In early spring, crappies move into shallow, protected areas searching for warmer water. In natural lakes, you'll generally find them in dark-bottomed bays and boat channels. In man-made lakes, they're most likely to be in the back ends of shallow creek arms, in the creeks feeding those arms or in marinas. In big rivers, look for them in shallow, weedy or brushy backwater areas. The pre-spawn movement starts shortly after ice-out in the North and after the first few warm days of spring in the South.