Crappie and bass anglers often consider fishing to be at its best in early morning, but spring fishing can be more successful in the late afternoon and early evening. Early in the season, water usually takes three days after a cold front before it warms significantly enough to increase crappie and bass activity.
Because water warmer than 40oF is more buoyant than cooler water, spring warming creates a shallow, warmer layer of water late in the day on the downwind side of a lake. Other factors being the same, the north side will warm more quickly than the south side of the lake. Although air will cool quickly after sunset, water retains its heat for quite some time. Because of the warmer water and better predatory efficiency of crappie and bass during low light conditions, these fish feed more aggressively in the late afternoon and early evening during the spring.
Early season crappie fishing begins when daffodil leaves push their way out of the soil, usually in February. These early season crappie can be caught in shallow water, especially around woody debris and in vegetation over a hard bottom near deeper water. Often some of the year"s best catches occur at this time. For anglers unable to fish during the day, night fishing can be excellent as fish move into a lake's tributaries.