Lake of the Ozarks surface temperature is unseasonably warm for early October. (78-80 degrees) That means we're finding and catching Crappie in 20-30 feet of water in or around deep brush piles. When the water starts cooling, Crappie and other fish species will move up in the water column. One must adapt their tactics and approach to lake conditions to be successful. Thanks to the excellent sonar imaging technology available today, its far easier to locate and catch fish than it was years ago.
In addition to water temperature, water clarity plays a significant role in where and how one should pursue Crappie. Right now, not only is Lake of the Ozarks unusually warm, it is also very clear due to a lack of rainfall and the fish are deep or under docks seeking shade. That said, one can catch good Crappie by modifying their bait selection and tactics. Line selection in clear water conditions can also affect one's success. In typical stained water I utilize 6 pound high visibility line. In clear water conditions I often utilize 4 pound line.
One can catch Crappie on jigs or minnows, however bait selection can make a significant difference, especially when it comes to water clarity, depth, temperature, etc. In clear water I prefer to utilize natural colored jigs. (gray, white, silver) There are also times that live bait out performs jigs. If jigs aren't producing bites don't hesitate to try live bait. When jig fishing in low light conditions (early or late in the day) I often use jigs that incorporate a bit of chartreuse or pink color. I routinely add a bit of color to jig presentations by using colored jig heads (Pink or Chartreuse) and colored crappie niblets. (Pink or chartreuse) Importantly, don't hesitate to try a different jig color or size (smaller or larger) when a specific jig color or style doesn't get bit. The same is true about jig head weight. There are times when one must use a lighter weight jig head to elicit a strike. Like most anglers, I enjoy trying new and different things to improve catch results. Experimentation is important, especially when conditions affect or change fish behavior. Good luck this fall and may your livewells be full!