Reservoirs have a ton of great cover and structure for crappie. Reservoirs have a lot of wood in the form of timber, brush piles, overhanging trees, laydowns and submerged trees. The shallow water coves and creeks give crappie plenty of areas to spawn during the spring time, which helps them naturally reproduce in big numbers. Most reservoirs also have some very deep water in the main lake, which is essential for holding large populations of crappie. The deep water points, drop-offs, mid-lake humps, deep weed lines and bridges are all good places to target crappie during the summer and fall. Shallow water fishing usually consists of fishing with bobbers rigged with jigs and/or minnows. In the deeper water, 2 jig rigs, drop-shot rigs, carolina rigs and slip bobbers rigged with live minnows work well for crappie.
Where to Find Crappie on Reservoirs
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 most reservoirs, you are going to be fishing the wood. It may be flooded wood on the shoreline or fish cribs scattered throughout the area.
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 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. In reservoirs, you’re going to most likely be fishing the wood on these flats. Find the wood and you should find some crappie.
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 and some type of cover such as wood, weeds and rocks. On reservoirs, your better spots will probably have wood.
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. On reservoirs, you’re usually going to find a lot more wood than weeds depending on where you are fishing. If you can find the weeds, in the spring, the green weeds are key. In the summer and fall, fish the deepest weed edges that you can find.
Learn more about fishing the weeds for crappie.
Wood is king on most reservoirs. It is one of the most consistent types of cover for holding crappie. Find a ton of spots and mark them on your gps. Some of the better crappie anglers will have 50 to 100 spots marked that they can bounce to one after another to find their limit of crappie on any given day.
Learn more about fishing the wood for crappie.