What’s Best? Sunny Days Vs. Cloudy Days Crappie Fishing

Crappie fishing on cloudy days tend to workout better than sunny days

If it’s a cloudy misty day and the winds are up and you’re not fishing then you’re likely missing out!

Do Crappie Prefer Sun Or Clouds?


Everyone loves a warm sunny day.  Nothing can make a morning like pulling up to the boat ramp at the crack of dawn and looking back to see purple and orange rays pulsating behind darkened trees.

Once you fire up your outboard and head over to your favorite starting spot it’s like the fish show up and can’t wait to get into your boat!  After a couple of hours the bite typically fades out and you’ll be heading back to the ramp so you can get home and mow the yard.

On the other hand if you were to wake up to a cloudy windy day especially with some precipitation, chances are you may leave the boat in the garage and catch up on some inside chores.

In my opinion this is a mistake!

Crappie prefer cloudy days over sunny because they have a distinct advantage over shad, minnows, and other prey.  When it’s overcast crappie are able to break away from their main schools around brush piles and suspend around drop offs where they can ambush unsuspecting fish.  


Think Of It As Either High Light Or Low Light


Crappie don’t look at it in the same way when it comes to sun or clouds.  They look at it more from the perspective of can I ambush prey or will I have to work hard at it.  When the sun gets high, crappie will usually dig in deep to brush piles and become reclusive.

It’s only during the early morning or late evening that provides the low light conditions they seek limiting your optimal time on the water.  

Now on cloudy days, those low light conditions are extended increasing a predators chances against its prey.

Think back really hard to your best days on the lake…

What were the conditions?  Most of my memories involve cool days with high winds and some mist.  I couldn’t even get my jigs to the bottom without a fish crushing it! This held true regardless if it was during a front in July where the water temperature was approaching 90 degrees, or February when the ice was still on!


More Presentations Work On Cloudier Days


With fish roaming around you can actually catch crappie with a wide variety of presentations.  Trolling is the first thing that comes to mind which I love doing especially in a kayak! 

Another thing that brings me back to my youth is hooking a jig up to a bobber and popping it along drop offs.  The fish will migrate shallower making them more vulnerable since they are up there for one purpose and that is to feed!

Whether from a boat or on the bank I like casting a Shelton’s Curly Tail out allowing it to float to the bottom.  Once the line goes slack begin reeling slowly but quick enough that the tail is able to twirl. 

Bank fishermen will get most of their bites right when it gets to the drop.

If you’re in a boat you have the advantage of being able to cast parallel to any drop and keeping it in that “sweet spot” longer!

If the sun is up high then vertical jigging is about your only option for success.  The fish will be pushed down deeper making them tougher to hook up with.


Tips To Better Your Odds To Catch More Crappie On Sunny Days


      • Plan by the weather
      • Know which lakes do best on sunny days
      • Fish muddier water and in the wind!


Plan By The Weather

Summer daylight morning crappie fishing
In August sky’s burn clouds off early causing the fish to retreat to brush so you have to jump on them early!

It may sound like I dread crappie fishing on sunny days but this is definitely not the case

There are several ways to put the odds in your favor.  First off when I’m planning a fishing trip I will look out at the weekly weather forecast.  If I see days with mostly cloudy situations, I will know to bring my casting gear and implement the techniques I have discussed above.

If It’s a mostly sunny day I will try to stick to shallow lakes that have docks, or bridges where the majority of fish will congregate.  I will then go to the windiest structure I can find.  Remember we are trying to find low light conditions!

Bright color jigs with action work best here.  My go to is the Shelton’s Curly Tail 3″ in Chartreuse Glitter but sometimes Blue Pearl will work just as well.  

If you’re fishing docks and are good at “dock shooting” give that a try.  Most bites will come on the fall or the first crank.  Vertical jigging is also productive if you have a longer rod that can reach back to pilings.

On a bridge start off with the piers themselves.  Cast to them using the same retrieve I mentioned for fishing drops above.  This way you will lower your chances of spooking them.  If fish are just slapping at the jig and not taking it then your next move is to go vertical jig them!



Becoming a better fisherman doesn’t mean going to a lake under less than ideal conditions and trying to force the fish to bite.  To me it can be treated like an investment portfolio.  You’ve got to diversify!  

Success begins with knowing the conditions you’ll be facing ahead of time.  Once we know the weather, it’s time to decide which lake to travel to. 

Now that I’ve given you an idea of where to fish once you get to that lake. Implement the strategies above and I promise you’ll start locating and catching more fish!

Remember!  Crappie want to keep their bellies full so at some point they’re going to feed.  Why not use the process of elimination to be in the right place at those crucial times. 


Leave a Reply