Many fishermen believe fishing for crappie in the summertime is extremely difficult and after the spawn, they disappear and become very hard to catch. As with bass or any other fresh water species, their habits change to adjust to the conditions in which they live. The tactics to catch them must change, too.
Recently, I was fortunate to spend some time with George Toalson, Lure Designer and Manager for Gene Lerew and Bobby Garland Crappie Baits. George is a diver and has spent significant time studying fish habits, underwater bait presentations, and other observations. He reminded me that a crappie has a very small brain and lives by adjusting to its surroundings and food.
The crappie’s watery world changes temperatures quickly when it warms, less oxygen may be present. More direct sunlight with longer days and clear skies create more light penetration into the water warming the water deeper than other times of the year. Less oxygen slows the fish down so they can become more territorial setting up residence in brush piles, stumps, etc. They will seek out areas with more oxygen as well. This can mean deeper water to escape the light and heat.
We tend to over think these attributes as the fish must eat more because the warmer the water the faster they’re bodies burn energy and require food. When they are active, they will feast on schools of minnows or shad. The fish will feed more often; travel if necessary to seek out the food. But, due to the oxygen levels may do so efficiently and effectively.
During my visit with George, he stated that while observing crappie relating to brush piles, he saw two different habits or personalities. Some were home bodies and stayed, fed near to their homes and rarely ever left it as long as it had all the elements it needed: protection; oxygen; and food. While observing them, out of the darkness would come a school of crappie. He said there would be thousands of all sizes to include some trophy fish. As quickly as they would come, they were gone. He said none of the individuals would stay and hang out on the brush. These are rovers.
Keep these habits in mind. Use the proper tactics to catch both the home bodies and the rovers, even in the heat of the summer. Night fishing can be fantastic in the summer.
God Bless and Good Fishing,
Dan Dannenmueller, Publisher