Fall is a great time for fishing; the weather is cooling down, the dense weeds are dying off and the water is still warm. Pan and sport fish are feeding heavily during this time in preparation for the colder months ahead. Crappie, in particular, should be biting with a fever, making fall the ideal time to troll for crappie.
In the fall months, I have found the trolling method to be the most affective because crappie have moved away from their inland spawning beds and rejoined their schools in the deeper water. This isn’t to say that you won’t find a straggler taking advantage of the weed cover the shores often times provide, but the majority will be farther out.
Many anglers over complicate trolling for crappie; when in fact, it is a fairly simple method of fishing that does not require elaborate setups or techie gadgets.
An eight foot medium action rod is ideal for trolling for crappie because the length allows you to position multiple lines with ease and the medium action helps in preventing tearing of the delicate crappie mouth when the hook is set. As far as reels go, a medium sized spinner is recommended, but that is personal preference.
The preferred rig I use for trolling in a simple live minnow rig. The basics of the rig consist of small circle hook at the end of the line with a light sinker about a foot up from there. The addition of the sinker will allow you to control the depth the minnow is running more accurately. If you find the minnow is running more shallow than the crappie prefer, you can always add a little more weight.
As we learned with jig fishing, you never want your bait to fall below the depth that the fish are at. Crappie have very good eyesight, however, because of their eye placement they can not see below their bodies.
While is deeper clear water, begin by casting you lines out and positioning your rods so that they will not cross paths. Two off each side of the back and one off of each side of the boat consistently works well; however, this may take a bit of finagling to find out what setup works best for your boat and you.
Begin trolling at a pace of one to two miles per hour, making your way around (not through) underwater weed beds and structures. Keep track of that depth from the top the fish are biting at and what depth from the top that your minnow is being ignored. If you are in an area that should be good or you fish finder is going nuts, but you aren’t catching anything, consider running your minnows closer to the surface because you many be under their line of sight.
When you being to catch multiple crappie in one area, circle around to fish that area again. Crappie are school fish and there is a good chance that if you caught two in a spot there are more with it.
Take advantage of the cooler days and ideal fishing conditions of fall by getting out and trolling for some crappie!
If you found this article interesting, share it with a buddy and comment below. Please visit Lake Fishing Techniques to see what else sparks your interest!