Fall Crappie Fishing Techniques

Fall Crappie fishing techniques

It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than Fall Crappie Fishing

Fall is finally here! After a long and brutally hot Summer of more than 100 degree days, it is nice to get out on the water and do some Fall Crappie fishing.  If you can find a school of Crappie this time of year, the action will be fast and furious.  And you won’t have to suffer a heatstroke to fill your stringer.

Many people put their rods and reels up and winterize the boat at the start of football season.  But they are missing one of the best, and most comfortable, times of the year to fish.

Once September rolls around, the days start getting shorter, and the nights a little longer.  This has the effect of lowering the water temperatures a bit on area lakes.  Once the water cools a bit from the Summer heat, oxygen levels in the water increase, and fish become more active.  This is especially true when the lake “turns over”.

Fall Crappie Patterns

But finding the Crappie in the early fall can be a challenge.  The Crappie will often follow the threadfin shad and small minnows up the creek arms during this time.  Just like any other time of year though, your best bet is to find structure that is near a drop.

Fishing under and around boat docks can be very productive this time of year.  You can either drop a jig by a supporting pole, shoot a jig or other artificial lure under the dock, or just cast a minnow up under the dock.

As the day progresses, the shad and minnows will not be as shallow, and you may have to fish a little deeper.  Because the oxygen levels have returned, the Crappie could be at any depth.

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One of the best ways to find the Crappie if they have move off the near shore cover is spider-rigging.  Basically, set different lines out at different depths and troll VERY slowly.  If you have electronics, watch for a ball of baitfish.  If you see the baitfish, usually the Crappie aren’t far behind.

Best Bait for Fall Crappie Fishing

Since Crappie are primarily chasing the minnows up the creeks this time of year, then obviously minnows are a good choice. You can set out a couple of poles with a slip bobber set at different depths to help you find the fish.

Jigging for Fall Crappie

One of the best Fall Crappie fishing techniques is to use jigs.  Crappie can be finicky on what they want from day to day during the Fall, so be open to changing up your presentation as needed.

Sometimes the Crappie will be biting more on reaction, and you may want to use a heavier jig, say 1/8 to 1/4 oz, that falls quicker.  Other days, you may want to drop a lighter jig like a 1/32 to 1/16 oz. so that it stays in the strike zone longer.

Pay attention to water clarity.  Usually the water is more clear in the fall because there is not as much run-off rainfall filling the lakes.  White, chartreuse & yellow are good colors when fishing under 12 feet.  If you go a little deeper, try blue.

I personally like the jigs with the little spinner blades like Roadrunners.  I believe the flash of the blade helps attract, as well as slow down the fall of the bait when using lighter lures.

Another technique which many fishermen use is to hook a minnow on the jig.  This is the best of both worlds.  Hook the minnow through the lips so the minnow sits out and in line with the bait.  If you are fishing with a tube style jig, you may want to remove a couple pieces of the tail section so that the minnow sits naturally.

Fall Crappie Fishing at Night

Fall is a great time of the year to Crappie fish at night.  Most fish feed most aggressively in the hours just before daylight and just after.  A light over the boat will attract the smaller bait fish, which in turn will attract the larger Crappie that we are after.

Minnows are my bait of choice when fishing at night, but if you would like to try jigging, then use a black or dark blue jig.  The dark silhouette looks natural, and stands out against lighted water.

Just Go Fishing

Another benefit of fishing in the Fall is that you won’t have to compete with all the jet skis and water-skiers for the water.

You may find this to be your favorite time of the year to go Crappie fishing.  If you’ve never really fished in the Fall, then get out there and put these Fall Crappie fishing techniques to work for you.


Topic: Fall Crappie fishing