Fall Peak Crappies

Fall Peak Crappies

Fall Peak CrappiesFall means great crappie fishing, even if few anglers get out and enjoy it. Lindy pro staffer and longtime Northwoods guide Jeff Sundin takes full advantage of the opportunities, however, and shares a few tips to help you tackle autumn slabs, too.

Both location and presentation are simple and straightforward during the peak of the fall bite. In fact, Sundin says it’s easier to find large schools of crappies now than it is to track down scattered fish during the summer.

From late September through mid-October, weedbed die-offs and cooling water temperatures encourage crappies to congregate along the first drop-off outside the deep weedline. Inside corners and edges of deep holes close to shore can be hotspots, particularly areas with woody cover.

After pinpointing a pod of panfish on sonar, Sundin hovers overhead with his trolling motor, often shadowing a school as it moves along the break.

Tightlining a jig is hard to beat in this scenario. Sundin swears by a variety of leadheads, including Lindy’s time-tested Little Nipper. Lindy’s Watsit and Fuzz-E-Grub are also safe bets, and ice fishing jigs like the Slick Jig, Frostee Spoon and Rattl’n Flyer Spoon produce fish as well.

One of Sundin’s patented moves is dancing the jig slightly above the school, lowering it to the fish and then raising it again. He also drops the jig to bottom and slowly reels it upward, pausing the retrieve every 12 inches or so.

Once the fall peak fades, crappies often move out to deep holes offshore, often in depths of 25 to 35 feet. Sundin says the same jigging tactics hold water, although he notes that when crappies become most active early and late in the day, winter is just around the corner.

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