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Crappie fishing can be a rewarding and fun experience, surrounding the angler with beautiful scenery and hopeful anticipation. As a part of the sunfish family, crappie is a very common fish to catch and enjoyable even for the youngest of anglers.

To set yourself up for success, learn how to catch crappie by taking heed of the 10 strategies for beginner anglers and pros in this article.

Find the best time to fish, understanding different temperature preferences, baiting habits and feeding cycles, utilizing the newest gear and lingo, scouting areas with abundant underwater structure, using the right bait, and more.

How to catch crappie

How To Catch Crappie

Catching crappie can be a thrilling experience, especially for those who enjoy freshwater fishing. The first thing you’ll need is the right fishing gear and essentials – a light spinning rod with a small reel is perfect.

When it comes to bait, you’ll want something that appeals to these finicky fish. Minnows are often the go-to bait for many anglers, but other popular options include jigs and small spinners.

With patience and persistence, you can quickly fill your basket with these delicious fish found commonly in freshwater lakes and rivers.

When fishing for crappie, it’s important to first locate a good spot where they are known to inhabit.

Once you’ve found a promising area, keep an eye out for structures where crappie tend to hide, such as submerged trees, weed beds, and brush piles.

Approach quietly as crappie are easily spooked, and cast your line near the structure.

When you feel a bite, reel in slowly and steadily to set the hook before reeling in your catch with care.

Patience and practice are key when it comes to successful crappie fishing!

Properly Prepare your Bait

Bait preparation is one of the key elements to successfully learning how to catch crappie.

Winter-caught bream are often used as bait for crappie, but you may find that using minnows or worms are more effective in attracting these fish during the summer months.

Always ensure your bait and attractants are properly prepared before heading out fishing.

Wear gloves while handling your bait, and store it in an airtight container to avoid contamination with other foods and water sources while keeping them fresh and alive.

Additionally, adding attractants such as scents or flavors can further increase the attractiveness of your bait to the crappie.

Invest in the Right Gear and Tackle

Not sure how to catch crappie fish? When it comes to targeting crappie, one of the most important pieces of equipment is your rod and reel.

Since crappies are fairly small fish, you’ll need a light-action fishing rod fitted with the appropriate reel size for your bait.

A rod size of 6–7 feet in length is ideal for crappie anglers and you should always opt for monofilament fishing line with 4-lb or 6-lb test strength.

When it comes to tackle, we usually opt for small jig heads in 1/32 to 1/64 ounce sizes along with soft plastics like grubs and twister tails.

Having the right gear will help make your time on the water more enjoyable and successful!

Shop all word-class gear here.

Know your Lake or River System

Similarly to fishing trout, you can find crappie in lakes, streams, and rivers. Taking the time to become familiar with the lake or river system you’re wanting to fish, can go a long way in helping you locate and catch more crappie.

Areas of cover like submerged brush piles, logs, stumps and other similar structures can provide great hiding spots for crappie.

Once these areas have been identified you can then choose which type of bait to use in order to increase your chances of catching an even bigger and better fish!

Look Under Brush Piles and Ledges

Structure like brush piles, ledges and other hidden spots can be a crappie’s dream.

Certain structures provide great cover and hiding spots for the fish while they move in and out to feed on baitfish or other prey items available. Take advantage of these types of structures by lure fishing with jigs, spinnerbaits or soft plastics.

You may also want to look into the use of live bait if you find yourself fishing certain areas known to be hotspots for catching bigger sized crappie!

Minnows, Jigs, and Spoons

Using minnows, jigs, and spoons strategically can be a great way to target bigger crappie.

Minnows should be added lightly to areas that have a lot of small baitfish or planer boards should be used to reach the fish further out in the water column.

Jigs should be placed precisely in current seams, eddies near deeper drops and structure points.

Spoons should also be fished at or near depth depending on where your target species is located. All of these techniques can be used together or independently depending on what works best in any given situation.

Figuring out how to catch crappie by where they hang out, what time of day they like to feed, and what baits work well is easy. Follow these strategies for best results!

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How to Catch Crappie: 10 Strategies

1. Crappie Jigs

Crappie jigs are an excellent and time-tested way to catch crappie. They are small and lightweight, designed to attract hungry crappies with a variety of attractive bait options.

Jigging is simple but requires practice to perfect the technique, so that you can efficiently present your lure in the best possible way for optimal results

Jig fishing is fun and a great way to learn how to catch crappie!

2. Minnows

Fishing for crappie with minnows is a great way to increase your chances of catching these delicious fish. The right size and type of minnow can make all the difference – smaller minnows for smaller crappie, larger minnows for larger crappie.

It’s important to ensure that the minnow is rigged correctly so that it swims naturally, and scent attractants can also be used to help lure in the fish.

By fishing in areas where crappie are known to congregate, such as near structure or at the right time of day, you’ll be more likely to succeed in reaping a bountiful catch!

3. Bobber

Want to know how to catch crappie with a bobber? Bobber fishing. With this technique, a live bait is attached below the float, which is lowered and raised with the movement of the fish, indicating a bite.

The floating buoy provides an easily recognizable indication that the fish is on the line!

4. Crappie Lure

Crappie lures come in all shapes and sizes, but one of the best ways to catch these fish is by using small tubes or grubs. These lures have bright colors that attract the attention of crappie and make them more likely to bite.

Be sure to check out some smaller lures for your next crappie fishing trip – you won’t regret it!

Shop a great selection here.

5. Fish Attractant

Scents are not essential to, but while you’re researching how to catch crappie, we wanted to mention them.

Crappie are known to be attracted to various smell-based attractants such as garlic oil or anise oil. Adding extra enticement for the fish such as one of these attractants improves their chances of taking the bait.

This can be done by incorporating scent into lures and baits that anglers use when targeting this species.

6. Best Time To Catch Crappie

We have the best success rates when fishing for crappie in the early morning and late evening as this is the best time to fish. This is because water temperatures are lower during these times, making it more likely that the fish will be active and easier to catch!

It’s also important to keep in mind that when and where you’re fishing can affect your chances of success.

Certain locations, water temperatures, and seasons may make catching crappie more challenging than during other times.

7. Best Weather For Crappie Fishing

Crappie fishing can be a great activity in many weather conditions, but overcast days tend to be the best for successful catches. When you’re just learning how to catch crappie, you may want to avoid rainy days. But overcast days are nice!

The cooler water and reduced intensity of sunlight due to cloud cover can make crappie more active and easier to hook. Additionally, moderate to strong winds create a current that encourage fish to become more active and feed.

The barometer is another indicator of crappie activity levels since they tend to feed more when it is falling.

It’s important to stay aware of the local weather forecast when planning a day of crappie fishing so that you can adjust your tactics accordingly.

8. Fish Around Structures

To find where crappies hang out, many anglers will look for structure such as brush piles, docks, rocks, or weed beds and fish around those locations.

Much like bass fishing, crappie are commonly found in and around these areas making it easier to locate them and land a catch.

9. Use A Fish Finder

Sometimes we like to use fish finders. If you’re struggling with figuring out how to catch crappie, you may need the aid of a fish finder. Certainly not something that a beginner would need to worry about, but they’re fun nevertheless. Obviously these will only work if you’re out in a boat, or doing some kayak fishing.

A fish finder can be a great tool to have on the water to help locate schools of crappie and increase your chances of success.

With today’s technology, there are many fish finders available that are specifically designed with features to help you locate crappie more accurately.

Finding the best one can seem daunting at first, but with some research and familiarization, you’ll be able to select the one that best suits your needs.

10. Keep a Log Book

Fish smarter by keeping a fishing log! Take notes on the spots, lures, and baits that yielded success in the past to maximize your chances of success the next time you head out on an adventure.

This strategy could end up saving you time and money while also making your trips more enjoyable.

I hope you enjoyed this article about how to catch crappie. We enjoy these small fish and here’s a recipe you may even want to try!

Crappie Profile

  • Scientific name: Pomoxis spp. (there are two species of crappie, the black crappie and the white crappie)
  • Average size: 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) in length and 0.5 to 1 lb (0.2 to 0.5 kg) in weight, although some individuals can grow larger
  • Maximum size: can grow up to 19 inches (48 cm) in length and weigh over 5 lbs (2.3 kg)
  • Appearance: crappie have a compressed, deep-bodied shape and silvery coloration with dark spots on their dorsal, anal, and caudal fins. Black crappie have irregularly arranged speckles and blotches, while white crappie have vertical stripes along their body.
  • Habitat: freshwater lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers with ample cover, such as submerged vegetation or brush piles. They are often found in shallow water, especially during the spring spawning season.
  • Range: native to North America, and have been introduced to other parts of the world.
  • Feeding habits: carnivorous, preys on insects, small fish, and crustaceans. They are often found in schools, and their feeding activity tends to peak during low-light conditions.
  • Breeding and reproduction: typically spawn in the spring, with males constructing nest sites in shallow water. Females lay their eggs, and males fertilize them before guarding the nest until the eggs hatch. The young fish grow quickly, often reaching sexual maturity within two years.
  • Importance to humans: popular sportfish, especially in the southern and midwestern United States. Crappie are also an important commercial fishery species and a common food source.
  • Conservation status: not considered threatened or endangered, although some populations have suffered from habitat loss and overfishing. Fisheries managers often regulate crappie harvest to maintain healthy populations.

Crappie vs Bluegill

When it comes to crappie vs bluegill, they two species of freshwater fish that belong to the sunfish family. These fish are popular with anglers due to their mild flavor and willingness to bite.

Crappie, also known as papermouths, are found in freshwater lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. They usually have a silvery-green color and have black spots on their sides.

They have a compressed body shape and commonly range from 9 to 15 inches in length. Bluegill is another type of panfish that is popular in North America and can be identified by its deep greenish-blue back and silvery sides.

Similarly sized to crappie at around 9-15 inches in length, but with a more rounded body shape than crappie.

Bluegill, on the flipside, are a part of the sunfish family that can be found all over North America. They are smaller, generally about 6 to 10 inches in length, and feature round and flat bodies with blue-greenish colors.

A popular choice for fishing, many anglers have a blast catching bluegill due to their appetite for bait and their great taste when grilled or fried.

Regardless, whether you’re tackling crappies or bluegills, both can provide an exciting fishing experience!

Up next: Sunfish vs Bluegill

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How to Catch Crappy: Final Thoughts

To wrap things up, catching crappie can be a thrilling experience that necessitates patience, planning, and appropriate gear.

It is critical to use the correct bait and lures, keep track of the water temperature and depth, and pay attention to your environment.

Be open to attempting different strategies until you find one that fits best for you.

By being persistent and a little bit lucky, you’ll soon be capturing crappie like a seasoned pro! So gather all of your fishing equipment, head out to the waterway, and relish in the joy of catching these amazing fish!

Overall, crappy provide a wonderful freshwater fishing experience and you’ll enjoy your day on the banks of the lake or rivers reeling in these cool looking fish.

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