How to Catch Post-Spawn Crappies
Bob McNally 03.22.16
“The spawn is my favorite time for crappie, but post-spawn fishing is great, and almost no one fishes for them, says renown crappie pro Steve McCadams, a guide on famed Kentucky Lake.”
Trolling open water is productive for post-spawn crappies, says Steve. He looks for suspended fish off points, creek channel edges, and creek channel junctures. He trolls with jig-and-minnow combinations, and uses a sensitive fathometer to help locate crappie schools. He insists that fishing a lure just a foot or so above a school is most productive.
Deep sunken brush piles along creek channels or long tapering points are prime places for crappie after the spawn. “Sinking your own brush piles is a good way to create your own post-spawn crappie hot spots,” says Steve. He sinks many of his own brush piles and says water 10 to 20 feet deep is ideal. Many anglers make brush piles from discarded Christmas trees, and while they work, Steve says oak brush is better as it lasts longer before deteriorating.
“Many dock owners sink brush piles around their piers, and they are post-spawn crappie magnets,” Steve continues. “The more pilings and brush a pier has, the more crappies like it. Also, the very best piers are in at least 8 feet of water, and 10 or 12 feet is better. Usually post-spawn fish suspend around pier pilings and brush, and anglers must vary bait-lure depth below a float to locate fish.
“Another great place for post-spawn crappies are deep weed edges. The very best ones drop-off sharply from six, eight, or 10 feet to 15 or 20 feet. You can follow a deep weed edge easily with a boat and fathometer, and tight-line a jig or minnow just off bottom. Crappies usually stack at irregularities in a weed line, like a point, or inside turn. It takes a bit of searching to find fish on weed edges, but when you locate ’em you can get a limit fast.
“Naturally, I like post-spawn crappie fishing because it’s so good,” Steve continues. “But the best thing is after the spawn you’ve got the lakes and rivers to yourself. Almost no one is on the water, and the few anglers out there are chasing bass or stripers. But I’ve got the crappies all to myself.”