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Do you want to take more crappie home? Would you like to return home with a cooler full of crappies? Crappie is a fish in the sunfish family that can be found in many areas. It is tasty and puts up a good fight despite its size. If you would like to learn how to catch more crappies, then we shared crappie fishing tips to help you get more crappies on your dinner table.
Table of Contents
How To Catch Crappie
Trolling can be used to catch crappie. Many anglers use trolling to catch a variety of fish. When trolling you attach your line with the bait to the back of the boat. Move the boat slowly and when you get a bite, quickly reel in the fish.
When trolling, look for underwater structures like drop-offs, and ledges that may hold crappies by using your fish finder. Deeper water with trees hanging over the water can also be an area where crappie may reside.
2. Vertical Jigging
Vertical jigging using live bait or lures can also be used to fish for crappie. When jigging, you drop your bait to the bottom, and when it hits the bottom, quickly pull the bait upward and then let it sink back to the bottom. This upward and downward motion will get the attention of crappie which will most likely strike the bait. Jigging can be upward and downward (vertical) or side to side.
3. Night Fishing
Night fishing can also be used to catch crappie. Most fish actively feed at night because their predators are not out in search of them. This allows these fish to be less wary and this can work to the advantage of the angler. Many anglers state that night fishing is more productive than daytime fishing.
You can cast for crappie. Casting is one of the popular fishing methods used by anglers to catch many species of fish. Lightweight fishing rods are usually used to cast for crappie.
5. Fly Fishing
Fly fishing is another fishing method that anglers use to catch crappies and other fish. It is more challenging to catch fish by fly fishing, but if you have honed your fly fishing skills, then you can give it a try. Wet or dry flies can be used but they must mimic the prey that crappie goes after like minnows.
Crappie Fishing Tackle
Crappies can be caught on regular fishing gear. You don’t need any high-tech gear. A light spinning rod and a 1500 to 2000 series spinning reel paired with a 6-pound test monofilament test line will work fine for crappie fishing.
Crappie Fishing Tips
1. Crappie is a schooling fish. If you catch one, just know that there are many nearby. Quickly set your bait and go again. However, you will have to always look for these schools as they don’t remain in one place.
2. A great way to find schools of crappies is trolling. Look for structures, sharp edges, and drop-offs with your fish finder. If there are trees hanging over the water, check if is deep water.
3. Jigging lures or live bait works well in deep waters.
4. Fishing for crappies at night can be very productive as the light you use will attract minnows and they are food for crappies.
5. When crappie are suspended in deep water is the best time to implement vertical jigging. Vertical jigging is also great for ice fishing.
6. Many anglers tip their jigs with bait to give it a scent. You can use natural and artificial bait.
7. A slip knot will get you more crappies. Just tie the lure on but make a loop rather than tightening the line down to the eye. This allows you to add more action to the lure.
8. If you use crankbaits, you will have to get it down to deeper water with weights. Crappie doesn’t usually feed on the surface.
9. Although crappie is a schooling fish, they school by size. If you catch a crappie, there will be many more around. However, they will all be about the same size as the one you initially caught.
10. The best crappie fishing time of the year is the pre-dawn period coming in late winter into spring which is also the beginning of the crappie fishing period.
11. You can find crappie in shallow waters during the warm days of spring.
12. In the summer as the temperature peaks and the water column stabilizes, you can find crappie in the weeds.
13. In fall, crappie begin to migrate toward deeper water prior to establishing a pattern for winter.
14. Be on the lookout for moving water in spring. The inlets will be warmer and the moving water provides oxygen. This is even more crucial in the ice belt after winter in which oxygen and other resources were depleted.
15. Crappie spawn in mid-May and June. Before this period, crappie is focused on food and warmth; not reproduction.
16. During the actual spawn period, crappie is not focused on food and this will make fishing for crappie more difficult. Hence, you will have better chances of getting crappie by fishing for them before the spawning starts.
17. Use a spring or slip bobber with a small jig or hook. A minnow or worm can be the bait and cast along the shallows.
18. After the spawn phase is when summer crappie patterns change as they are done with reproduction and the water temperatures begin to warm up.
19. Crappies spread out in the post-spawn stage. They will spread throughout the water making it difficult to locate them. They will not be congregated in the shallows or basins like during other times of the year. They often relocate to weed lines or in timber.
20. Due to their behavior post-spawn, you will have to cover a lot of water to catch crappie.
21. Trolling is one way to target crappie. When trolling, don’t let your line go too deep. Keep it just a few feet above the bottom and go slow.
22. When trolling, use a light split shot or not use a weight. On the snell, you can troll with plastic or worm.
23. In the summer, you can cast for crappie if you locate sunken structures near the shoreline.
24. In fall, water temperatures start to get colder which will cause crappie to change their patterns. They will go to deeper water. You will have to fish slower with more finesse baits as crappie metabolism slows down. A slow fall rate might lure crappie to rise up and investigate your bait.
25. Ice fishing crappies also come with their challenges. You will find schools of crappie deep and feeding on zooplankton. On the ice, when you see zooplankton, there will be crappie there feeding on them.
26. In lakes covered with thick ice and snow, crappie will migrate the basins, feeding on plankton and moving around in the area.
27. When ice fishing for crappies, they are easy to detect. As they are suspended in search of food, they give away their location.
28. When ice fishing for crappies and come across a basin, if it is warm, punch many holes across the bowl as you possibly can. This allows you to follow the migrating school of crappies as you target them.
1. Lightweight rods
2. Light lines with 4- to 6- pound test.
3. Small hooks
Live Bait For Crappie
Minnows are one of the popular baits used by anglers for fishing.
Worms are very effective when fishing for crappies.
Leeches are also good bait for fish and crappies are no exception.
Grubs are also used as bait for fish including crappies.
Crayfish is used as bait for fish by anglers including crappies.
Crickets are very effective in fishing for crappies.
Shad is a major food source for crappies all year round and is a good bait.
Caro is also used as bait for crappies.
Crankbaits are very effective lures for crappies.
Jerkbaits work well for spring crappies.
Spoons are very effective for crappie fishing in deeper structures and cover.
Jigs and plastics are some of the popular ures used by anglers for crappies.
The Bottom Line
Crappie is a North American freshwater fish that is abundantly found in most parts of the north. It is considered a tasty fish as well as a sports fish. To be successful with crappie fishing you have to understand its seasonal patterns that will help find and catch them all year long.
Crappie fishing tips like bass fishing tips, sauger fishing tips, or perch fishing tips can be learned, practiced, and get good at it. In this article, we shared some crappie fish tips to help you learn how to catch more crappies and take them home the entire year.