Summer Crappie Fishing Tips -Simple But Effective

As you all know by now, I don’t own a boat. But that does not stop me from going out there and catching my fair share of crappie. There is a lot of information on summer crappie fishing tips from a boat owner’s perspective, but not a lot for us bank fishermen/women. So here it goes!


WHERE ARE THE CRAPPIE?

 

The spring spawn is the most fun season for bank fishermen/women. The crappies are abundant and in shallow water. We can catch them in just a few feet of water and sometimes just a few feet from where we are standing.Crappie Catch

 

Summer is a bit tougher. But if you know where to fish, you can still fill up your cooler with tasty crappie. With the high temperature, they tend to retreat to deeper parts of the lakes. They are searching for cooler waters.

 

The problem is that there is not quite as much oxygen or food that deep in the lake. I am no scientist so bare with me as I try to explain this. There is a specific depth in the lake where the warmer water and the colder water meet. This is called the Thermocline. The crappie like to hang out just below the thermocline where it is cool, but close enough to the warmer and more oxygenated water. When they need to, they swim up a bit, past the thermocline and then go back down. They tend to suspend right in that area when it is super hot.


THE LIVE BAIT METHOD

 

When using minnows I will rig up my pole the traditional way. A minnow on an Aberdeen hook with a split-shot sinker 6 to 10 inches above it. When fishing from a barge or a dock, I drop the minnow as close to brush or pilings as I can.

 

Close-up of a CrappieI drop it to the bottom and reel up 3 or 4 cranks. After a few minutes I will reel up 1 foot at a time until I find the sweet spot (meaning I get a bite). If I don’t get any bites after 10 minutes or so I will move to a different spot and start over.

 

I start at the bottom and reel up until I get a bite. Once I get the first bite, I know the depth that they are at. I can usually catch a few once I have the depth dialed in.

 

As summer crappie fishing tips go, this one is simple but very seldom used. Anglers get impatient and don’t spend the time dialing in the right depth. Believe me it pays to be methodical and patient!


THE JIGGING METHOD

 

If I am jigging, I will use a 1/16 oz jig head with my favorite chartreuse and black shad tail and cast it out about 15 feet in front of me. I let it drop towards me, slowly sometimes jerking the line slightly. This seems to work best during early morning, right after the sun has come up.

 

Just like the other summer crappie fishing tip, this one requires patience. If you have not gotten any bites after 5 or 10 casts, change the color of the lure. If after a few color changes you still have no luck, move to another location on the barge or dock.


GOOD OLD BOBBER METHOD

 

You will find my setup with a bobber pretty similar to the one described above. A bobber stopper, bobber, split shot and a minnow on an Aberdeen hook. First, I always find a spot that has a steep drop off very close to the bank. There are not many of these spots around here but I have found a few. This way I don’t need to cast far to get decent deep water.

 

The key here is the same and that is to find the depth where the crappie are at. Set the stopper several feet above the hook. If you can get it the bottom (the bobber will lay on its side) then you can start working your way up. Shorten the line a foot or so every time. Once you find the right depth you will have it locked in.

 

You can use a bobber with a soft lure as well. Use the appropriate jig head and soft lure of your choice. Many of my friends have found great success with jigging with a bobber but unfortunately I have not. I use a bobber exclusively with minnows.


PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

 

I have shared a few methods that have worked well for me in the hot summer months. There are a few other tidbits that I have picked up over the years. First, it gets super hot here in North Texas (no surprise there) and I find that the crappies are most active between 6:30 AM and 9:30AM. The bites dramatically drop off after 9:30-10:00 AM. That is fine with me as this is when it starts to get real hot outside. I usually go out fishing at around 5:00 AM and come back home at around 10:30 AM.

 

These times can be problematic as many parks and barges are closed early in the mornings. Fortunately, I have found several places where I am able to fish that early. I just need to make sure that I bring light because it is usually pitch black that early in the morning.

 

I also find crappie to get more aggressive at sundown. If I go fishing late in the day I usually go at around 1800 and stay until 01:00AM or 01:30 AM. The only draw back is that it can be a bit crowded earlier in the afternoon. The good news is that most everyone clears out by 9:00 PM. Oh Yeah, it is also still pretty hot out in the evenings too!

 

Crappie Stringer

The second thing I learned is that crappie feed up. What that means is that crappie attack their prey by swimming up to it. This is why all the methods mentioned above have you slowly raising the bait. We are trying to find the exact depth that presents the crappie with prey just above them. You can have a hundred crappie in the water, but if the bait is below them, they

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed these summer crappie fishing tips. Please leave me comments with your thoughts and experiences. I will gladly add them to the site for the benefit of us all!

 

Good Luck,

Mike

 

14 thoughts on “Summer Crappie Fishing Tips -Simple But Effective”

  1. Oh, I see that crappie fish are fond of cold water and when you put the bait, it should be bitten in 10 minute time which is interesting to know. You seem to be a good catcher of crappie.
    I am equally thrilled by the explanation you are showing here and wonder how much the fishermen would be delighted to read your article.

    Thanks for sharing this good read.
    Wishing you all the best

  2. Hi Mike,

    Loved how you explained everything step by step! Didn’t know that crappie “Feed up”. For me fishing is only fun on my good days haha, otherwise i’m too impatience and i mess up the techniques to catch a fish.

    So cheers for the good information and i will try this for sure on my good days!

    • Ealco,
      Thanks for your comment! Very few people know that crappie feed up. This results in poor presentation of bait and catching less crappie. Glad you liked it.
      Mike

  3. These are great tips. I think I’m more interested in tips on picking up a fisherman than actually fishing myself. LOL! I just want to eat fresh fish without the work.

  4. I have never heard of this fish (it’s a real memorable name), so I guess it must be American. Fishing is a really great activity though, so it’s fascinating to find out about different techniques in different places. Cool stuff.

    • Hi Tony! It is a funny name. As I understand it, it comes from french (le crappe). Many folks in the south call them sac-a-lait, which is also french. The most common names are crappie and papermouth. I am glad you enjoyed the post.

  5. I haven’t fished in a long time and I’m now retired. It sure brings back memories. You sure do know a lot about crappie fishing and fishing in general. I honestly never heard of crappie fish before. When I used to fish it was always the live bait method or bobber method. And thanks for the tip about going early in the morning. I always went fishing at that time anyway. Have to get up before the fish do, right? 🙂

    • Hi Rob! Thanks so much for your kind words. Crappies are some of the most fun fish to catch, and they taste amazing too! I can’t wait to retire as well so I can wet a hook and drown minnows every single day 🙂

  6. Mike,
    Your article title caught my attention (no pun intended). When my wife and I visit my sisters in Michigan, we always fish at Wixom Lake where there are lots of bluegills and crappies. When we first started fishing there, I learned by doing – we had our best success catching crappies in the late afternoon and even moreso once the sun set. We used grubs on jig hooks, dropped them to the bottom, then slowly reeled up. Often times we’d have a hit while the bait was on the way down. They’re fun to catch. We’re going in September and will fish Wixom Lake as usual, but will also go out on the bay for prime-time perch and walleye fishing.

    Thanks for the article. I enjoyed reading it and learned a few new tips I’ll be using in September.

    • Hello Rick,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I am glad you found some value to my article. I hope to one day fish in Michigan. I heard it is awesome. Good luck in September.
      Mike

  7. I have learned a lot a lot from this read. Moreover, I have always wanted to fish after doing so a few times with my friends. On one occasion I cast my line out into the water and the whole rod came out of my hand. My friends will never let me live that one down. However, with the advice that I can take from this article I can talk the talk and walk the walk.

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