With the start of the fall season upon us, now is the perfect time to head out onto the water in search of a few paper mouths. The cooler water temperatures and seasonal turnover will undoubtedly have white and black crappie alike on the move. With that said, before you head out the door you may want to check out my fall fishing tips. Here they are:
Where to Look
In my experience, a water body's stratification stage, dissolved oxygen content, water clarity and water temperature all play a role in where the majority of the crappies will be found. For example, I have found that white crappies are more apt to be found in stained water than black crappies. Black crappies tend to favor clear water. Both, however, prefer structure and oxygen rich waters. Therefore, you'll want to look for them around submerged and emergent vegetation. I have also found that depending on the water's temperature and dissolved oxygen content, crappies will head towards deep water narrows and drop-offs. They are also likely to go deep to escape strong UV rays.
Bait and Tackle
In my opinion, the best way to catch a fall crappie is to think light and bright. In other words, go light on the tackle and select bright colored lures. Of course I tend to fish in stained waters. That's why I use a lot of bright colored lures. I like to use an ultra lightweight rod, tiny hooks, diminutive lures and an 8 pound test line or smaller. Lure colors that have proven successful for me in the past include chartreuse, orange and red. If I am fishing for white crappie in clear waters, I'll use a tinted line, natural colored lures and a clear bobber rig instead. Other excellent choices include live minnows, spider trolling, leadhead jigs and drifting.
Best Fishing Times and Strategies
Depending on the clarity of the water, night fishing may be the best time to catch a fall crappie. After all, the darkening skies help to reduce the chances that the clear water crappie will get spooked by your shadow. If you do decide to go fishing at night, I'd suggest that you seek out structures and minnows. There's a strong chance that wherever you find both, you'll also find crappies. In addition, I'd recommend that you use caution when setting the hook. After all, they don't call them paper mouths for the heck of it.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys fishing with her family. She has also traveled extensively.
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