With most of the lakes being dropped to winter pool the crappie are moving trying to find a area that has a stable water level and suitable water temps. When the crappie are moving around like this there will be some crappie in fairly shallow water and some in deeper water. The reason for this is because the crappie will not really relate to or hold to cover for long periods of time as long as the water levels are dropping and unstable.
The crappie will be what a lot of fisherman call being scattered all over the lake. The one thing that you can always count on when trying to find scattered crappie is that if you find the schools of bait fish the bass and crappie will be close to the same area. The falling water makes the schools of bait fish pull away from shore line cover and into and over deeper main lake water and the crappie will follow. This makes the fish hard to pattern because they are not relating to wood or weeds or rocks like they normally do.When you are faced with trying to locate and catch crappie that are scattered one of the best methods can be to troll for them. There are several fish that can be trolled for in the fall with good results at times.
Fish like the musky or the walleye and crappie all can be caught by trolling the right baits in the right locations at the right times. Some guides will use trolling just about altogether in the fall to catch fish. Trolling for fall crappie can be very rewarding if you do a few simple things first. Make sure that you look for the schools of bait fish on your fish finder and try to follow it with your boat as close as you can. And try different types of baits in several different colors. But your bait selection is fairly simple try small tube baits or grubs or the crappie flies. And also be sure to use live minnows in a large and small size also.
I have been trolling live minnows in the late fall early winter for crappie and have caught keeper large mouth and small mouth bass and walleye. So this is always a bonus to keep in mind. You will have to experiment with different size and color baits to try to keep the action going during the day. The rods that work best while trolling are longer light to medium action rods with a good back bone and a light action tip. Use spinning or spin cast reels . Rig up several rods with different artificial baits and some live minnow rigs.
Once you have located a area that you want to fish cast out several rods around the boat and slowly make your way along with the trolling motor or let the wind drift you along. It is not uncommon to have fish on more than one pole at a time. This is when it can get exciting. The key to trolling is to locate a area that has a long or large area of water that you can work in a single pass with out having to set up again. Examples of this is like following a creek channel a stump roll or a bluff wall . Look for these type of areas to fish.
Give trolling a try this fall it can be a very productive way to fish.