Crappie fishing is not only entertaining, but can be a great learning experience when you are trying to catch other fish. Thankfully, instead of having to spend a lot of time with trial and error, we have the best top crappie fishing tips to helping you know everything about both crappies and crappie fishing in general.
When fishing for crappie, it doesn’t matter if you are either a first time fisher or a professional angler; we still have crappie fishing tips that’ll help your angling game!
We have provided you with information about crappies themselves so you have a better idea where crappie are lurking and why they do what they do. We also provided you with top crappie fishing tips, crappie fishing facts and finally, crappie fishing records so you will know everything about crappie fishing.
Crappie Themselves: Pomoxis Annularis
Often called one of the most fish to catch and one of the best tasting fish to eat, they are often abundant too! Crappie are found throughout the United States and even into Canada. Swimming in large schools in warm water near cover, you are surely able to snag quite a few of them!
Crappie themselves often average roughly 6-11 inches fully grown and depending on the conditions, can reach lengths even up to 17 inches. Often good size crappie, will weigh in at 1/2 to 1 pound but sometimes can even reach up to 6 pounds.
Oddly enough, there are actually two different sub-species of crappie; black crappie and white crappie. These two sub-species have this color variance due to the habitat they grew up in, the age of the fish itself along with the general local population breeding stock.
black crappie fishing tips
Photo by WBeckon / CC BY
The black crappie obviously gets it name due to its slightly darker appearance in color compared to the white crappie. The black crappie also has a white or slightly gray/dark gray or spots along the majority of its sides. Finally, the black crappie has roughly 7-8 dorsal spines that go along its back.
white crappie fishing tips
Photo by U.S. federal government / CC BY
The white crappie obviously appears much lighter compared to the black crappie and actually has distinct gray vertical bars that extend down the sides of the white crappie. They also only have 5-6 dorsal spines compared to the black crappie’s 7-8 dorsal spines.
Both species itself though has nearly the same feeding patters along with spawning times. They often will be found in water that is a little acidic and a lot of vegetation. When crappie itself though are juveniles, they will only go after pray that’s on a microscopic level. This includes cyclops, daphnia and cladocera. Finally once maturity starts to hit, they will start becoming a predator and go after minnows and other fish.
Crappie are usually found in a school and will school with even other species of fish. You will find the majority of crappies near underwater structures such as weed bends, lily-pads, fallen trees, and even banks. For the most part, crappies during the day are found in the deeper water and only will be near the shore when they have to feed in the early dawn or dusk.
Spawning though, they can be found in shallow water in large schools. During the winter and cold months, they don’t go into any type of hibernation in which makes them a perfect fish for ice fishing.
Top Crappie Fishing Tips, Tricks and Techniques
Often more than not, every angler has come to the point where they need help and thankfully we have provided some crappie fishing tips. We have compiled the best tips from not only personal experience but also from searching from all over the internet! There’s a good chance even some of these tips even were submitted by a angler in your area too.
Fishing Knots are Important
First and foremost, use the right knots! It may seem like a little time consuming but having the right know when crappie fishing is essential. By chance you are using a jig when crappie fishing, pull out the classic loop knot. This knot in particular allows the jib to move freely. Along with that, it provides little subtle movements that often will make the crappie want to strike. This is considered one of the most important compared to our other crappie fishing tips.
Try Bringing More Than One Pole
We get it, you aren’t a professional angler but more often than not; it’ll only help as you don’t need to keep tying on a new lure when you want to try something different. Simply put down one of your rods and you’re ready to go back at crappie fishing!
Have A Backup Plan
More often than not, crappie simply may not be biting for a particular lure. Its best to bring more lures in case you end up having to try something else. From personal experience, crappie will be biting with a specific lure one day and that lure will end up getting completely nothing the next! Bring something else in case all else fails.
Best Live Bait Setup For Crappie
From not only personal experience, using a #6 hook, some split shot, live minnow and a slip bobber will lead you to catching crappie with ease! One of the benefits of using a slip bobber is that you won’t have to adjust it as it’ll auto adjust for any depth that you cast at.
Another essential crappie fishing tips though of using live minnows is to hook the minnow either through the lips or just right behind the top dorsal fin. This allows the minnow to still swim and be realistic.
Depth Matters: Know Where to Fish
One of the most essential crappie fishing tips is knowing simply the right depth to fish at. More often than not, you may be fishing in a area that is too shallow or simply too deep. Crappie will be found around three to six feet deep in water. If its a hot summer day or midsummer and the water is warmed up, you may have to search for crappie in deer areas due to the heat or wait till dawn or dusk when they come out of the deep water to feed.
#4 Light-Wire Hook
Of all our hooks, the #4 light-wire hook will provide you with the best way to probe against the thickest cover and still get through without getting hung up; yet the hook is still big and strong enough to pull in the biggest of the crappies.
If you end up getting caught up, don’t worry as this hook can easily bend and can be pulled free. Together with braided line that doesn’t have any stretch, you will most likely stop loosing jigs all together. One quick whip of your rod and you’ll knock it free.
Sometimes simply just changing the color of your jig will help change any bad luck. On cloudy, overcast days; try to use colors such as black, red or even just a plain jig. On clear days, pink or white and even just bright color jigs in general will help.
When Crappie Seem To Disappear
When crappie just seem to disappear and leave you wondering where they went, you best bet is to must to deeper water and fish at roughly the same depth. In summer, often crappie will just suspend out by structures or even drop offs and stay at the same depths.
Deep Water is Just as Good As Shallow Water
More often than not, crappie will be found in deeper water if they are not currently spawning. In a one year span, you will only find crappie in shallow water for two to three weeks. Deeper water will provide the consistent fishing that you desire.
Tighter is Better When Crappie Fishing
Crappie are known to be able to shake your hook loose due to their soft lips. If you end up giving them too much line, they often will be able to shake the hook loose. Crappie themselves though will put up a decent fight and as long as you’re reeling in, you won’t have too much of a problem.
Slower is Sometimes Better
Crappie often will prefer that you actually go slow and steady with your jig or minnow in terms of action. Don’t end up giving up on your cast too early, give it some time and really try your best on the fishing hole. If all luck is failing, simply take a deep break and try to slow it down a bit.
Topographical Maps are key
More often not, your lake that you will be fishing at has a topographical map that’ll show a good idea of the water that you are fishing at. It will often list the: Depths, sunken structures, types of fish in the lake and records of DNR released fish stock in the lake. These stats may even surprise you and will help you pinpoint what fish you should be going for in the lake.
These crappie fishing tips are just tips, feel free to not use them but I can guarantee you that they will improve you fishing game.
Crappie Fishing Records
Everyone loves knowing what the record catch is from anglers and the professionals. All the information we pulled about crappie fishing records is from the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and sometimes is updated in which this data may be a little off. If you want to look at recent records that are the most up to date, feel free to visit the IGFA website and see if your catch is up to the chance at being top!
John R. Hortsman; black crappie in a private lake in Missouri, USA on April 21st 2006 that weighted 2.26 kg (5 lbs. 0 oz.)
Fred Bright; white crappie at Enid Dam in Mississippi, USA on July 31st 1957 that weighted 2.35 kg (5 lbs, 3 oz.)
Crappie Facts: Get to know your catch
Below is just some of the basic date and facts about crappie. Even though you may find this information to be irrelevant in helping you fish, it should help you get a idea on what to expect when you are out fishing for them. This information is the max weight and length from all-time records. It may of changes ever so slightly but only is roughly the top 1% of crappie in the wild.
Scientific Name: Pomoxis annularis (white) & Pomoxis nigromaculatus (black)
Nickname(s): Papermouth, Sac-a-lait, slab, speck and speckled perch
Average Lifespan: 10 years in the wild and 12 years in captivity
Length: Up to 20″ for white crappie and 19″ for black crappie
Weight: Up to 5 pounds, average is quarter to half pound
Range: North America and Canada