Crappie makes for a day of fun fishing, whether spring, fall, or even winter. But these small fighters are subject to migratory habits that can make them easier to catch at certain times of the year.
Sadly, with the advancement of winter, late fall is not one of them. And the reality is this period brings in an uncertain game of hide and seek, with the fish more or less winning.
However, with a few seasoned fall fishing tips, you can turn your fish counts into something that looks like low temperatures. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but here is everything you must try to get those crappies on!
1. Season and Depth Mean More Fish
Fun little math equation, huh? But it does have some truth. And here’s why!
September sees crappies engorging themselves on everything in sight. Baitfish, insects, you name it. You’re best to stick to the shallows of approximately 6-12 feet and in areas of heavy forage.
By mid-fall, or about October to early November, sheltering crappie will seek deeper areas of structures, and aquatic matter as the forage decays and the leaves fall. This is the time to bust out the season’s best crappie baits that will get you into depths of 15-25 feet.
Here’s where it goes particularly tricky to fish in this season. From roughly November to December, crappies will head into deeper water depending on water temperatures and become more scattered. You can find them hovering around the water surfaces in depths of 25-40 feet.
This is why a basic understanding of season and depth will help you target these fish.
2. Don’t Get Pouty at the Murky Water
One of the challenges of fall is what the season is known for, its falling leaves. As the leaves change and fall into the waterways, these bodies of water also become cloudier or murkier with the added decay.
This can be a reason for some anglers to hang up the rods for the season. But there is one way to combat the lackluster nibbles; by understanding colors.
Unlike bass, who prefer specific solid colors, contrasting color schemes can help increase your crappie counts.
More so, go for bright colors like white with bubble gum pink, fluorescent pink, white with chartreuse, neon green, or lime green. Heck, if you have some glow-in-the-dark baits hanging around, don’t be afraid to test them out. The results may surprise you!
But if you combine these colors with this next fishing tip, you’ll be grinning at the endless nibbles in no time.
3. Get Noisy
This fishing tip shouldn’t go without saying that it’s referencing lure selection and not actually scaring off the fish. The late fall is hard enough for catching; no need to sabotage yourself. Furthermore, this is why you should select baits that play to the senses.
First, the top consideration should be the depth you want to fish at when selecting bait. Otherwise, go for lures titled under lingoes such as chattering, rattling, or vibrating to induce underwater noise. Additionally, crappie are naturally curious and cannot resist the investigation of a nearby sound.
Although, you might want to keep this in mind for this next fishing tip.
4. Early Ice Fishing, Anyone?
Even though the water may not be iced over for the season, chucking in ice fishing lures if you have them is a great idea.
This is no joke; ice fishing lures are the complete package when it comes to landing late fall crappie.
Nevertheless, these lures are of a smaller hook and are perfect for this smaller-lipped fish. As for selection, they come in a myriad of dazzling and flashy shapes and spoons that are sure to draw out anything that’s hiding. Moreover, with darker icy-covered water, they come in various contrasting colors and noisemakers. Do you still need convincing?
5. A Jigging Reputation
Of the fishing tips on this list, this technique is the most important to get these small guys on your line. This is achieved by jigging, especially in the late fall when the fish are scattered and out deeper.
But jigging baits will be the best means of landing crappie. This is the way to go, whether it be a drop shot, jigs, or ice fishing lures.
The key is replicating the look and movement of baitfish, which is why the presentation mixed with flashy or noisy attractants can aid you while you twitch and jerk your bait.
And if it’s any consolidation, it gets you to practice for the upcoming ice fishing season as seasons change.
There you have it, all the best tips to get you a bucket full of crappie during a tricky time. If you’ve struggled in the past or looking to try out new techniques and baits, keep these fishing tips in mind.
And the days of zero fish counts will be well in your past!
What fishing tips do you have for catching late fall crappie? Please let us know in the comments below!