Find & Catch Summertime Crappie

john phillips-00053By John Phillips

The late Ken Cook of of Meers, Oklahoma, a former fisheries biologist, longtime professional bass fisherman and avid crappie fisherman, shares his methods for finding and catching crappie in the summertime.

Find the pH Breakline and the Thermocline: Cook explains, “The drop-offs along major creek and river channels often are the best places to locate crappie during the summer months. The pH breakline will show us where the ideal pH is, and the thermocline will denote where the ideal water temperature is. Usually, the pH breakline will sit right on top of the thermocline. To locate these breaklines, I use a pH meter and find at what depth I get a pH and a temperature breakline. There’s another method of identifying this breakline where not only crappie and bass but just about all the fish in a lake hold on, and that’s by running your boat across the lake and taking note at what depth you spot fish showing up on your depth finder. By averaging the depths where you see the most fish, you reasonably can assume that this is the thermocline and pH breakline.”

Locate a Bottom Break: “The bottom break is an edge that the crappie will travel along. If you can locate a place where it intersects the water depth where the proper pH and thermocline are, you’ll know the water depth the crappie will be the most comfortable in and then you can find the ledge where they want to feed,” Cook explains.

Pinpoint Cover “I define cover as some kind of brush, stumps, logs or anything that the crappie can lie next to, get under or get inside of,” Cook mentions. “I use these three ingredients like a road map. I locate the water temperature and thermocline the crappie prefer first. Next I follow that water temperature line until I intersect structure. Then I follow that structure until I discover cover. This simple, basic formula will aid you in locating crappie on any lake the same way bass anglers find bass in the summertime,” Cook explains

Fish with Light Tackle: “During the summer months, the crappie fisherman needs to use smaller baits and lighter tackle,” Cook reports.

To learn more tips and tactics for catching crappie in the spring and summer check out  Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer – available in either eBook or print book formats. Be sure to click on look inside to see the table of contents and read 10 percent of the book free.