow at times, but most wintertime crappie congregate in deep water around and within thick cover or structure.

Let’s tell it like it is, any honest crappie angler will confess that the winter can be tough at times. However, crappie will bite in the winter and oftentimes will really turn on a few hours during the day. In many ways winter crappie are easier to locate than summertime crappie are. The reason is simple. Crappie relate more to cover and/or structure during the winter than during the summer when they prefer to suspend. Turnover is a situation that occurs during the summer and with it a thermocline is created. Crappie follow the baitfish and the oxygen which is inside the thermocline. This causes the crappie to just swim around searching for schools of baitfish making it difficult to locate the crappie. During the winter this thermocline all but disappears.

With even levels of oxygen throughout the water column, in the winter, crappie tend to pile up on notable cover and structure. Good electronics can help you locate these spots and unlike wandering schools of crappie during the summer these spots are stationary. Once these spots are located they can produce wintertime crappie every year. It should be noted that not all cover or structure is created equal. Areas where crappie congregate in the winter must be located for success.

The Search For Wintertime Crappie

Start your search for crappie by searching creek channels leading to larger river channels or into deeper water. The first place to check is creek channels leading from known spawning flats where you caught crappie in the spring. I believe that crappie will school up near these areas in preparation for the spring spawn. These transition areas will usually hold lots of crappie. A great way to locate these crappie is to spider rig the area until you pick up a few crappie. Pre-spawn crappie will begin schooling up earlier than you might think, especially during a mild winter. Don’t be afraid to search shallow during the winter. I’ve been surprised before.

Bow Mounted Fish Finder

A bow mounted fish finder will help you locate wintertime crappie spots in deeper water. Sitting in the bow of your boat with your spider rig system you can maneuver around cover with ease. Once these spots are located on the screen you can stay over them keeping the fish on your sonar while your minnows and/or jigs work the area. Mark every crappie caught and you can soon see where the spots start to pile up on one your GPS. You can now focus your efforts in these areas to increase your catch rate and head home with a limit before you freeze.

This tactic also works for single pole anglers so don’t think you have to spider-rig to catch crappie this way. Oftentimes, it seems as though a well placed jig with just the right jiggle gets more bites. be patient and mark those areas where you catch fish even if there is no cover. There is something that is attracting those fish to that spot and more times than not they will always stop or school up on that spot for whatever reason. The trick to locating and catching scattered open water crappie is to find these areas and believe in them. They will produce over and over.

NOTE:Β Check out the video below to learn about sonar and fishing for wintertime crappie. G3 SPORTSMAN

About Ken McBroom 215 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.

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