This migration may last from a few days to as much as several weeks depending on the body
of water and the weather conditions. In early spring shortly after ice out, the crappie will begin to move from their main
lake winter holding areas to the back of the coves.
During the early part of their migration, you
will find crappie holding on the ends of the main lake points suspended on cover such as brush piles, rock piles, or standing
A good strategy to catch these fish is to start at the ends of the main lake points at the
mouths of the spawning coves. Systematically work your way back into the cove. Use your electronics to locate the cover and
vertical jig with the smallest size jig the wind and depth will allow you to use. Which is typically between 1/32 oz. and
a 1/16 oz..
On windy days or in very deep water a 1/8 to even a 1/4 oz. jig may be necessary to keep
in contact with your jig. This time of year, the bites will be very subtle. It is important to fish very slowly.
Another good place to find early season crappie holding is south facing steep rock walls at the north end of
the lake. The sun will heat the rock face and will retain heat longer.
Steep rock walls will allow
the crappie to move up and down vertically in the water column to find their comfort level in unstable weather, which is common
in the springtime. This can also be a good place to find crappie in the winter months on bright sunny days.
Fish these areas by vertically jigging and varying the depth until you locate how deep the Crappie are holding. Once you locate
the depth the crappie are holding, you can repeat this pattern on similar areas of the lake as long as the conditions remain
stable. In unstable weather, you may need to vary the depth you are fishing, as the crappie will change the depth they are
holding as the conditions change.
Typically this time a year the weather is unstable with a few short
cold fronts moving through. When this happens the crappie will tend to move to the nearest deep water and suspend either tight
to or just above cover such as rock piles or standing timber.
If the weather front last for more
then a couple days. Start where you last caught them and fish your way out back the same route you followed them in on. Fish
the same cover you caught them on as you did on their way into the shallows. Fish the entire area very thoroughly the crappie
may be suspended out away from the cover but they will be somewhere close to the same areas they used on their way in.