The Best Of Crappie Fishing Tips

  • They are most active in the morning and evening, but you can catch them all day with some success.
  • They have sharp eyesight so use bright colors when applicable.
  • They spawn in the spring and it’s the best time of year to catch them.
  • Fall is also a great time to catch them.
  • Crappie ice fishing is effective when you position yourself correctly.
  • They respond the best to live bait, specifically minnows.
  • They can be caught with size 6 hooks. Other sizes are possible.
  • They hang around in the shallows so look there first when fishing for smaller ones.
  • They prefer clear water, but can be found in any type of water.
  • They hang around drop offs during spawning season. You should catch some bigger fish there.
  • They start feeding more when the water temperatures begins to drop just before fall.
  • They love underwater structures. Fish around stumps, fallen trees, and bridges.
  • They have a thin mouth membrane so you need to be careful when you set the hook.

More crappie fishing tips:

Crappie Fishing TipsOne of the best tips is to test out different things to see what works. They are almost everywhere in North America, so trying to find them isn’t that hard. Catching them is a completely different thing altogether. They move in schools, so if you find one, you can find them all. The best way to catch them is using live bait, they respond best to it. The simplest method is to use a bobber and a minnow. Using this method, you may not catch only crappie you may catch other panfish as well, so it will keep it interesting.

Types of crappie

There are two primary types of these fish: White crappie and black crappie. The black ones are deep bodied fish. They have silver with blue or green iridescence or irregular mosaic of distinct black notches. They have a large mouth that extends below the eye. The white ones are silver in color with faint black bars.

How big can crappie get?

White crappie get to a length of 8 to 12 inches and black crappie typically are 7 to 10 inches. The black ones can weigh anywhere from half a pound to a pound. While the white ones rarely exceed more than 2 pounds. The maximum published weight of a black crappie is just under 6 pounds.

What do crappie eat?

They can feed on small fish like minnows. White ones tend to eat more minnows than the black ones. They tend to change their diet based on their habitat, so if there are more minnows in their area, they’ll eat more minnows.

Habitat in water

Crappie prefer lakes, reservoirs and large navigation pools in large rivers. They prefer water with no current. They prefer clear water that has a lot of cover for them. You can find black ones in deeper water than the white ones. When looking for them, look in the shallow parts of the lake. Typically, you’ll find them around sand or mud bottom. They prefer heavy cover such as submerged tree stumps, weeds, reeds, and submerged objects. If you’re looking for crappie, you’re bound to find them at those locations. Look for them around underwater structures. You’ll find them around things like bridges and docks.

Best places to catch crappie

Shaded areas.
Close to deeper water.
Close to underwater cover.

Live bait

The best fishing bait for them is live bait. They love minnows, worms and insects. If you’re just starting out, you’ll increase the likelihood of catching crappie using live bait. They are attracted to the movement of live bait, so make sure you move your bait to catch them. Minnows tend to attract larger adult crappie better than smaller ones although it is still possible to catch smaller ones with minnows.


crappie tube kit

One of the advantages of not using live bait when fishing for crappie, is that they eat a variety of things. That makes choosing a lure that much easier. Start off with a simple lure. If they aren’t biting your lure, try changing it completely to a different style.

Lure choices include: jigs, spinner baits, floating baits or grubs. Once you find a lure that’s getting bites, you can change the presentation of the lure to get the strongest strikes. You can change your presentation of your lure by speeding up, slowing down, jigging your lure or increase the retrieval pace.

Lure color

Best lure color for crappie chart:

Clear Water:  Silver, smoke, gray and other natural colors
Dark/ Stained:  Chartreuse, hot pink, white, yellow, hot green
Cloudy Days:  Combination of light and dark color
Bright Sunlight:  Chartreuse, white, yellow, hot pinks and greens
Night Fishing:  Combination of blacks and other colors

Crappie have sharp eyesight so use different colors to your advantage. Sometimes they will strike one color but not the other, so try different colors to see what works. Try drastically changing the color until you find a color that they’re biting. Then you can try subtle changes in the color to see what will give you the best outcome.

Hooks for crappie

The best hooks are size 6 hooks. People often have success with other sizes as well. Using a size 6 hook will make sure the best possible chance of catching one. If you’re using a lure, be sure to choose an appropriately sized one. Obviously a muskie hook probably won’t hook a crappie, but we’ve all heard stranger stories.

Best time to catch crappie

The best time to catch them is in the spring when they move to the shallows to spawn. This is when you find them to be the most aggressive toward baits and lures. In terms of times, they are most active in the morning and late in the evenings. However, it’s possible to catch them all day long.

You now have some great crappie fishing tips. It’s time to get out there and start catching those crappie.

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