It's amazing how many people think Crappie only spend the Spawn roaming around shallow water. Not true ! Here in Kansas, If you know what to look for, and where to look for it at, you can stay on Slab Crappie all Summer long and into early Fall without ever having to fish any deeper than 8 ft of water. My Tournament partner, Don Beckstrom and I have been focusing on the 3 to 8 ft range and have done well enough with that pattern this Summer to be sitting 5th out of 43 Teams in the KCC Team of the Year Points Race,....Yep, you read that right, 5th in points and fishing no deeper than 8 ft since May. The fish Don caught that pulled down the win for us at the Big Fish Shootout on Eldorado recently, a 1.47 lb fish, was caught in 2.7 ft of water next to an old hedge tree,...in August. It was 97 degrees outside,a howling South wind, rollers and whitecaps on the main lake, one of which soaked us,..to be honest it mostly soaked Don, when we found ourselves stuffing the boat through a 4 foot roller trying to get back to the ramp for weigh in. You know, just your average Kansas Summer day.
What you need...
The most important things to make sure you have is twenty pound test or better braided line for those nasty old hedge rows along the old fence lines, and a good 10 ft jig pole. You want one you can beat up a little and not worry about. Setting hooks in heavy timber, your gonna crack your rod a time or two on an overhanging limb and branch, not to mention using the tip to knock a stuck jig loose in a shallow submerged brush pile, So you want one that can handle the abuse.
Speaking of stuck jigs, the fish that hang out shallow tend to be the bigger fish, and they like the bigger baits. I use hand ties I make myself, or solid body tubes from Top Secret Jigs on 1/4 Oz heads with 1/0 sickle hooks. Minnows on a drop shot rig dipped around the tree stumps is another effective way to target these fish.
Where to look....
The first thing you want to do is get as far away from the Dam as possible, You need to have stained, dirty water for this bite to work. If the water is to clear it will let to much sunlight through the water column and push the fish out deeper to get away from it.
I like to fish the backs of the coves where the feeder creeks dump in and hit the tree rows on the shallow mud flats, The dirtier the water, the shallower you can get away with fishing.
Don't try to work every tree you see on the flats, focus on the smaller fence rows that run in straight lines or along the edges of a channel drop.
Always pay close attention to every fish and try to find the pattern within the pattern. Got it,..your after fish in the shallow trees, that's the pattern. The pattern within the pattern would be if you've figured out they are on the sunny side of the tree, shady side,..just under the surface or smack on the bottom....if they seem to be in hedge trees on the shady side all the way on the bottom,...then forget fishing every single tree you see and just focus on the shady side of hedge trees, don't worry about the oaks or poplars. Your just gonna waste time, beat your boat up, and not have very much to show for your efforts.