Crappies are fun to catch any time of the year, but fall offers the biggest bang for the buck. Slab-sided and stuffed to the gills with young baitfish, they’ll feed heavily long after bass have spit the bit. Here are three keys to finding them.
1. In large lakes, prospect off primary points where schools slide out to deep water during cold spells or ease inshore under warming trends. Use light line and tiny jigs, and key on a hard bottom in 10- to 30-foot depths.
2. In reservoirs, fall papermouths patrol curves along old riverbeds. Check where channels pinch toward shore and remember these fish sometimes suspend, so test the entire water column before moving on.
3. Dishpan lakes hold crappies along the outside edges of remaining weed beds. Cast in-line spinners and reel fast enough to stay a foot below the surface. Slow down retrieves to drop deeper as water temperatures decline.