Weather and the Crappie
Crappie by their very nature tend to become most active in waters around 50 to 75 degrees. In addition to that they are sight based feeders meaning they prefer clear water that is easy to see through.
Keeping those facts in mind;
The best weather conditions for crappie are a warm sunny day around 60 to 85 degrees, preferably in which it has not rained recently and your water is semi clear. With temperatures in this range the crappie will likely be in depths of 2 to 4 feet of water and if not on spawn, then suspended around docks and brush.
Let’s look a bit further into weather conditions and how each might affect your crappie fishing day.
How Each Weather Condition Affects Crappie Fishing?
Weather conditions can range from sunny and clear skies to stormy overcast dreary days. At the same time temps can range from well below 0 to over 100 all depending on what part of the country/world you are in. Each of these variations in the weather can affect your crappie fishing.
Take a look into some of these and help you determine what the best weather for crappie fishing is in your case.
Time of Year
While time of year is not exactly a weather condition, it will somewhat dictate where you can find crappie and how you should go about fishing for them
Sunny Vs Cloudy
When deciding on a sunny versus a cloudy day to go fishing, consider not only the crappie but yourself. You may be somewhat more comfortable if it is a bit cloudy.
However, in regards to the crappie, they are visual feeders so a bright sunny day enables them to see their targeted food source easier. But if this is coupled with higher temperatures they may remain in shaded cover so look for them there. In cooler weather they are likely to seek out the sunny areas to gather some extra warmth.
If you happen to be dealing with muddier or more opaque waters then a brighter day increases the chance the crappie can see your lure or bait and will likely result in more strikes.
A cloudier day will likely cause the fish to rise slightly closer to the surface where they may be a foot or two deeper on a sunny day, so keep that in mind when deciding on what depth to fish.
Cold Vs Hot
Just like you prefer to cuddle up inside and be lazy on a cold day, a Crappie does much the same.
Crappies like all fish are cold blooded. As the water temperature lowers they become more sluggish. In these instances crappie will head to deeper water and minimize movement. In waters below 50 degrees or so, crappie may only feed for a few minutes each day as they are not expending much energy and do not need to eat.
Because of these colder conditions fishing for crappie in the cold or winter requires a slower application of the bait to entice a strike.
As the weather warms up the crappie will rise to just below the surface. During the warmer months they will spread out in deep water but suspended a few feet below the surface. They will also tend to suspend just off of docks and brush piles where feeder fish are likely to school.
These conditions allow you to present live minnows, jigs or even spinners in a more realistic manner to entice the strikes.
Rain Vs Shine
It is almost universally agreed upon in the fishing realm, that nearly every species of fish will become more active just before and during the first part of a rain shower.
Some argue that the reduction in air pressure shown in a barometer is what causes this, others feel that it is because of the slight drop in temperature that accompanies a rain shower.
While this holds true with crappie, their feeding can rapidly turn off if the rain becomes heavy enough to muddy the water.
Shallow Vs Deep Waters
This applies not to a stable body of water but to those bodies of water in which the levels rise with rain and man made dams etc.
For the most part crappie prefer water that is at least three or more feet deep. If the water levels drop below this they are likely to leave the area in search of deeper waters. However, in the spring and early season water levels are normally on the rise and crappie will spread out to suspend along the edges of the deeper water. Look for them off of shelves and brush piles.
Additional Considerations and Summary
Obviously different weather conditions can change the tactics you apply, however crappie are one species of fish that can be caught year round even in the winter. So pick conditions that are ideal for you, or even better pick the time you can go and hit the lake no matter. With proper tactics you will be able to locate and real in a few crappie even in less than perfect weather.
The best weather conditions for crappie fishing are ones that are comfortable to the angler, provide some shade for crappie and in which the water is as clear as possible. Temperature will be the biggest factor in determining at what depth to look for the crappie, with warmer temps bringing them to the surface.