Fishing for crappie gives loads of angling enjoyment, nice meals for the desk, and a possibility to take pleasure in a number of fishing motion with family and friends on plentiful fish discovered all through the nation. You will discover crappie fairly frequently on most our bodies of water and when you perceive their most popular habitat, conduct and favourite baits, you’ll be catching them with regularity.
On this information, we are going to enable you put together to catch crappie with regularity by overlaying the next crappie fishing subjects:
- The place to search out crappie
- What crappie gear you want
- What crappie strategies work
- Finest crappie baits
- Find out how to fish for crappie
- Find out how to catch crappie within the spring
- Find out how to catch crappie within the fall
- Find out how to catch crappie within the winter
- Find out how to catch crappie in the summertime
- Crappie Q&A
The place to search out Crappie
Discovering any fish is usually about understanding their preferences associated to the surroundings on any given fishery. So not all crappie do the very same issues on each lake, however the majority of crappie will do the identical issues on any given physique of water.
Their spawn occurs when the waters begin warming into the excessive 50s in early spring. So, in some southern components of the nation, that is perhaps January or February, and in some northern components of the nation, that is perhaps Could. So it’s relative to the place you’re within the nation. However for probably the most half, when the waters get into the 50s, crappie are going to maneuver out of deep winter haunts and transfer in the direction of shallow cowl to feed and finally spawn and guard earlier than returning to deep water in the summertime.
So what you need to discover is the place you assume they are going to spawn within the spring and work again from there. So in case your lake is roofed in vegetation, they are going to possible spawn round grass edges and pockets within the grass. In case your lake is filled with stumps or wooden cowl, crappie like to spawn in and round stumps and laydowns. One laydown tree might need 15 crappie beds on it. And, on a stump flat, there is perhaps a crappie nest on each stump.
Take Kentucky Lake as an illustration. The white crappie spawned within the bushes in shallow water when the water had much more colour and there are nonetheless some locations the place they do this. Nevertheless, as our water readability has gotten lots clearer, the big majority of crappie spawn off the financial institution on stumps in water 2-8 ft deep relying on water readability and site. Black crappie spawn on rockier banks right here and even these have moved out just a little deeper because the water has gotten clearer.
We goal loads of our crappie in that depth zone of 2-12 ft when the water is in that prime temperature vary. We goal loads of wooden cowl. And on some lakes crappie favor getting in a sure kind of tree greater than one other. I do know down south and out west in Texas in Oklahoma, crappie actually love these “bodark” (bois d’arc) timber greater than only a slick standing pine tree. On Kentucky Lake, I’m satisfied a crappie would fairly be in a stake mattress than a cedar tree, and a stump greater than both. A lot of the very largest crappie I’ve caught got here on stumps.
After the spawn, two crappie will typically share the job of guarding the nest and fry. They’re simply picked off from shallow cowl when they’re on this mode but in addition I wish to let the large ones go this time of yr to guard spawn recruitment for the longer term.
On the flip aspect of fishing cowl for crappie, Garmin Livescope and actual time imaging has expanded our information of how a lot crappie roam and droop. A number of the largest crappie on trophy fisheries like Grenada reside a big portion of their lives not regarding cowl in any respect. They roam and comply with bait and meander out and in of canopy and droop just below the floor in water with loads of colour. We’ve discovered through the winter, loads of crappie are excessive within the water column suspending over deep water, we’re guessing to solar their eggs and put together for the upcoming spawn.
So realizing that crappie will probably be in shallow cowl, mid depth cowl, and deep cowl but in addition droop shallow out over deep water at occasions means you need to know a number of methods to catch them and be acquainted with loads of the gear and strategies that can put good crappie fishing inside attain.
Crappie Fishing Sort out You Want
To catch crappie you mainly want a limber rod, a reel, gentle line, and a bait of selection which may require a hook and light-weight weight. I say a limber rod— that’s should you plan to solid your bait. You may also get away with a stiffer, longer jigging rod should you intend to solely vertical fish. I’m an enormous proponent of getting a very good casting rod, a very good jigging rod and a multipurpose rod for crappie fishing. I highlighted these in my 3 finest crappie rods piece.
Common recommendation says to start out with a very good spinning rod in a lightweight to medium-light energy in 6-foot to 7-foot lengths. I like to recommend beginning easy with 4-pound monofilament. I’ve used BFS rod and reel setups, jigging rods with braid and extra, and but I nonetheless catch a big majority of my crappie yearly on 4-pound monofilament. It’s low cost, easy and albeit it simply works for crappie fishing.
On the spinning reels, 1000 or 2000 dimension reels could make casting simpler. Sure large spinning reels sound like overkill for crappie. When you get a 7-foot rod with a much bigger reel, nonetheless, put some low cost backing on it after which spool your 4-pound line on there, it should solid so significantly better than a tiny 500 reel. A 500 dimension reel is ok, you may simply get extra casting distance with a barely larger spool if that issues to you.
You then want a bait for the crappie. You should utilize reside bait or you may stick to synthetic lures. A crappie jig is difficult to beat on a 1/16-ounce jighead. However a minnow on a hook with a small cut up shot weight can also be extremely efficient, though just a little extra cumbersome to take care of. I’m a 100% synthetic crappie angler. I by no means use reside bait. I’m not towards it. I simply assume utilizing lures is lots much less problem and I favor the chase and fooling the fish greater than the reeling partly. However I additionally nonetheless get a kick out of seeing a bobber go below, so I positively see the attract in reside bait fishing. Each will catch loads of crappie. We’ll concentrate on baits extra under.
Finest Crappie Methods
A number of strategies catch crappie with regularity. Vertical jigging, trolling, casting, spider rigging, taking pictures docks, pushing jigs, and only a easy minnow on a bobber round cowl all produce crappie at numerous occasions on many fisheries. And now new improvements like Bait Finesse System for casting gentle crappie jigs on baitcasting gear is getting a foothold.
Personally, I solely solid, and vertical jig and catch crappie 12 months out of the yr. I’ll solid a jig under a bobber to fish over shallow cowl within the spring, however for probably the most half I’m merely casting a 1/16-ounce jig or vertical jigging a hair jig 80-90% of the time. I believe casting for crappie is one thing you are able to do all over the place when you be taught just a little bit about how crappie react to motion and retrieves. I beforehand shared a few of my finest retrieves for crappie jigs.
Trolling for crappie might be finished with jigs or crankbaits and even reside bait. It’s only a matter of spreading your traces out and pulling your baits at a comparatively gradual pace by possible areas. Quite a lot of guys pull crankbaits within the hotter months when crappie unfold out and go deep. The place it’s extra one or two fish right here and there and you need to fish loads of stumps and brush piles to catch a restrict of crappie.
Spider rigging has been standard for a very long time. Much like trolling you unfold rods out in entrance of the boat and ease alongside contours or areas with a number of items of canopy pushing your baits into the fish’s places. Lengthy rods such as you would use for trolling are superb. Often one individual can watch 4 rods on a stand simply, however even two rods per angler can yield higher numbers. It lets you experiment with depth and colour with a number of rods directly.
Pushing jigs has gained in reputation the place you place rods out in entrance of you and slowing troll with the trolling motor and push jigs ahead by cowl, selecting off energetic fish earlier than you move over the duvet. This may be nice in water that’s too shallow to troll however to massive to solid and canopy effectively.
All three of these strategies require a ship to fish your displays. Whereas casting jigs, fishing bobber rigs, and even vertical jigging might be finished from the financial institution, kayak or in a ship. So they’re an important strategies to grasp as a crappie angler.
Finest Crappie Baits
It’s laborious to beat a minnow. A detailed second could be a small / gentle smooth plastic on a jighead. Crappie jigs offer you a number of choices on colour and weight and you’ll rapidly cowl water casting and slowly retrieving a lightweight jig. In style sizes are 1/16 ounce, 1/32 ounce and 1/8-ounce jigs. In style colours embody monkey milk, something with chartreuse and contrasted colour combos.
Crankbaits will catch crappie as effectively. Pulling crankbaits behind a ship in deeper water in the summertime months is an effective way to cowl water and catch good aggressive crappie. Loud contrasty colours are often the perfect bets on most fisheries the place crankbaits are efficient.
We’ve finished some items on jigging raps for crappie in addition to jerkbaits for crappie. These and different sorts of lures are typically restricted to fisheries with very clear and deep water such as you discover up north. Tiny jigging spoons can work at occasions as effectively. However the massive majority of anglers will stick to small 2-inch jigs and 1/16 ounce jigheads or a minnow on a hook, cut up shot and small bobber optionally available.
Different reside bait would come with crickets, meal worms, and even freshwater shrimp that may tempt crappie at occasions. However 9 out of 10, reside bait crappie anglers will select minnows like Rosey Reds, fathead minnows, emerald shiners and golden shiners, that are all standard reside bait for crappie.
Find out how to Fish for Crappie
The largest takeaway in fishing for crappie is that you need to err on the aspect of refined. You’ll catch extra crappie with a gradual regular retrieve than loads of jerking and hopping. I do pop my jig some, however often that’s adopted with an extended pause. I name these micro actions I impart on my crappie jigs “stuttering.” I solid out and let the jig fall on semi slack line, watching my line the entire time. Then I’ll evenly elevate the rod barely after which let it fall once more. Or I’ll reel for a second or two and cease a cut up second after which go once more.
About half the bites you received’t really feel. You will notice them should you’re a very good line watcher. Crappie wish to hit issues on the autumn. And much more on the pause. Quite a lot of fish are caught vertical jigging by simply holding the jig as nonetheless as potential in a crappie’s face till they lastly can’t stand it and chew.
So be a line watcher, watch your line because the lure falls. Then slowly reel steadily alongside watching your line. Then cease reeling for only a second and let the bait pause. After which begin reeling once more. Often that little stutter will generate a chew if a fish is following. However preserve it actual refined.
Find out how to catch crappie within the spring
Within the spring, search for shallow cowl in that 2- to 8-foot zone. Search for bait and canopy in areas, and just a little water colour will put the fish tighter to cowl and lots shallower. The clearer the water, the deeper the fish will probably be. When you’re searching for black crappie, don’t ignore rocky banks main again to spawning pockets and flats.
Search for shallow little excessive spots within the mouths of bays and pockets or half approach again in pockets. I catch loads of large spring crappie on these excessive spots with cowl within the backs of bays.
Weeds, stumps, laydowns, docks, stake beds, rocks are all good locations to fish for crappie within the spring. A small jig below a bobber is a dynamite option to slowly fish excessive of shallow cowl. Any little twitch on the bobber, be prepared to grab.
Find out how to catch crappie within the fall
Whereas most people know spring is king for crappie fishing, I truly favor fall. As a result of within the fall, crappie group up in large colleges and chase bait and fill cowl because the water cools. You may pull up on cowl in that 6-14 foot vary and completely load the boat with large hungry and aggressive crappie. I fish some large stake beds in 13-15 ft of water within the fall that load up with 1 to 1 1/2-pound half crappie, and it’s a few of the most enjoyable fishing of the entire yr.
Discover bars with loads of cowl and simply ease from piece to piece making quick casts and pitches. A brush pile, standing tree, stump row, or stake mattress on high of a drop might be lights out this time of yr. Maintain transferring till you discover a good group or higher high quality as a result of there may be someplace holding an enormous group of excellent crappie this time of yr.
Find out how to catch crappie within the winter
Because the water will get a lot colder, fish will push out deeper on cowl and bait and creek channels and ledges. The fish develop into lots much less aggressive and this to me is when vertical jigging actually shines. It’s loads of pushing the jig into the duvet after which holding it actual gradual till a crappie slowly rises up and takes it. You might need to let a crappie take a look at it for minutes earlier than it should chew. It actually checks my endurance as a crappie angler.
Minnows get lots stronger as a bait selection within the winter. The added scent and pure wiggle could make a leery crappie chew. The crappie are extra unfold out within the winter. Very like they’re in the summertime. You will discover a crappie or two on a chunk of canopy or out roaming in open water. And then you definately transfer down and discover one other one or two. So you need to contact loads of cowl
Find out how to catch crappie in the summertime
I believe summertime is without doubt one of the tougher occasions to catch crappie. They’re finished spawning and the nice and cozy water sends them deep and spreads them out throughout miles of the lake or river. So the secret is overlaying water or discovering lots cooler water. That is why pulling crankbaits is so efficient in the summertime. You might need a stretch that may be a mile lengthy that has 60-100 stumps in 20 ft of water. It will take you endlessly to fish them. However you may gradual troll crankbaits and hit the entire stretch and milk crappie off of it move after move.
When you’re on foot or in a kayak, than generally you could find some cool water streams that the crappie will go up in. I’ve had some good days going approach up a river and fishing cooler waters for crappie.
However often, on most lakes, it’s a timing factor for summer season crappie fishing. In different phrases go actually early and fish deep cowl early within the morning for a pair hours and late within the night for a few hours. What crappie you discover in cowl will favor the low gentle intervals, cooler wet days, early and late feeding home windows.
Crappie Fishing Q & A
We’ll attempt to reply a few of the extra widespread questions associated to crappie fishing on this final part.
What’s the finest month to crappie fish?
This is determined by the place you reside. Some people favor the spring month closest to the spawn. For me personally residing within the center a part of the nation, November is the perfect month. When the water temps are 50-58, you may load the boat quick with good crappie. You get dimension, numbers and loaded items of mid-depth cowl with probably the most aggressive crappie of the yr. So due to that I choose November. However actually its the month when the water temps are within the 50s the place you reside.
How deep do you crappie fish?
You may catch crappie in inches of soiled water or out to 50 ft on clearer impoundments. However day in and day trip I believe most anglers goal crappie from 4 to 14 ft of water. Deep sufficient to not be spooked by your presence and deep sufficient to pile right into a brush pile or gap up below a dock and ready to be plucked off.
What time of day is finest for crappie fishing
Typically talking crappie favor low gentle circumstances. You may catch them at night time on docks with lights. You may catch them on wet days and darkish overcast days. However early and late can present an actual pickup in feeding exercise. I’ve some crappie spots which might be superb early within the morning and others which might be lots higher within the afternoon or night. I believe it has to do with how the solar casts shadows in and across the cowl. One thing we underestimate when determining the place crappie are positioned on cowl.
What’s the finest crappie fishing method
It’s laborious to say one method is the perfect. I do know guys like me who by no means use reside bait. However I additionally know guys who all the time catch them and all the time use reside bait. I by no means troll, spider rig or push jigs. I need to be energetic in tempting and catching crappie, so I favor to solid and pitch to crappie or cowl that might maintain crappie.
The most effective method is the one which effectively temps the crappie the perfect more often than not. When you catch extra large crappie vertical jigging then hone that method. Go to totally different components of the lake, fish totally different occasions of the day or month and actually good your method.
Is crappie fishing straightforward
I believe it may be efficient yr spherical should you’re keen to be taught your lakes, experiment and discover what your crappie reply to the perfect. You don’t want loads of costly gear. Some small jigs, 4-pound monofilament line, a small rod and reel and also you’re good to go. It’s loads of gradual gradual fishing or vertical jigging. But when you’ll search out cowl in the correct depths and maximize your fishing round the perfect water temperatures and low gentle intervals, you should have much more success and achieve success extra usually.