Top 10 Tips for Fall Crappie Fishing

November 8, 2016

Top 10 Tips for Fall Crappie Fishing

Fall is here, and is widely considered the best season for sportsmen across the country! This time of year is most popular for catching salmon and steelhead, or those big “paper-mouths” while they feed up for winter. One of my favorite things to do in the fall is chase crappies. During the fall season crappies become very active, just like in the spring. Why, you might ask? Cooling water temperatures cause more activity in crappie, but it also means they can be more difficult to catch. Here are 10 tips to putting more crappies in your freezer this fall:

  1. Go light. Even though crappies feed more actively during the fall, using light line like DAM Tectan Superior Monofilament Line and light jigs like the Northland Firefly Jigs oz should put more fish in the cooler.
  2. Fish slow. This will tie in with using light baits once the water gets cold the crappies start to feed. However, they don’t want to chase their prey as much. Make sure to slow down your jigging and try to pause more frequently.
  3. Make sure to be the first guy to the spot and the last guy to leave. Many times I have fished for fall crappie and have had a stacked bucket before the next guy shows up. The first hour of light, along with the hour before and the hour after sunset, are crucial hours for producing crappies.
  4. Use a sensitive float. This may be the most important of all of these tips, but make sure to use a float that matches your bait properly. I carry a large variety of Rocket Bobbers and Thill Floats that will stand up from a crappie practically breathing on them. You will want to carry a large variety and add weight as needed, to get the sensitivity just right.
  5. Try shallow water. When first searching for fall crappie, anglers typically look at or on the edges of where we find crappies spawning in the spring. Sometimes these fish are in water as shallow as two-three feet deep and missed by passing anglers. Most of the time, the crappies will move in during the early morning or late evening and swim out to the edges during the middle of the day.
  6. Capitalize on warmer days. This is a well-known rule of thumb, but during the cold fall months, any warm weather opportunity is crucial to capitalize on fish. When it warms up they become more active and feed more heavily.
  7. Don’t be afraid to use live bait. The trend of the last decade is using soft plastics for crappies and panfish. Going back to using minnows and bait may be difficult, but this will help produce more fish. Tipping a jig with a maggot will also help.
  8. Try using larvae imitation with fishing is slow. Crappies school up and chase baitfish throughout the fall. However, when baitfish are not present, insects and larvae are their main menu. Try using mayfly and different larvae imitations to produce more fish.
  9. Use multiple jigs at once. Tying several jigs on your line at once sounds crazy to many anglers, however two is greater than one and adding a smaller jig a foot above a larger jig can produce a lot of fish.
  10. Move. Even though you caught fish in a great spot yesterday, it doesn’t mean you will have the same luck today. If you show up and they are not biting, there’s a good chance the fish moved. Many anglers either choose to wait it out or do not have the ambition to move, but this is the best chance to find fish.

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