Are you ever out fishing for crappie when all of a sudden they just stop biting? Or maybe you did really good the day before but when you go back they seem to have disappeared? I had this happen to me recently, so I’ve been doing some research and here is everything I found as to why crappie stop biting.
Crappie may stop biting for these 4 reasons: 1. They were spooked by the angler or another predator, 2. They followed their food source elsewhere, 3. They are moving in relation to cold or hot weather, 4. They have been under too much pressure.
Now I want to go more in depth with these 4 reasons. Let’s talk about how to avoid them and what you can do to get back on some fish!
1. Crappie Stop Biting if They’re Spooked
This is probably one of the biggest reasons that crappie stop biting suddenly. This is why it is so important to remain stealth especially if the water is clear.
Stay out of view
The chances are, if you can see the crappie, then they can probably see you as well. Fortunately crappie aren’t as skittish as most other fish. This means you can probably just back away a little to get out of sight, then start fishing again.
If you are in a boat, try not to walk around, or drop things. Sound can transfer through the bottom of the boat and into the water surprisingly well.
It May Not Be Your Fault
Crappie have a number of predators besides humans. One of their main predators are birds. If there is an osprey or eagle flying around overhead, the crappie may head for deeper water. A bird’s shadow moving across a school of crappie can send them hiding especially if they are smaller fish in shallow water.
Their other predators are bass and catfish. Flatheads in particular like live crappie. Occasionally, one of these predators might swim by the school of crappie, spooking them and causing them to stop biting for a few minutes. Sometimes as the sun goes down, the catfish become more active and may be spooking all your fish away.
I have a good bluegill spot where I can catch a bunch of bluegill during the day, but as soon as the sun hits the horizon, the bluegill bite stops instantly and I start catching small channel catfish for the rest of the night.
If you are interested in catching bluegill, check out my favorite homemade bluegill bait!
2. Crappie Stop Biting When They Follow Their Food Source Elsewhere
Crappie are some pretty serious predator fish. They may not be at the top of the food chain, but they still have quite a few creatures below them.
They love eating smaller fish like minnows, and shad, as well as worms, bugs and beetles. They can usually be found around these food sources picking off the stragglers, or foraging for bugs.
For example, If they are preying on a school of shad, those shad will be moving around depending on water temperature as well as where their food source is going. These smaller fish are eating tiny zooplankton which is rising and falling in the water column throughout the day.
If the crappie stop biting, try adjusting your depth. They may have simply moved either deeper or shallower to follow the shad. If changing the depth doesn’t work, then maybe try moving to another similar area of the pond or lake and see if you can relocate the school.
3. Crappie Stop Biting With Drastic Weather Changes
Weather conditions usually don’t change to the extent that they’ll stop the crappie from biting mid-day. This is more likely to have an effect over night, or over the course of a few days. So maybe one day you are catching crappie every cast, then the next day a cold front comes in and you can’t get a bite.
This is most likely to happen during the changing of the seasons, especially spring time. Your area may get a week of hot weather that brings out the crappie, then get hit by an early spring snow storm and the fish will hunker down.
The Power of Rain
Rain storms in particular can have a powerful effect on the water temperatures. On one hand a warm spring rain can raise water temps and make fish more active. But on the other hand a cold rain or sleet will drop the temperatures fast.
Simply pay attention to the weather. If your area has been having a cold spell, look for crappie to me a little deeper, and try slowing down your presentation. If waters are warming, then head to shallower water.
4. Crappie Stop Biting When They Are Pressured
The fourth common reason crappie stop biting is because they are starting to wise up. They have seen too many of their friends disappear after eating those funny looking jigs.
If You Can Move Spots…
If you have a boat, or a lot of bank access, then just move down and try another spot. You may have just caught all the aggressive fish in that school and it’s time to find another school of aggressive fish.
If You Can’t Move Spots…
Places such as near docks and boat ramps get the most fishing pressure. But if you don’t have a boat, you may be stuck to those spots. If the crappie are there, you can still catch them. Just try to figure out what baits are the most common and try something else.
A lot of families and kids will fish around docks using worms and minnows. So maybe try some small jigs. When I’m fishing highly pressured fish, the solution is usually to go small with your baits. Try a small 1/32 oz. jig and make sure you are using a light line like a 2-4 pound test. If you are using a bobber, go with the smallest bobber you have.
Go All Natural
Another solution could be to use natural baits. If the crappie are used to getting caught on minnows and worms, then maybe you can try crickets, grasshoppers, or wax worms. You can usually find these for cheap at a pet store. Fish these under a bobber with a small splitshot to hold them under.
Sometimes the solution may be as simple as changing colors. If you are fishing jigs, you can get all sorts of color combinations. It’s easy to switch colors around until you find exactly what the crappie want.
There are a number of reasons why crappie may stop biting. They could be spooked, pressured or have just changed locations. Start by changing depth and presentation. If you still aren’t getting bit, try a new spot.
As you know, crappie are aggressive ambush predators and can be tons of fun to catch. Catching crappie is worth putting in a little work and not giving up!
Hope this information helps. Have fun out there!