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Crappie fishing can be tough in the
winter but crappie caught in the winter months sometimes are the
largest of the year. Crappie relocate into deep water in the winter.
They can be found shallow at times but most of the cold water season
crappie will congregate in deep water around and within thick cover
Crappie are less active during the
winter but once located crappie can be enticed to bite. 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.
In the summer a situation called turnover occurs 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
With even levels of oxygen throughout
the water column, in the winter, crappie tend to pile up on notable
cover and structure. These spots can be found with good electronics
and unlike wandering schools of crappie during the summer these spots
are stationary and once located will produce wintertime crappie every
year. It should be noted that not all cover or structure is created
equal and areas where crappie congregate in the winter must be
located for success.
You should start by searching creek
channels leading to larger river channels or just 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.
A trolling motor
transducer will help you in locating these areas in deeper water.
Sitting in the bow of your boat with your spider rig rod holders and a
spread of rods you can ease around cover and visible structure with
ease. Once these spots are located on the screen you can stay over that
spot keeping the cover or fish on the fish finder 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. BINGO? You can now focus your efforts in
these areas to increase your catch rate and head home with a limit
before you freeze to death.
NOTE: Check out the videos below to learn about sonar and fishing for wintertime crappie.