Winter is great time for catching crappie

December 28, 2013

It wouldn’t be December if I did not write about winter crappie fishing.

Catching crappie in the winter can be the best time to chase these tasty little slabs. Many fishermen, even experienced ones, believe you can not catch crappie anytime except the springtime.

Just look at the anglers up north who catch crappie through the ice. If they can catch them, we certainly can catch them here.

The key to catching more crappie in the winter months is just like fishing for any other species. You need to understand their seasonal habits and how to locate them.

Right now many anglers are catching limits of crappie in the river above Whitney on small minnows and jigs. The fishing house in Juniper Cove on Whitney is also a great place to catch crappie.

To catch winter crappie, start your search along old submerged creek and river channels or points and dropoffs in the 15 to 30 foot depths. Using a good quality depth finder will help you.

What you want to be on the lookout for is brush/structure along these channels. Crappie will be holding somewhere around that brush.

Some days the crappie might be holding tight to the brush or trees. If this is the case, you’ll have to work a jig in tight. This is where a graphite rod and light line will come in handy so you can “feel” your way around. You might lose some jigs and fish, but that is part of fishing timber.

Using a minnow during these times can be tricky as the minnow will tangle you up in the trees or brush. Find an open space where you can present the bait close to the trees/structure and not lose your tackle.

If you don’t have a boat, look at deep water marinas. Fish these marinas and you will catch fish. Just make sure you have permission to fish these docks.

Another place bank fishermen can try for winter crappie is anywhere a bridge crosses over a lake. In some cases, the bridge will be over a creek or river channel. This is where you’ll have to experiment with minnows below slip floats to find the depth the crappies are holding.

In actuality, fishing for crappie during the winter months may be easiest time to predict their location (deeper holes and drop-offs). On lake Benbrook, which is known for its crappie population, crappie are congregated near the rip rap by the dam on humps just off the dam. Many days you will see many anglers with their spider rigs chasing crappie.

Crappies are usually near structure, but this is not always the case especially in summer and winter when they are deep. They may be suspended in deep water. Work several depths until you find where they will bite.

The best bridges are the ones with piers out in deep water near the edge of the channel. Try drifting jigs or minnows right up against these piers. Vary the depth of your crappie jig and minnow until you find the crappie.

Winter crappies are not as aggressive chasing bait as they are during the spring. This means you’ll have to move your bait slowly or very little.

They are also light biters during the winter. Many times you’ll just feel a little extra pressure on the line when they hit. Again, a good sensitive graphite rod with real light line will help you put fish in the boat.

If you’re using a slip float, I suggest the tiny quill or pencil floats. Watch them closely because it can be difficult to tell when you’re getting a hit or if the minnow is swimming around.

On really warm winter days, you may find crappie a little scattered on flats next to river and creek channels in a lake. That is a good reason to fish the ledge and work back and forth from the flat to the dropoff.

Catching winter crappie is not magic. Many anglers focus on these fish this time of the year. Use a little patience and you will put fish in the livewell.


Granbury water temperatures are in the middle 40s. Water levels came up a few inches with the recent rain but we are still close to nine feet low.

Sand bass have been reported as good near Hunter Park, but be careful navigating that way. Stay in the channel. Some catches are also being reported near deCordova subdivision. Look for birds to point you the way.

Squaw Creek black bass fishing has slowed making bass angler trying to understand the slowdown. Tilapia continue to be caught on this power plant lake in numbers. Best bait for tilapia is worms under a float.

Hybrids and sand bass are good on Lake Lewisville on soft plastics and slabs. Texoma stripers continue to be excellent to 15 pounds on soft plastics fished under the birds. Best action is on the north end or the west end by the 377 bridge.

Possum Kingdom sand bass are good on the upper ends near Costello island.

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Category: Sports Archived