One of the most important aspects of fishing is to make sure you are fishing in the right area. You certainly won't catch any fish if there are no fish where you are casting to! That is why locating crappie beds is such an important part of crappie fishing.
Many anglers will even go so far as to create crappie beds that will lure them into a known spot that can be fished at a later time. This opportunity creator has long been practiced, but isn't totally necessary if you don't have the time to dedicate or you like to fish different spots more often.
If you don't build your own crappie beds, that's alright. Instead, you can look for the ones that mother nature has built herself. Crappie like to feed on minnows and they also like swim amongst cover. So look for submerged brush, tree limbs, and other natural cover that looks like it would be home to crappie. Keep an eye out on the surface of the water and find areas that have schools of minnows. Where there is food, there will be crappie.
If you've think you found a crappie bed, there are a few things to know before casting out. Because crappie like to hang around submerged foliage, it is best to use barbless hooks that also bend easily like brass. This way if your hook gets snagged, you can easily break it free for retrieve. Crappie are school fish and can be on the move often. So if you've found a crappie bed, you don't want to waste time rehooking your line.
If you are fishing from a boat, then you'll want to position your boat right over where the crappie bed lies. If you are unable to do this, then you should use a bobber. This will allow you to suspend your lure right down on top of the crappie bed.
The key to catching them is to find the perfect depth at which the crappie will strike at. Continuously test this and make adjustments as necessary. As soon as you find the ideal depth, you'll be able to reel in catches one right after another.
One tip that will help you in locating crappie beds is to remember that crappie are school fish. Where there is one crappie, there are generally more in that area. So if you have cast to a specific spot several times without a single bite, then it is probably best to move on to another spot. For a general rule of thumb, fish a spot for 10-15 minutes and then move on if you haven't been successful.
Hopefully with this information in mind, the next time you are trying to locate crappie fishing beds, you'll be much more successful and catch many more crappie.