Starting in early spring, crappie spawning season is the best time of the year to catch the delicious panfish, with the fish moving towards shallower waters as they make their nests and spawn eggs. They remain in the shallows where they can find an abundance of food and continue spawning throughout the season, making it the perfect time for crappie fishing.
Most anglers know spring is peak crappie season – but where do the fish go during summer and spring? It’s possible to catch crappie year-round, providing you know about their changing habits throughout the seasons. Let’s take a closer look a where crappie go in the winter and summer:
Where do Crappie Go in Summer?
Let’s first look at where crappie go in the summer months. Early summer is actually part of the spawning season, so at the beginning of the summer crappie are likely to be found in the same shallows they are throughout spring, although often in less volume due to spawning season winding down.
Once mid-summer arrives crappie begin to change their habitat, with many anglers struggling to find them in the same abundance as in the spring months. This is because crappie start migrating towards deeper waters as the summer progresses, typically going in waters that are around 10-30ft feet depending on conditions.
Crappie are still feeding in mid-summer and continue to do so throughout the season, just not in shallow waters. The reason they head to deeper waters is because they are almost finished spawning so don’t need to congregate in the shallows to feed and spawn.
Furthermore, crappie don’t like excessively warm water, so when peak summer arrives, they usually converge into the deeper waters to remain cool. For this reason, crappie are often found hiding under submerged cover during summer – look for crappie hiding under brush, trees and stumps, and possibly boat docks.
Where do Crappie Go in the Winter?
While finding crappie in winter is also more challenging compared to spawning season, those that do are in for a real treat. This is because crappie school together in massive groups during the winter, so anyone that gets a bite are likely to be reeling in plenty of crappie!
So, any anglers bold enough to brave the freezing winter weather could find themselves being greatly rewarded for their troubles – providing they know where to find the crappie!
Crappie take a similar approach to their winter habitat as they do in the summer, looking for cover beneath the water. The reason is just the opposite – they’re here to remain warm rather than keeping cool like in the summer.
So, if you’re looking to reel in some winter crappie be sure to check trees, brush, stumps, and manmade docks. Again, deeper waters are preferred during the winter as they aren’t spawning so don’t need to head to shallower water.
Be thorough when checking for crappie, try various depths and angles to see if anything bites. Should you get a bite, take note of the overall depth and look for crappie in similar depths in the same areas, as they tend to follow similar patterns in each location.