I love catching crappie, and there is no better place to catch them than around piers and docks. The fall season is usually best to fish in the clearer, deeper lakes around piers.
The Best Time of Year for Pier Fishing
In waters with color, pier action for crappie will often last much longer throughout the year. First some basics; wood piers are generally more productive than those of metal. Piers lower to the water are better than high ones since they provide more shade. Piers with adjacent weed and or wood cover are better than the ones on cleaner bottoms. And piers with more "character" such as cross beams, ladders, or anything else, rather than up and down straight supports, tend to be more productive. Piers that go out the farthest, or end closer to deeper water also have a higher rating.
Harbors and Shorelines for Crappie
In harbors or along shorelines where the banks aren't straight, the ideal piers are the one that have wind or current blowing into shaded areas. That way a float and jig (or minnow) can be pitched just up-wind and allowed to drift into the pier. A 7-foot or longer rod is a plus here so you can keep your line from drifting into the wood.
If possible I like to walk the piers. If fishing from a boat, we will usually hold stationary off the end of a good complex, or slowly work into the wind when covering more ground. You don't want to have a tailwind and blow right past a good area.
In the coldest waters or when crappies aren't very active, I use a small weighted foam float with a 1/64 ounce jig dressed with a small sliver of plastic many call a "weggie". These were invented by "Plastic Joe" Moreau out of Racine, Wisconsin. He sells them for 100 for $5.00. In bait shops they are 5 or 10 for $1.00. You can view a color chart or order at -1-262-544-8830.
Once fish get more active the smallest minnows possible are usually best. After that various jigs and a little larger minnows come into play. Two other tips-watch for piers with a lot of stuff on them such as seats, lights, stringers, pole holders, etc. fishermen live there and often have planted cover around their dock. Also in summer and through fall piers that have night lights are often crappie magnets. Look for crappies right at the edges of light penetration a very small bobber and minnow or even an un-weighted tail-hooked minnow usually work best.
Just be quiet.
More tips and strategies for all of your fishing needs here!