John's Journal...

How to Find Crappie that Aren’t on the Banks

Day 5: How to Catch Crappie in the Mouths of Creeks

Editor’s Note: During the spring when the weather and the water heat-up, the crappie move into the shallows near the bank to spawn. But oftentimes a late winter cold front can drive the crappie from the banks to open water. Also in many sections of the U.S., the water’s still cold or cool in mid-March to the end of March. As I investigated how to find deep-water crappie not on the banks in the spring and at other times of the year, I learned that the most-consistent place to catch crappie at any time of the year is away from the bank.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewDuring the prespawn and the postspawn, crappie school-up in the mouths of creeks in open water for no apparent reason. By motoring a boat in the mouths of the creeks, anglers may see crappie holding in depths from 5 to 20 feet in open water. These crappie are ganged-up in the mouths of the creeks to wait for the right water temperature to either go to the banks to spawn or to leave the shallow water of the creeks and head for the deep water along the river channels. One of the frustrating problems associated with trying to catch these crappie is that these open-water crappie are roamers. Because they’re relating to structure, these crappie will be swimming in the open water and may not stop, so that an angler can fish vertically for them. Trolling small crappie jigs is often the best tactic for catching crappie from these free-roaming schools. Also, the angler who knows how to use his trolling motor often can fan-cast jigs and remain reasonably close to the schools as they move. The minnow fisherman who fishes vertically can move his boat with the schools to keep his bait in the crappie’s strike zone. However, trolling does seem to be the most-productive technique for catching these open-water schools of crappie during the prespawn and the postspawn times of the year.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewDeep-water crappie are the most-dependable and consistent fish in a lake for an angler, since there always are some crappie holding in deep water - no matter what the time of year. The crappie in deep water are less affected by water and weather changes than the shallow-water crappie. When an angler finds deep-water crappie, more than likely he can take more crappie or fill his limit quickly. Because these crappie often are more difficult to locate than shallow-water crappie, generally fewer people will be fishing for them. To be a successful deep-water crappie fisherman, the angler must be able to read and understand a depth finder. If the fisherman does, he consistently can take crappie, regardless of the time of year, in deep water. I fish for deep-water crappie, because I take more and bigger crappie, and I can find a mess of crappie to fry at any time of the year.

To learn much more about crappie fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and some print books, "Crappie: How to Catch Them Fall & Winter,”, "Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer” and "Catch Cold Water Crappie Now” by clicking on each, or go to ", type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Check back each day this week for more about How to Produce a Grand Nite Champion Coon Dog"

Day 1: Some of the Most Effective Crappie Attractors
Day 2: Fish Bridges and Standing Timber to Catch Crappie
Day 3: Fish Underwater Roads to More Crappie at Any Time of Year
Day 4: When Crappie Are at Their Deepest Use a Bass Technique to Catch Them
Day 5: How to Catch Crappie in the Mouths of Creeks

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Entry 813, Day 5