A big part of fishing involves knowing where the fish can be found at certain points in the year. Any angler will tell you that such knowledge can mean the difference in big fish or small fish, or catching many fish or no fish at all. When fishing for crappie, knowing where they hide during the pre-spawn is the first step in capitalizing on catching big slabs while they still carry their winter weight. Today, I’ve outlined a few crappie hideouts that any angler should be sure to check during the pre-spawn this year.
One popular hideout for pre-spawn crappie is a discharge. During this time of the year, crappie seek out warm, shallow water, and warmwater discharge streams that feed into larger lakes and reservoirs attract crappie each year. Crappie also like to hold in the mouths of such feeder creeks until the weather warms up and they can move on to spawning areas.
Along rivers or channels, crappie will also commonly find some sort of location around mid-depth to hold near, such as small stumps, branches, etc. By casting a crappie jig and working it along the bank, you can draw strikes from crappie holding in such a location.
There are also a few types of structure that attract pre-spawn crappie. Submerged stumps or logs, and fallen trees that sit around twenty yards from the bank usually hold crappie this time of year. Another great structure to concentrate your fishing around is a dock. Crappie seek out docks because they provide reliable shelter while the fish wait for warmer temperatures. Also, dock owners commonly submerge some sort of structure of their own off the end of the dock (usually around ten or fifteen feet from the dock) so they can fish at their leisure. If you can find this structure from your boat, you’ll be in good shape.
While there are times when it seems like the actions of fish are completely random and unpredictable, it helps to gauge your experiences and plan your next efforts based on those experiences. Crappie are fish and are effected by biology just like all fish species, so when the pre-spawn period arrives, knowing where anglers have located crappie consistently throughout the years will help you pull in good numbers yourself. Heck, I’ve even done the guesswork for you and listed a few great crappie hideouts above. Now all you have to do is grab your crappie gear and head out to the water.