Sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate with your fishing trip. So you’ve been cooped up waiting to go crappie fishing but it just won’t stop raining. Then, when it finally does and you hit the water – you can’t catch anything!
This is something that happens to a lot of amateur and even professional anglers. Fish will often act very differently after a good rain. Sometimes it seems like they won’t bite anything you put in front of them.
But you still can catch crappie after a rain, though it may be more difficult than you expect. Follow these tips and you’ll for sure increase your chance of catching a mess of crappy after a good rainfall.
What will crappie do after a rain?
To understand how to catch crappie after a rain, you first have to know what they will do after a rain and where they go.
When a cold front with significant rainfall comes through, it not only pours down inches or rain that wash into the body of water over the next several days, but also usually decreases the overall temperature as well.
So any fishery will cool down significantly after rainfall. The rainwater is usually cooler than the water in the fishery, and the overall decrease in temperature and sunlight will naturally make the water in the fishery itself cool. Crappie, like most fish, don’t like sudden decreases in water temperature.
The sudden decrease in temperature will normally make them head for deeper water, which holds more warmth. It also is a more secure feeling area for crappie, who being cold-blooded will have decreased body temps themselves. This makes them want to hold onto safe areas, rather than searching around for prey.
What does that mean for fishermen?
After a rain, crappie will hold deeper than where you expect and won’t be searching around for food. When fishing, you need active fish looking for a meal to get bites. So you see why fishing after a rain can be difficult.
The key becomes finding the right bait, the right area, and most important – being patient.
If you know the path that crappie normally run in your fishery, you’ll find crappie are usually easy to find. Just go back to what they were doing a couple weeks ago – and chances are you’ll find them around there. Crappie run areas seasonally, so when the water drops they normally just go back to where they had been earlier that season.
But if you don’t know that information, the best place to find crappie that have moved after a rain is around creek channel swings. The creek channel is the safe highway they use to move up and down a fishery, meaning they feel secure here and it’s a good way to move in and out of deeper water as the temps drop and then rise again. Swings or bends seem to attract all kinds of fish as good stopping places as well.
If you don’t have luck there, the ends of very deep points are also a good place to find crappie that don’t retreat all the way back to creek channels. Sometimes they will just pull off a point their on into the deepest part of it, waiting out the cold temps so they can move back up and feed more.
The best baits for crappie after a rain
So you know where they are, but how do you catch them? After all they aren’t looking to feed, so you have to pick something they just can’t resist.
For me, this is almost always a live minnow. I’m a very big proponent of using crappie lures when you can rather than using live bait. They’re more cost effective, more enjoyable, and makes for a fun experience finding just the right lure to catch a big mess. But when the fishing is tough, nothing will be a live minnow swimming around right in front of their face.
You will want to be patient too, and using a live minnow is great for that. You can troll around in little circles or just hover above a bunch of crappie you know are below you. Drop the line to the right depth, just over their heads, and wait. They won’t be aggressive, but after a while even the most stubborn crappie won’t be able to help themselves.
You can also try other techniques like float n fly, or try bright jigs that you can continually jig in front of their face. These can work on occasion, and sometimes the bright color of a jig will be enticing, but I find live minnows almost always outperforms them.
Remember water clarity after a rain
Something you may need to pay attention to as well after a rain is water clarity. Generally, most fisheries get a little dirtier after a rain because of all the rainwater washing in mud and debris. Crappie don’t like muddy water in most cases, and will hold tight to cover to feel secure in water they don’t see very well in.
This means that finding cover in areas your fishing can be very important after a rain too. If there is a big thick brush pile in a channel swing or off the end of a point – that’s likely where crappie will be hiding after a rain if the water turns muddy.
Other types of cover that crappie will hold to includes boat dock pilings, bridge pilings, or tree stumps. The great part of crappie that hold tight to structure is it gives you a very accurate location to cast or drop a lure to. The bad part of crappie holding tight is they don’t like to move out.
So when you do find muddy water after a rain, get right into the thickest or most sturdy part of whatever cover you’re fishing. Crappie are likely to be deep in brush piles, right against pilings, etc. And they won’t move for much, so you need to get your lure as close as possible to get bites.
Helpful gear to catch crappie after it rains
Now you know everything you need about how to approach crappie fishing after a rain. But there is some additional equipment I suggest having that will make your fishing trip even better.
A fish finder is a necessity if you want to be able find crappie quickly after a rain. Because they are in deeper water, finding signs of life without seeing under the water is very hard. So if you don’t have one, consider buying something like the IBobber. It’s great because it connects to your phone and is castable, meaning it can be used in a canoe, kayak, or even from shore.
Since you should be using live bait, also consider a nice bait bucket like the Frabill Bait Bucket which will keep your minnows alive longer and make them easier to handle. Since crappie won’t want to feed anyways, you need nice lively minnows to really entice a bite. Nothing is sure to turn a crappie off like a half-dead minnow just floating. Keep your minnows lively with a nice bait bucket and you’ll be thankful later.
It can be tough to catch crappie after a rain. But if you use all the knowledge in this article next time you’re fishing after a rain, you might be surprised how many crappie you catch!
Just remember that they are likely to have fallen off into creek channels or deep off points and will not be active. So fish in deeper water, be patient, and use live bait to really entice those crappie to bite. You can catch a mess of crappie if you fire up the right school doing this.
Check out these articles about crappie fishing if you found this informative!