Hi Mr. Thompson,
There is a wide range of water temperatures that crappie excel in, with the optimum temperatures ranging from 55 to 75 degrees. The temperature really just dictates where the crappie will be and what activity they will be engaging in. For example, from 55 to 75 degrees, crappie will be in the pre-spawn mode moving into different areas along the way and feeding heavily no matter where you find them. Eating is on their mind and they are the easiest to catch in this temperature range. At temps below 55 degrees, they would be located in the main body of the lake and in the deepest tributaries. They will be deep and tight to the bottom. You would work your baits slow and the bite would be light. They are not in the eating mood and it is hard to even trigger them to get a reaction strike. At temps around 75 to 80 degrees, they are in their spawn and around the nesting areas. Obviously the male crappie will protect the nests. They will strike baits and lures to protect the beds.
At 80 to 90 degrees and above, crappie are post-spawn and are the hardest to catch. You may locate them, but getting them to eat is difficult at best. These crappie usually are suspended and not in the eating mood because they are very tired from the spawn. You have to trigger a reaction strike out of them. Of course there is a travel pattern for these crappie - you follow them through the temperature changes to their different locations.Thank you for sending in your question to The Online Fisherman.
Captain David M Rieumont
The Online Fisherman Inc.