December is here, the time that most crappie fishermen begin hanging up their rods and trading in their early Saturday mornings for more sleep and a warm house. Not only is the air temperature cold, but the water temperature has dropped below 55 degrees and the fish have moved into their deep winter patterns. I can understand with the cold temperatures why fishermen hang up their crappie rods, but do not let it be because you think the crappie do not bite. Winter is a great time to catch crappie; you just need to know where to fish and what technique to use.
If there is one motto every fisherman should know about fishing success it is “location, location, location.” Every time the season changes, so do the fish. During the winter months crappie move back out into deeper water, depths of 12-35′. The pattern I use to catch crappie in December is creek channel ledges. This is a very simple and probably the most favored style of fishing during the winter months. The best way to fish creek channels is to start at the mouth of the creek and fish your way back. You want to maneuver slowly through different depths of the channel drop but ultimately stay on the drop. Crappie concentrate on creek channels because it allows them to follow bait into shallower and deeper water with little effort.
Now that you know of a successful pattern to try, let’s go over what you want to fish with. Two baits that are successful are jigs (with a tube) and live minnows. When fishing creek channels, I prefer fishing both at once. Tie your jig to the end of your line and then tie your hook with a minnow 5′ above it. This will allow you to find out faster what depth the fish are and which bait they prefer. You can either jig your baits, or let them sit still.
I understand why some fisherman hang up their rods in December, but creek channels hold large concentrations of crappie, and when the temperature gets cold I get excited about crappie fishing. The nice part about fishing in the winter is that you practically have the whole lake to yourself. Also, with the three different styles of fishing, there is always somewhere else to try and something more to learn. So this December, when you think about hanging up those rods, decide to go out a few more times and try some of these patterns. I think you will enjoy it a whole lot more than you think!