Perhaps the single most important factor that affects crappie’s behavior all year round is water temperature. This is why many anglers devote time in determining the water temperature and studying crappie water temperature guide.
If you know how crappies behave according to water temperature and what temp do crappie spawn in, you’ll know where to find them at any time of the year. In our crappie water temperature guide, you’ll learn all the basics you need to know about crappie depth by temperature.
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Crappie Spawning Season
The crappie spawning season is spring, a period of intense feeding and breeding activity for female and male crappie. When crappies are actively feeding, they will nip at any bait that looks like it’s apart of their natural diet. Male crappies are also in an aggressive mood defending their eggs, so they will also aggressively bite your bait if they perceive it as a threat.
Crappies spawn in the shallows, but the water temp largely dictates whether you’ll find them in the shallows or deeper water.
Crappie Depth by Temperature: Shallows During Warm, Depth When Cold
The general rule of thumb when it comes to crappie depth by temperature is they swim in the shallows when the water is warm and in the deeper parts when it’s cold.
As the crappie spawning season starts out, crappies start to swim towards the shallows. They use the water temp as a guide on when to move on to various parts of the lake. When the water temperature starts warming up and reaches 45-50 degrees, crappies start congregating around the entrances and egresses of creek channels.
Then when the water temperature reaches 50-55 degrees, they will then start moving towards more shallow secondary bays and creeks. They use these channels as “highways”. It’s a good idea to troll or cast for crappie using minnows or grubs around isolated brush, small pockets, and stumps.
As the water reaches a 55-60 degree water temp range, the male crappies will be in the shallows. They will start looking and fanning out spawning beds while the females go to nearby deeper water structures to stage.
The perfect temperature for spawning is 62 to 65 degrees. At this point, female crappies swim around bushy covers while the males stay by the nests. When the temperature reaches 70 to 75 degrees, females will return to the deeper water structures where they staged before. However, the males stay behind to guard their nests.
When fall comes around the corner and the water starts to cool down, crappie will return to the creek channels where they will feed heavily for the upcoming winter season. They will bite into jigs, grubs, live minnows, and almost any crappie bait around this time.
Key Takeaways: Crappie Water Temperature Guide Tips
*There are water temp ranges where you’ll find crappie in the creeks, bays, and shallows. As the water gets warmer, crappie move towards the shallows to spawn.
*The general crappie depth temperature principle is shallow when warm, and deeper when cold.
*What temp do crappie spawn? Around 60 to 65 degrees.
Crappie depth by temperature will play a huge role in your crappie fishing success. Keeping in mind this crappie water temperature guide will help you spot and catch male and female crappie during the crappie spawning season.