Advanced Crappie Night Fishing Tactics

night crappie fishing success

How To Catch Crappies At Night

Where To Catch CALICO Bass

WHen To Catch Specs Without getting a burn

Want a secret?

The difference between a Crappie &  Spec & Calico….

Trick questions they are all the same fish. Depending on your region you will hear all these names.


One of the most enjoyable summer activities is fishing at night. If you’ve ever tried getting up at the crack of dawn to throw a top-water out for bass, you know it can still can be miserably hot in many states during summer. Night fishing is a whole different experience.

While you can try to fish for crappies during the day, fishing like Richard Gene does take its toll.

However, tossing out a few lines in the cool of night provides needed relief from summer’s daytime heat. Crappie tend to like the cooler water at night, anyway.

In full sunlight, crappie tend to be more difficult to catch because they spread out and roam more in the day . Fishing at night gives you an added advantage versus fishing in full sunlight… Less boat traffic and no jet skiers. PLUS If you are smart about your night fishing strategy, you might just reach your catch limit before midnight!

In this article, we will cover tips for catching more crappie than your buddies could dream with a whole sweaty day on the water within the few nighttime hours your boat glides under the moonlight.


LDO10 Fishing Light

What is the difference between night & Day fishing


Night time is usually quiet, calm and not hot (relative to daytime). There tends to be much fewer boats, skiers—you name it. By night fishing, one can fish after work and leave the weekends for the family outings.

At night, especially for crappies, the they will group closer together which makes it easier to catch them… once you have found them. 


Fishermen seek advantages to catching fish for food. The game fish try to use to their advantages too, in their own elements as they catch their food. To win at their own game, your plan will involve providing a light where plankton or shrimp can congregate, thereby attracting game fish. Scientific research has proven that the food chain’s eyes are sensitive to colors of blue and green. The reason is that fish have lived in blue to greenish waters for centuries. When choosing a light, make sure it will not disrupt their expectations, or you will detract rather than attract.

Crappie Fishing Tip #1

Pro fishermen have known for a long time that light tends to attract fish, shrimp, and insects at night. Green or blue lights are the best choice when you want to use light. Also the more intense the light source, the better. Example: A white light will work well because it is part of the blue and green color spectrum but will not really penetrate the water column. Also white will attract more bugs, as opposed to green or blue lights.


You also want to consider the significant fraction of light that is lost by deflection if considering above water lighting. Despite the excellent brightness above water, it will not be available to attract fish and their food chain. 

Try this: Take a flashlight and hold it at a 45-degree angle toward the water. Shine the light on the water, and you will see that the light rays will bounce upwards into the trees. Very small amounts of the light is absorbed beyond the surface. The same effect will happen underwater, the light will bounce from the underside of the waters back down creating a mushroom effect. Your optimal choice is a below-surface lighting mechanism.


Many considerations should be made to avoid any light related dangers. Fumes, battery draw, cost are just naming a few. LED lights are becoming the most popular fishing light, for light penetration and cost effectiveness. Your purchase results in ultimate luminosity. LED lights have a (17 year) life expectancy, and are very rugged, with very little amp draw.


Where to Fish & How to fish

Picking You Lake

Choosing a lake is one of the first steps in planning a good night crappie fishing trip. Ideal lakes should be deep and clear with an area of at least 500 acres. There should be plenty of brush and debris under the water for crappie to hide.  In addition, there should be plenty of structures and changes in depth along the shoreline.

Crappie Fishing Points

The worst water for crappie fishing in the summer is in shallow, warm water.  This water quickly gets deprived of oxygen, and the fish can sometimes scatter or go completely dormant.  This makes for some pretty rough fishing. Stick to deeper, colder water for a good oxygen supply. Use this guideline along with advice from local fisherman, bait shops, ranger stations, and online forums to determine the best lake for your trip.

Anchor or Troll

This is a hot debate at night. In general trolling does work well with vibrating lures but extra caution must be takes and it is hard to see things at night and conditions can change on you very quickly.

I prefer and recommend that you anchor up. Use your fish finder and  trolling motor to either find the fish or good fish catching structure. Once there anchor up and get ready for a good time.

In either case It is vital that you do some scouting during daylight hours to determine where you will fish when darkness falls.  In addition, you do not want just one spot to fish. As you scout, find a few backup spots to move to if needed. At night, you will find crappie grouping in areas where the bottom of the lake drops suddenly.  These ledges along the bottom can be found along creek and river channels, points, and ridges. Use a bottom-contour map of the lake to find these.

Crappie Fishing Tip #2


Once you have found these locations on the map, it is time to hit the water.  Move your boat to these areas and use a sonar device to determine the exact coordinates of the break-lines.  Use a fish-finder to identify brush, treetops, stumps, and rocks that crappie will use to hide. Once you have found that your map and location choices are suitable, drop buoys in these spots so that they will be easy to access later that night.



In-boat lighting is very important when fishing for crappie at night.  Double check your running lights to ensure they are working. In addition, have a flashlight or spotlight handy to signal other boats if needed, and to see what you are doing as you fish (the moonlight isn’t always sufficient).  It is best to use both a headlamp and a flashlight, so you can keep your hands free if needed. You will also need a life jacket and a kill switch for your engine for safety.

Q&A For Bigger fish


Live Bait vs Artificial


Crappie when the bight is hot will eat anything! Even a BARE HOOK. So the answer is it depends. I have found that if I have kids with me I will get live bait because 97.134% of the time it will lead me to catching at least some kind of fish

As you can see below the light brings in tons of bait. If it is legal in your state I would recommend you bring a dip net and scoop up the bait for free!

Most times I fish artificial. A great grub bait or tube jig will normally lead to a great night of fishing.


Motion vs No Motion

No Motion

Jigging vs Casting




The use of white light from any source assumes that a broad-spectrum light propagates well in water. But… It doesn’t. Pure water looks blue and it passes blue and green light with very little absorption. Typical lake, bay or offshore water is not pure, but contains various dissolved organic matter, photo-synthetic pigments and particulate material.

Salt has very little effect on light absorption, but the other ingredients do. Tests reveal that light between 450 and 550 nm (nano meters) transmits through lake, bay or offshore water with the least attenuation. Other wavelengths of light, especially near the low, infra-red end, are dramatically absorbed. Green light has a wavelength around 525 nm, near the center of the range, thus green light propagates better than other colors in both fresh or salt water. Rather than waste energy by using broad-spectrum white light, your best success will come using green light.

New moon is the best moon. Full moons are not great for night crappie fishing. The catch will be a lot more exciting as close to the new moon as you can get.

Anchor and wait. The object of fishing at night is to target your attraction methods for zooplankton, then minnows, then game fish. You will therefore be working with nature to reap the most benefits.

To be most effective, the boat should be anchored in the front AND back, to attract the zoo plankton. Otherwise, your boat will pivot around the one anchor with that beautiful summer evening breeze. The zoo plankton will have a hard time staying with the boat in those conditions, thereby not allowing your minnows to school up.

When anchoring, make sure that the anchor is lowered slowly to avoid scaring your game fish. In addition, avoid having the anchor disturb the brush cover, as game fish could already be located in the brush piles. Again, working with nature.

HOT TIP: Take a long handled minnow net with you. Once your light has been deployed over the water for 30 minutes, you will be able to catch live minnows to use as bait. To work optimally, they need to be used straight out of the lake as opposed to having been brought from home base.

Anywhere crappies live! Use the internet and other fishing research tools (or the advice of local fishermen) to find your best locations. There are so many elements to finding a successful lake full of crappie, so be sure to make a plan based on recent information.

Wrap Up

Get out and enjoy fishing is the goal.

Regardless of how you fish for crappies just get out and give it a try.


Read More About Night Fishing For Crappies

Night Fishing – Crappie Fishing At Night



Take a friend fishing

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