At the end of the spawn, a lot of people will hang up their tackle for the rest of the year
until spring rolls around again. They deprive themselves of some great fishing because crappie do not dry up after the spring
spawn. There are just as many crappie swimming around in a lake in July as there were in April.
But the primary difference is where you find the crappie, where they’ve gone to.
it is important to learn to fish deep water.
The dreaded deep-water fishing, where marine electronics replace the naked
eye for locating fish, is no more popular with crappie enthusiasts as it is with their counterparts in bass fishing. Deep-water
fishing offers none of the comforts of shallow angling, where sight comes more into play and crappie are both easier
to locate and, generally, simpler to catch.
Most crappie fishermen avoid deep water simply because they
have never learned how to fish it. But during the 80 percent of the year when the popular panfish are not spawning, limits
are seldom caught in shallow water. And fishing in the so-called off-seasons is so productive that it is worth the time and
effort to learn the methods for going deep for crappie. Once you master deep-water crappie the fishing can be very dependable.
There is no real off-season for crappie. They will hit 365 days a year if you can determine what depth they
are holding. But most people keep on fishing the same shallow cover after the fish leave it. Rather than moving with the fish
and changing when fish changes, they stay in the same place. That’s why the season is over for them as the post-spawn
According to the annual migration pattern of the species, crappie, generally, spend the majority
of the year in deep water (for the sake of clarity, deep is defined as 10 feet or more). Crappie come shallow in preparation
for spawning and the actual bedding stage, but are more difficult to locate the remainder of the year. But one you locate
deep-water crappie, the experts say it is often the same easy-to-catch creature that makes its shallow appearance each spring.
The first step toward finding deep-water crappie is studying a quality topographic map, which is available
on most major lakes and reservoirs. Since crappie will likely be around invisible structure and submerged cover, it’s
important to look for deep-water ledges, creek channels, roadbeds and old submerged sloughs. The elevation markings on the
map offer and indication of areas that might contain those structure or cover-types.
From there, it takes
a little skill with electronics to pinpoint potential deeper-water crappie havens and then actually locate the fish. The consistent
crappie angler has mastered the use of a flasher, chart recorder or liquid crystal unit, which can read the bottom contour
with amazing precision. He will use a map to put himself in a likely position, utilize his flasher to locate the ledge or
channel and examine the area closely with a graph or liquid crystal unit.
Start your hunt for deep-water
crappie by scrutinizing likely areas such as creek channels and sloughs, looking for sharp drop-offs.