View Full Version : White Crappie/Black Crappie

Sam W.
10-01-2004, 03:04 PM
Hi, everyone. I haven't been around for a while, but I'm back.

Maybe someone here can help me with something that's puzzled me all summer. The lake I usually fish has about 80% white crappie and 20% black crappie. Both species bunch up near cove entrances before the spring spawn, and we caught a lot of them then in that ratio.

After the spawn, the whites bunched up off rocky banks near coves in about 18 feet of water. We caught a lot of white crappie during June, and just an occasional isolated black crappie.

In July, August, and September with surface water temps between 78 and 82, the white crappie disappeared completely. I'd pick up an occasional isolated black crappie suspended in about 30 feet of water, but no whites at all.

As of yesterday, the surface water temp is down to 74 and black crappie are moving into flooded stumps in as much as 28 and as little as 3 feet of water. The black crappie aren't bunched up, just 1 or 2 of them on a stump and not many stumps are productive at all.

The black crappie here always run bigger than the white crappie. I got a couple of 14 inchers yesterday, but they're very scattered and fishing is slow. The white crappie still haven't made an appearance, and I haven't caught one since June.

So, I've wondered all summer where all those white crappie went. About the only place they could be is in the deep channels, which go down to about 45 feet, but there's a thermocline at about 20-25 feet and the 'scope shows nothing below it. And if they're suspended out there they sure aren't biting, I've tried.

What do you think about all this, and will those "missing" white crappie come into the brush near the banks as the fall weather cools?

10-01-2004, 03:24 PM
For every hundred crappie I catch, I may have one white crappie. I dont guess we have many of them where I fish. Usually when I do catch one, it's bigger than the black crappie.

10-05-2004, 03:00 PM
Welcome back buddy !
Take a look at the Crappie Tagging Study on the KDFWR website ... some interesting info about the "whereabouts" of the two species of Crappie, and the misconception of most Crappie anglers about where they "should be".
I've found, especially at Watts Bar, in the Fall - the Black Crappie tend to come in shallow (around brush & docks), but the White Crappie tend to stay out in the deeper water (channel brushpiles). Both will come up shallower in the water column (like suspending 10ft down in 20ft of water)....it's just that the Black Crappie seem to come closer to the bank structure, while the White Crappie stay oriented to the channels. Both are "staging" for the Shad migration, back into the backs of the creeks/bays - they just seem to pick different ambush areas along that route.
I've had better luck catching White Crappie in the late Spring to late Summer period, here on my home waters, by fishing downed trees on deep banks - in the wee hours of the AM (from first light til the Sun shines on the water above the tree). They seem to suspend over the tree, down 8-12ft in 18-25ft of water. Once the Sun gets up, they drop a little deeper - until the Sun shines on the water's surface above the tree ... then they seem to leave the area. But, my home lake is a much smaller lake than Watts Bar .... down there it seems the White Crappie move out to the channels and are most often caught at night over deep brush piles, under lights.
Hopefully some of this makes some sense and sheds some light on your question....LOL!! ....................cp

The link to the KDFWR Crappie Tagging/Movement Study is: