In our how to catch crappie article, we emphasized the importance of location when you are out fishing for this fish. These fish live in schools, and they, therefore, exist in groups. If you can catch one at a particular spot, you are more likely to find much more at that same place. The question is – when is the best time to catch crappie?
Crappie like other fish can be found in shallow waters in the wee hours of the morning and the evening. During the day, they move inwards to deeper waters. The good thing about crappie fishing is, you can catch them at any time of the day as long as you are at the right location, i.e. where they are. You can find them in spring, summer, fall and even winter.
To answer your question on when is the best time to catch crappie, there is no exact time or season for crappie fishing; it is more about being at the right place.
Table of Contents
Best Time To Catch Crappie
Catching crappie in the spring is exciting! Spring is the spawning season for crappie. They usually spawn in shallow waters when the water temperatures are around 55F. Depending on water clarity, crappie spawn at different depths.
They go deeper in clear waters and move close to the surface of the murky water. When the water is clear, you may find them at a depth of even 20 ft. In non-clear water, they may be as close as 1 foot below.
This period is from early March to late May. For more bites, you should use a trolling motor. Move close to the shoreline targeting rocks, vegetation or any woody debris, slowly and quietly.
In the daylight during summer, you need to fish at different depths of water. Crappie moves to vegetation in 15 to about 20 feet of water. Adopt a trial and error technique, by fishing a particular spot for some time, if you have no luck then move to another place.
Vertical jigging works best when fishing around vegetation cover. Use this to get many bites from the crappie. As the months become hot, you should try fishing at night. The lights at night will attract insects and small baitfish which will, in turn, draw the attention of crappie.
Crappie continues to bite despite the temperature of the water. Many anglers are of the opinion that offshore schools of crappie tend to face one direction. It is, therefore, prudent for you to approach them in the right direction.
If you are out fishing for crappie and not getting any bites, try to use different jigs. You could also slow down and use heavier jigs; this may just be what the crappie want.
Check out our tips for summer crappie fishing!
During the fall, crappie become very predictable and aggressive. It is the case in the months of October to November. At this time, you will be able to find crappie in shallow water at levels of up to 10 feet.
The ideal areas to fish at this stage is around the docks. Cast your jig around the edges of the dock and let it sink for a few seconds. You can then start retrieving slowly.
More fall crappie fishing tips!
In winter, crappie are found in deep water (20 to 40 feet deep), well offshore. You need to use slow retrieve to catch them. By slow, I mean very slow. In a string of warm days, crappie tends to move into shallow water.
It could turn to be one of your best times to fish for crappie. They live in large schools during winter, and when you find the right spot, you’ll be in for a kill. They typically congregate near structures.
What is the best time to catch crappie? Crappie is a species of fish that can be found all year round. The key thing to note about crappie fishing is where they are located? They live in schools, if you happen to get a bite from one, then you are likely to get more from the same spot.
You also need to understand what the fish wants as bait. Do you need to use a slow retrieve or will vertical jigging work? In summer and early winter, crappie moves deeper into the water.
For spring and fall, you will be able to catch them in shallow water. During the spawning season, the clarity of the water that they are in determines the location of crappie. In muddy water, they spawn close to the surface, moving deeper as the water clears.