Knowing When to Hit the Lake Could Be Key to Catching More Crappie

The best time to catch crappie is between midnight and 2am

You get off early on a Friday and decide you want to hit the lake, the first thing you might be asking yourself is are the crappie even going to be biting? Well even if they are not, even a bad day at the lake is better than a good day at the office. So let’s get to the question; What is the best time of day to catch crappie?

Your best chance of catching crappie is between midnight and 2 am. They frequently feed around this time, especially in the heat of the summer months. In addition to that, they feed extensively around both dusk and dawn which could yield decent chances of you catching a few. 

According to the Georgia Aquarium, the best time is between midnight and 2 am but will continue to feed throughout the day and night.

If you choose to hit up the best time to catch crappie around midnight, then you could even toss in some glow sticks for improving your nighttime fishing.

However, most of us are not up and on the waters at that time. With that in mind targeting those hours around sunrise and sunset seem to be the best bet. So even if you get to the lake late in the afternoon you still stand a chance to catch a few slabs. 

Early Morning May Be the Best Time

Me, I work the overnight shift so I often hit the lake when I get off for an hour or two before I head to the house. 

I have found about thirty minutes before the sun comes up to about 2 hours after sunrise to be the best time of the day for fishing any species during the daylight hours. 

I am not sure if this is because the fish are waking up and getting out of bed or just the fact that the light conditions make it ideal for the fish to find their preferred foods. Crappies are visual feeders so the light makes it easier for them to find food, and it is not yet so hot and bright as to drive them into deeper waters. 

Another factor is the insect populations tend to be out more early in the morning and later in the day causing the feeder fish to feed during these times as well, giving the crappie plenty of options for breakfast. 

But despite these being the best times, if you are aware of the behaviors of crappie and the fact that they tend to head a bit deeper or prefer shaded areas in the middle of the day you can still catch crappie. 

Keep an Eye on Weather and Water Conditions

Weather is another factor that can greatly increase the crappies’ feeding. For some reason, nearly all fish species become more active just before and during the first bit of a rain shower.

If you happen to see clouds building or notice a drop in barometric pressure, assuming you measure that, then you might want to consider a quick trip to the lake.  

Choose a Bait and Location Strategically

When I am just stopping by for a short stay at the lake, I frequently rely on lures or jigs as my primary bait source. 

By relying on artificial bait instead of live bait in these situations it lets me be spontaneous on hitting the water.

However, when I am planning on spending the day at the water you can’t beat live baits. Minnows on a #2 size hook are probably my favorite choice. 

Select a location based on the amount of time you have, the time of day you are going, and what the recent weather was like. 

Don’t try to head to your favorite spot if it is hazardous to approach in the wee hours of the morning before it is light out. In the same aspect don’t head to that spot if it takes 30 minutes to hike to and you only have an hour or two to spare.

Conclusion: Your Crappie Fishing Success Starts with Knowing When the Best Time of Day Is

Even though the best time of day to fish for crappies is between midnight and 2 am you can still catch plenty of crappie around sunrise and sunset. In addition to this with a proper selection of a location and baits then you can catch crappie all day, and through all four seasons. 

So with that in mind, grab a reel, hit the lake, and catch a few. 

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