Crappie fishing during the heat and bustle of recreational boat traffic on most lakes during summer can be challenging, so one solution could be targeting more remote spots under bridges for easier success.
Crappie under bridges are known to be highly opportunistic fish, which quickly take to artificial lures placed strategically within their territory. A small artificial jig placed nearby could even draw the attention of nearby crab.
Crappie fish prefer shallow waters in spring and move to deeper waters as temperatures warm. Crappie tend to suspend out from structures in lakes or rivers and this makes fishing for them difficult if you don’t know where they’re hiding. One great place for crappie this time of year is under bridge pilings which heat up in the sun, drawing baitfish closer.
Boat and jon-boat anglers who can position themselves directly next to bridge pilings enjoy an immense advantage over landlocked anglers, though those without access to one can still fish the areas by sling-shooting their offerings through various depth ranges around bridge pilings.
At the forefront of all fishing strategies for crappie is water temperature. Crappie often migrate to warmer and darker waters during winter to escape low temperatures and cold weather on the surface of the water, often finding refuge in shallower parts until close to their spawn.
Once they finish spawning, crappie move back into shallow waters where they can feed and lay up again. They often come to rest under bridges or other overhanging brush such as humps and island ridges as well as docks, marinas and other warm locations where they quickly warm.
One key consideration when fishing for crappie under bridges is timing. Fish, like humans, have schedules they tend to follow and altering this can drastically change their feeding habits. Once you find an ideal location, try returning throughout the day – old timers used putting a rubber band around their reel spool as a reminder to count how many cranks they had taken!
One key point when fishing for crappie under bridges is using smaller lures than you normally would. This will affect what kind of bites you receive as well as how hard or softly you have to strike in order to trigger strikes, while smaller lures also lend their presentation a much less aggressive appearance which lowers chances of spooking fish.
As there are various methods for fishing crappie under bridges, using a jig and minnow is one of the most effective techniques. It requires minimal equipment and can work particularly well when fishing crappie which have staged to spawn or on flats covered with wood in 6-8 feet of water.
Crappie fish move to shallow water areas during spring to spawn and then return in autumn to stage for reproduction and later feed off any leftover eggs they might still contain. They usually stage on hard bottom wood covered flats that lie 6-8 feet beneath the surface as well as under brush piles or docks.
Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee provides the ideal conditions for crappie fishing during spring. Crappie are drawn to this natural lake due to the shade provided by cypress trees and current breaks provided by bridge pilings; when weather and water clarity conditions permit, jig fishing around these bridge pilings can be particularly effective.
Spider rigging is another highly effective technique for catching crappie under bridges, which entails attaching a line from the bow of your boat to a snap hook with bait attached, then dropping up current. A boat equipped with both bow and stern sonar units makes this technique especially efficient, so all members of your team can monitor what structures they’re fishing around.
Winter bridge pilings become an ideal spot to find crappie, as fish congregate to fatten up before the approaching ice bite. At this time of year many anglers switch to night fishing on lakes without ample natural cover – bridge pilings provide the ideal structure for finding and catching winter crappie.
Before heading out night fishing with electronics, it’s advisable to spend an hour or so at the lake scouting with them in order to locate productive bridge pilings as well as determine when you should fish during the evening hours.
As with any form of fishing, knowing when and where to fish for crappie is crucial. A good crappie guide will know that spring, summer and fall are typically productive times for this species of fish; when active they like huddling close to underwater structures. Bridge pilings offer ideal summertime structures thanks to their mix of rock-covered wood covering and deep water access – perfect for night fishing crappie!
Trolling for crappie in the prespawn and spawn seasons is a great way to find these fish. At this time of the year, you should focus on finding structure such as brush piles and attractors with old bridge pilings for maximum success on lakes that lack natural cover in deeper areas.
As temperatures change, crappie begin to move from their deep-water haunts in search of food. They still huddle near bridges but begin moving higher up through the water column until suspending near pilings – an excellent time to use jig and minnow combos on these fish!
Anglers with boat and yak access have an advantage when fishing for crappie during winter. By working the bridge areas of lakes with electronics and bait to identify high concentration areas where fish could be hiding, then using their hoop net quickly hoist their catch from below them, they have an upper hand on landlocked anglers.
Landlocked anglers can target crappie at bridges using spider rigging. This trolling method involves spacing multiple rods apart so they can be trolled without tangling together, making this particularly effective when trolling near channel edges or old road beds as it allows your baits to cover some distance without constantly having to be repositioned. When using this approach, be sure to have a depth finder and chartreuse or white colored jigs ready!
Crappie anglers in boats have an advantage when fishing during wintertime for crappie. By positioning themselves next to bridge pilings, they have an edge over landlocked anglers who must resort to using sling-shotting rigs from shore in order to access all areas of a piling’s interior from there shorelines. Still, landlocked anglers may still catch crappie when fishing at night from shorelines.
Crappie can be caught under bridges throughout March and April as they prepare to spawn in deep wooded flats and ledges between 6-8 feet deep, often sought-out by crappie that seek cool, highly oxygenated waters for their reproductive efforts.
Crappie are often found feeding near creek channels that run into river channels and around any nearby structures such as snags, stumps or brushpiles that provide cool, nutrient-rich waters. When temperatures heat up in lakes, crappie often migrate to shallower waters in search of structure offering cool yet nutrient-rich waters – typically along the edges and along any snags, stumps or brushpiles offering shade from direct sunlight.
Many anglers find that crappie school up in areas where deep creek channels meet shallow river channels or where there is an exposed rocky point on a flat. These transition zones attract baitfish in abundance, which draw the crappie closer.
Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas can produce some excellent fishing during the summer, especially for Dennis Bettison. To take advantage of this situation, Bettison sets his spider rig down near a bridge or other structure nearby – usually near some type of snag or structure.
His simple setup includes one sonar unit on each end of his boat – so all members of his party can see where they’re fishing over and anticipate when a bite may happen. Furthermore, each side features a pole equipped with small tube jig or grub attached to 5′, 6′ or 7′ long rods filled with 4 pound test Berkley Trilene line for casts from five feet outwards.