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Genofish

Crappie movement during the day/night

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Do Crappies move shallow or deeper at night?

I was fishing a lake today and catching crappies in 40+ feet & suspended. I notice a lake home owner came down a hour before sunset and setup close to shore, about 15" of water.It looked like they have done this many times before. I had to leave before dark.

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Being no expert, I can give you my experiences. Fish once they find a "comfort level" they may cruise at the level to approach a feeding flat. I have marked fish at a certain level and then punched several holes and followed them to a nearby flat. So if you are catching fish suspended lets say 20 feet down over 40 feet, these same fish will move horizontially towards a flat at the 20 foot level to feed.

As for as movement in the water column vertically, I have noticed as the sun sets the higher in the water column they fish tend to be, I believe it has something to do with the zoo plankton in the water maybe reacting to the lights in your house. I have seen some of my best catching days and nights at the sunrise and sunset times, catching some huge Pannies only 5-8 feet under the ice in water up to 30 feet deep.

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Lately I've been getting crappies after dark in about 16 ft. I can see them in the shallow weeds during the day but when it gets dark the move out on the edge of the weedline and go on a feeding frenzy.

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I think it depends on what they're eating. I've fished lakes where they move in shallow at night and are looking for big baits, so I surmised that they were chasing down minnows in the shallows using their nighttime vision advantage. In other lakes, they suspend over flats and holes after dark and seem to be waiting for a zooplankton or insect group to move into the middle water column.

The one thing I think you can say is they definitely do move. They have their day time and night time spots, and they are a notoriously active night time fish, so if you know those spots, you've got them figured out. Even if you don't, you might find a good spot to intercept those fish. I hear a lot of guys talking about going out and marking 3-4 fish, catching a couple, and that's it. Some of them are smart enough to move around and try and stay on top of that school, and some of them can find the school's final destination. But if you sit tight, you might not mark another fish after they've passed through.

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have to agree with da chise, i mainly fish for crappies in two different lakes. in the spring on one lake where they aggresively bite shalllow during the day and rarely catch them in the same spot after dark. in another lake during oct. they actively feed shallow at night and just nibble during the day, i have seen them with an underwater camera just stacked up but just sitting there giving me the finger. both lakes are similar size, shape, and structure. i have just been lucky/smart enough to have figured out patterns for a particular lake at a particular time of the year.

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Like most fish, I think crappies are most active during early morning and dusk into evening hours. I think crappies will move based on forage availability. The fish will move where the food is. Early in the year I think forage is more plentiful and easier to locate. Crappies love minnows so I think they will chase minnows up into shallower water or on top of flats where it is easier to ambush their prey. As winter presses on and minnows scatter and become more scarse, the crappies search out other forage like plankton and other small invertebrates. This is when crappies may move more often and to greater distances. I think they work deeper areas later in the year because that is where the most food is located.

I still think if you can find cover you can find fish. If you can figure out what crappies are eating you can better determine where to try fishing and what baits will be most successful.

Im no expert but just read a lot of magazines and things. Hopefully Matt Johnson or someone with more knowledge can elaborate or correct me if im wrong.

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As Dave Genz says "no rules of location fit all lakes". I've caught crappies in 7' with 3' of weeds in one lake during the day and caught them in 30' at night in a different lake at night on the same day. Learn your lake, those locals probably know where the fish are. Beat them to there spot or find one that is simmilar.

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As other have said, its really a lake to lake thing. I know of many lakes, where the crappie fishing is better during the day than it is a night.. Which is uncommon. But the truth... Follow the bait is the only set in stone thing I have ever found.!

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Small minnows.. Zoo plankton, sometimes you can see em when you drill a hole. Other times you can see it on your depth finder... Your depth finder will sparkle rather than show up like a normal fish.

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I know of many lakes, where the crappie fishing is better during the day than it is a night.. Which is uncommon. But the truth...

This is true on my favorite couple of crappie lakes.

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Yep. me to. Been fishing from around 1 till 4 in the afternoon in 18 ft of water.

Havnt fished the night bite yet so I dont know how its been.

Others have been staying out later then me, just havnt talked to them about it.

Duck

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I've been fishing crappies for most of my life, and I can honestly say that i've never noticed much of a change in crappie movement towards dusk. This may be due to the lakes i've fished, but the bite definately does decrease when the sun goes down. I would probably move closer to where the local guy fishes, but if your marking a good amount of crappies it doesn't pay to move to far.

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