Most crappie anglers know that crappie will eat practically anything they can get. This includes minnows, insects, crustaceans, threadfin, gizzard shad and other small fish as well. Crappie have extremely large appetites. They typically feed at all times from dusk until dawn. While these fish usually prefer to avoid the bright light of the sun, they will only begin to feed less once the water temperature dips below 50 degrees.
Luckily for the crappie angler, this species is rather active year round. However, if there is any better time to catch these fish it is typically during the spring and fall months. Since during the winter, crappie will tend to stay out of shallower water, the spring is when the water begins to warm and they will venture out of their hiding places and into more accessible depths.
If there is ever a more difficult time in which to catch these fish it is usually during the winter once their spawning is complete and they begin to head back toward deeper waters. It is at this time that they will only return to the shallower parts in order to feed in the lowly lit dusk or dawn hours.
The absolute best time for crappie fishing is usually during the fall as this is when the water just begins to cool down and the crappie start to focus on preparing for the upcoming winter by fattening themselves up. They will usually be found in rather close proximity to their pre-spawning locations and will typically respond rather well to jigs. However, as soon as the water heads into the mid 40 degree temperatures the crappie will head to deeper water and it will then be a bit more difficult to determine where they are at.
One of the best crappie fishing tips is that crappie love to linger in any areas where there is cover. This can be the shade of docks, fallen trees, weeds or wreckage. Anything that is submerged in the waters that could serve a fish as a proper hiding location will be a perfect place to begin looking for your fish.
When fishing these structures, vertical jigging is the best way to go. Once you have determined what depth they are lingering at for the day, all you have to have is patience. Keep on fishing at that depth until you have all of the crappie that you could want.