How Deep Should You Fish For Crappie

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Crappies are a popular gamefish. They are also delicious and can be fished and eaten in many locations across the United States where the law permits. 

To catch crappies for sport or food, you need to know where to find them. In this post, I will tell you everything you need to know about where (the depth) to find crappies throughout the year. 

Let’s begin. 

Where To Find Crappies

The best depth to find crappies is anywhere between two and six feet underwater where there are plenty of places where they can hide.

To catch crappie, you should cast your bait very close to the actual structures or places where they hide and give them time to get attracted and to strike the bait.

Once a crappie has struck your bait, you should play with it gently and then reel it in when it stops panicking. 

Underwater structures and hiding places are the best places for finding crappies because they typically spawn in such areas.

However, it is important to note that crappies do not stay in or around their spawning beds forever. They cruise whatever water body they are in. 

They typically like hitting shorelines and bays for food at dusk and late in the afternoon.

Therefore, if you are out fishing at dusk or late in the afternoon, you should cast your line and bait just between two and three feet deep and you will most likely land a good number of crappies. 

You now know at which depth to fish for crappies and at what time. Now let me share with you where (the depth) to catch crappies during the different seasons of the year. 

Where To Catch Crappies In Spring

When you see trees such as redbud and the honeysuckle starting to bloom, you should know that the crappie season has just started across America.

It is during this season that millions of fishermen across the country hit rivers, dams, lakes, and ponds to catch crappies for food or sport. 

Spring is a good time to catch crappies because the warm spring weather usually attracts crappies to shallow waters so that they can start spawning.

It is usually very easy to catch crappies in the spring season because the fish usually just hang around their spawning beds almost throughout the day.

To do it, catch crappies, you need to find their spawning beds and these usually include river mouths and shallow bays, coves, and tributaries.

Once you find such locations, look for hiding places such as logs, lily pads, weeds, willows, stumps, and weed beds and you will surely start spotting crappies. 

If you fail to spot any crappies in the above-mentioned spots, you should take a boat to the nearest deep water from the shallow bay. Sometimes crappies hide and spawn in such areas if they are warm enough. 

Crappies do not like chasing bait. Therefore, to increase your chances of catching one, you should move your bait slowly. If you do this at the right depth, crappies will strike your bait and get caught. 

Where To Catch Crappies In Summer

When summer starts officially, the hot weather forces crappies to move to deep waters.

While crappies typically swim in large schools to protect themselves, the warm summer weather usually breaks such schools making it difficult to find a singular spot with plenty of crappies. 

While crappies are difficult to catch in the summer season, they usually come out to feed on bugs in the evening and at night.

This makes nighttime the best time to catch crappies. However, to catch as many crappies as possible, you will need to go to deeper waters and to approach the waters slowly so you do not scare away the fish.

The best way to approach such waters is to use your boat’s trolling motor. And then to listen carefully for crappies splashing water and eating surface bugs. Once you spot them, use an appropriate bait and you will land crappies all night long. 

If you do not own a boat or cannot get a boat, do not worry. There are usually many crappies around docks at night. Place a gasoline lantern on a wooden floating device and let it sit for a few hours somewhere near the dock.

The lantern will attract bugs and they will attract crappies in their hundreds and you can fish them less than 2 feet underwater.

Where To Catch Crappies In Fall

Fall usually brings cooling over lakes and causes the turnover of water. This usually makes crappies pretty active and makes them move all over water bodies.

In other words, during fall, crappies can be found in all sorts of places in lakes including deep and shallow waters.

This is because the deep waters have good oxygen to support them and the shallow waters are cool enough to sustain them. 

It is not very easy to find crappies jumping for insects on the surface in the fall. The best way to locate them in the fall is to look for places where there are shad, minnows and other fish and things crappies like eating.

It is impossible not to find them near a food source. And the best thing about crappies near a source of food is the fact that they are easy to catch. 

Deep rock piles in the water form great places for crappies to hide and call home. Moss and other fish food also usually grow well on rock piles as long as they are shallow enough.

So if you do not find crappies near a food source anywhere in the lake, you should look for them around rock pile structures. Chances are you will more likely than not find them around such places.

Where To Catch Crappies in Winter

Many people do not look for crappies during winter because they believe they are impossible or very difficult to find.

However, this is not true. Once ice sheets on lakes get thick enough to hold human weight, you should get ice fishing gear and head to your favorite one. 

Usually, the formation of ice at the top of lakes makes the water near the top very cold resulting in crappies moving deeper into the water to wait out the winter there. 

Live baits on long fish lines are the only way that crappies can be caught during winter. The depth for finding crappies during the season is usually anything between 20 and 25 feet deep near areas of stumps and bush.


The best depth to find crappies is anywhere between two and six feet deep underwater. The actual depth and location where they can be found vary based on the time of the year.

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