Making the case for pre-ice crappies
Crappies definitely change locations after the summer, and earlier in the fall, they’re relating to green weed edges. When these weeds start to die off by early November, however, everyone forgets fall crappies. My advice? Check the rock piles.
Freshwater plankton and algae need sun to grow, and these shallow, open-water rock piles nurture that growth. This attracts minnows, and then here come the crappies – usually the largest ones in the lake, too.
These shallow rock piles will hold fish all the way to freeze-up. If the fish move, it’s usually to another rock pile, or roaming nearby in an adjacent basin. They’ll want to stay near those available food sources.
Nonetheless, if they’re suspended out in open water, you’ll need to move and use your electronics.
Wherever you find crappies now, use small jigs like a 1/32- or 1/16-ouncers. A 1/8-ounce jig is the max weight you’ll want to employ, and try to avoid going that big. Smaller is ideal.
Cast those jigs up into rock piles, or better yet, vertical jig over the rock pile. Consider using dressings on your jig with crappie minnows or fatheads. Especially if roaming a basin, don’t anchor.
Three-way swivels rigs work well, too. Employ a 4- to 5-foot snell, with a dropper line of about 15 inches. Then troll with your electric motor. Remember, you’re searching for these crappies.
The great thing about fall crappies is that if you find these fish in the main basin, they’ll bite all day long.