Fishing for Crappie in Lakes

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Crappie are very common in lakes all throughout the country.  Crappie can be found near all types of shallow cover during the spring time when water temperatures warm into the high 50s and low 60s.  Some of the better areas to fish are in the bays, near shoreline timber and brush, along rocky shorelines, and around docks.

The spawn will help move tons of crappie shallower and many fish may still be found shallower just after the spawn, however, once the spawn is over, expect to find most of the crappie in deeper water for the rest of the season.  Deeper weed lines, steep drop-offs, mid-lake humps, rock piles and brush piles are all good spots to target crappie in deeper water.  Schools of crappie can also be found suspended over very deep water.  These fish are probably the hardest to catch for most fishermen.  It’s not easy to find crappie suspended in open water.  Some fish will suspend 15 to 20 feet down over water as deep as 30 to 50 feet in the summer and fall.

Where to Find Crappie on Lakes


The bays provide excellent fishing in the spring and sometimes in the fall too when the bait fish move back into the shallows as the water temperatures cool.  Find the wood, rocks and weeds to find these fish.  On some lakes, it will just be one main source of cover and on bigger lakes, you may find wood, weeds and rocks, which gives anglers a lot of options.


Bridges almost always hold some crappie, especially if they have some deeper water around them.

Learn more about fishing the bridges for crappie.

Creek Channels

Creek channels can be great in the spring and the fall.  Some anglers do well fishing them in the summer as well.  The creek channels are kind of like an underwater highway that many crappie will use as they migrate in and out of the bays, inlets, coves and other shallow water spots that they can be found.

Dams & Spillways

Dams and spillways can definitely hold some crappie.  They usually will be found in the areas that have more moderate currents and around the pools and current breaks near these major dams and spillways.  On some bodies of water, you will get a little spillway after a rain and it may only last an hour or two or up to a couple of days.  Fish these spots after a big rain and you may catch some nice fish.

Learn more about fishing the dams and spillways for crappie.


Docks are one of the best places to fish for crappie in the spring time.  In the summer, the deep water docks may hold some fish and in the fall, you will usually see some good numbers of fish move back into the docks.  It’s hard to beat the spring though when dock fishing for crappie.

Learn more about dock fishing for crappie.


Find a good drop-off near a point or on a good shoreline that has rocks, weeds or wood and you may find some nice crappie there.  Crappie like deep water, so you will most likely be fishing more of these drop-offs than shallow flats if you fish for crappie from spring through fall.

Learn more about fishing the drop-offs for crappie.


The flats will hold a lot of crappie in the spring when these fish are moving shallow to spawn.  The flats that have some form of hard bottom with some wood are preferred, however, you may find them in the weeds and around the rocks as well.

Open Water Crappie

Crappie can often be found in open water roaming the deeper water near schools of bait fish.  Fishing for and catching suspended crappie can be challenging.  When crappie suspend and roam in open water, they may be anywhere from 10 to 25 feet down, but they can easily be over water 60 feet deep or even deeper.  These suspended crappie are usually out in cooler water following the thermocline once it sets in the summer.  They will also follow bait fish into open water as well.  If you can find these fish on your electronics and you can stay over them, there is a good chance you can put a bunch of them in the boat.  Finding them and staying on them is the challenging part.


Points are always a good place to fish for crappie.  Find the points with some deeper water, wood, rocks or weeds and you will have more success.


The reefs are more for walleye and smallmouth bass, but crappie can be found on them too occasionally.  Fish the deeper water around these reefs with your favorite crappie baits and you may catch some nice fish.  The early spring, summer and fall are the best times to fish the reefs.  In the fall, you may find some huge schools of crappie if you hit it right.

Rocks & Boulders

Crappie prefer wood, then weeds, then rocks usually.  On some bodies of water though, the rocks may be the key for finding crappie.


On some bodies of water, it is all about the weeds.  There may not be as much wood around and the weeds will attract plenty of crappie.  In the spring, find the green weeds in the bays or along the shorelines.  In the fall, find the deepest weed edges you can find and you may find the bigger schools of crappie.

Learn more about fishing the weeds for crappie.


On some lakes, you aren’t going to find much wood.  On others, you are going to find a lot of wood.  If you can find the brush piles and any other type of wood on the lake, it is worth fishing to see if any crappie are around.  Wood is one of the most consistent types of cover for holding crappie.

Learn more about fishing the wood for crappie.


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