Fall Crappie Fishing Tactics!

It’s that time of year again, one of my favorites. While the weather and water are cooling, the crappie bite is getting hot. During the fall transition, several different techniques can be used to catch crappie. A quick internet search on “Where crappie go in the fall” and you’ll find articles that refer to water depth quite frequently.


However, when searching for crappie during the fall transition, I look for creek channels coming into the main lake or a river channel feeding into the lake. I don’t get too caught up on water depth, but the contour of the lake bottom. During the fall, I have found large schools of crappie on shallow flats as well. Once the water temperature is between 50* to 60* degrees, crappie will also move shallow chasing balls of bait fish.

The big misconception during the fall is that crappie are spawning due to them being caught shallow. After speaking to a fisheries biologist, he informed me that crappie are shallow due to the bait fish being shallow, and they are just going to where the food is. The roe you see is the formation of the next year’s hatch. Often on a calm day when you see bait fish popping the surface of the water, crappie will be nearby.


The best part about fall crappie fishing is the many techniques that can be applied to ensure a successful catch. One technique is to locate bait fish popping the surface on a shallow flat and cast a cork with a minnow towards the bait fish. If spider rigging is your thing, then trolling across the shallow flat where active bait fish are can be successful, too.

I like to find crappie suspended along a creek channel feeding into the main lake. After locating the suspended crappie, I will cast a 1/32 ounce jig to them. Another tactic for suspended crappie is spider rigging. When spider rigging, I prefer to use a 3/4 ounce egg sinker to make moving faster an option. At times, I will also use a slip cork and cast over the creek channel, slowly pulling the cork over the channel where the suspended crappie are located.


During the fall transition bait selection can be tricky, but I’ve found crappie are fattening up and will often eat most anything close. With that being said, I will start off with as big of a bait as I can get by with. I like to start with a 3″ bait and work my way to something smaller. I have found at times, crappie don’t always want a large meal (3″ bait tipped with a minnow) but will often settle for a snack (1/32 ounce hair jig).


With the cooler weather, it makes for a perfect time to take a kid fishing. It’s not miserably hot or cold so they aren’t uncomfortable and usually just a jacket is needed in the early morning. I took my ten year old over the weekend and we caught a good mess of crappie in just a few hours. We threw a 1/32 ounce Crappie Magnet Pop-Eye jig under a cork in 2′-3′ of water and had an absolute blast! The most important part is to make sure they are having a good time and be sure to take plenty of snacks. We ate, caught fish, and had some great laughs. The best part is getting them outside to enjoy the fantastic fall crappie bite!