Home Fishing Tips & Advice Crappie Fishing 101: Best Bait, Lures, and How to Catch

Crappie Fishing 101: Best Bait, Lures, and How to Catch

If you’re looking for a fish to catch that is tasty, clean, and almost guaranteed, look no farther than the crappie. Crappie are the tastiest, cleanest, freshwater fish. The meat is flaky white and you won’t taste the pond or lake water when you gorge yourself on this delectable treat. A member of the panfish category, crappie are often called papermouths, speckled bass, calico bass, strawberry bass as well as about 40 other names.

They are abundant in the lower 48 states’ lakes, streams, and rivers. Crappie eat all year long which means they can be fished all year long with springtime being most successful because that is when they spawn. Crappie don’t normally eat at the surface. They are predators so they eat near structures on the bottom of the lake because that is where their food is.

Crappie are fairly simple to catch and a blast to catch on light tackle. They swim in schools and are considered mature at 2-3 years old with a life expectancy of 7 years.

Whether you are going for white crappie or black crappie, we hope you find this guide helpful in catching crappie. Good luck!

Types of Crappie

There are two types of crappie, black crappie and white crappie. Generally, anglers aren’t particular about which type of crappie they catch as long as they catch some. However, if you think you caught a record crappie, then you will need to be able to identify which type of crappie you have caught. Generally, they are overall the same size and weight and can sometimes be difficult to tell apart.

White crappies have a more elongated body with a dorsal fin that is set further back. It has six dorsal fin spines. It is paler in colour and the dark spots are arranged in vertical bars. White crappy like warm, siltier waters. The world record white crappie was caught on the Yocona River in Mississippi in 1957 and weighed 5 lbs 3 oz.

Black crappies tend to be a little more picky about their environment. They like cool, clear lakes or large, slow moving rivers. In some waters, they look more gold than black. The black crappies have irregular black spotting and have 7-8 dorsal fin spines. In 2018, the world record black crappie was caught in Loudon County, Tennessee and was 5 lbs 7 oz.

Where to Find Crappie

As mentioned before, crappie can be found in abundance in the continental lower 48 states in lakes, rivers, and streams. Crappie can be fished for in all four seasons. The easiest way to locate crappie is to use a fish finder. Another tool that can be used is a side scan sonar that will find structure under the water. If you don’t have these tools you can still find crappie if you know where to look. Generally, crappies hide right against down trees, brush piles, ledges, or significant structure to ambush the prey.

In Autumn, crappie are extremely hard to find. This is because they move a lot. They may be 8 feet deep one day and 20 feet the next day. In the morning they could be in a brush pile and in deep points of the lake by the evening. The best way to find crappie in autumn is to keep moving.

When cold fronts begin to come through, the crappie go to deeper water. They find deep timber along channel edges. They will also hide out in underwater humps. These are the favorite retreats for crappies as the front moves in. During the more severe fronts, the deeper the fish will go.

In winter, crappie behavior is similar to their summer behavior. During these seasons, crappie form large, loose schools. These schools will hold near cover that is 10-35 feet in deep water. When they are found in the river, they will be in the deep backwaters. They also can be found near deep timber near channel breaks or humps in the lakes. Crappie can also be located near old river channels or the basin of lakes.

In spring, crappie will move to their spawning grounds which are shallow waters with wind protection and good covers. They will be close to the shoreline cover such as button willows, weedbeds, stickups, cypress trees, and cattails. The larger crappie will be found farther out over the main portions of a lake near humps and channel edges that are adjacent to shallow flats.

Fishing for crappie is quite simple for many reasons. The hardest part is locating the crappie. Looking near the structure found in the lake is the first step. Using tools like a sonar and fish finder will help make this job easier. Crappie will also frequent the same brush piles, humps and flats so once you find them, you should be able to make that your crappie fishing spot.

How to Catch Crappie

Crappie fishing used to be easy and simple. However, with the popularity of crappie tournaments increasing, anglers have gotten inventive and developed complex and different strategies and technologies to catch more and bigger crappie. There are five techniques that guarantee catching a crappie. 

Bobber and Minnow

This is the classic method of fishing for crappie. It is the easiest and very productive technique. When fishing in the spring and in the shallow water, using a fixed bobber a foot or two feet above a minnow hooked with a Mutu Light #6 Owner hook is ideal. This setup can be done with or without a split shot weight. If you want the minnow to swim freely, do not use the split shot. If you want to keep from getting the line hung up and to be somewhat stationary, use the weight.

If you are fishing brush piles or standing timber in deeper water, use a slip bobber set at the depth of the fish. Use split shots or ⅛ oz- ¼ oz sinker to put the minnow where the fish are. Instead of using a hook and weight, you could put the minnow at the end of a jighead. The ideal rod for bobber and minnow technique is a 7-12 foot rod in order to flip the rig into the cover you are fishing. 

Swim a Jig 

Another way to fish for crappie is to swim a jig rig. This rig is often done with a jig and a soft plastic. Check out our best lure section to see our favorites!. You can cast this jig rig just past the target area and retrieve. Depending on where the fish are, you might twitch, jig, or speed retrieve this jig. If no bites are felt, try going straight down into the cover and suspend there. Of course this technique works best on a boat. A 6 ½ medium action rod with spinning reel is ideal with a 4-6 lb test of monofilament or fluorocarbon line. 

Shooting/Skipping Jig

For tough to reach crappies such as under docks, piers, or overhanging limbs, shooting/skipping jigs is a great technique. With a 6 ½-7 foot rod with a limber tip and spinning reel, cast the jig under the obstacle. Think of it as shooting a bow and arrow. The ideal jig head with a soft plastic attached will give the full effect. Use a 1/16 oz jig as a 1/32 is too light and a ⅛ is too heavy. 

Spider Rigging

This technique is solely done on a boat or at least most successful on a boat. The purpose is to troll multiple jigs or minnows on multiple rods. The standard setup is 2 jigs or 2 minnows set at various lengths with a heavy sinker. The weight of the sinker depends on the wind and current. There are bow and stern rod holders that are very handy when spider rigging. If you set up each rig identically, it will help prevent foul lines and you will be able to sense even the softest bites.

Crankbaits

The last method of catching crappie is to use crankbaits. Crankbaits are used for bigger crappie suspended in open water. First use a fish finder to locate the fish. Then use a 2 in medicum diving bait to troll with. A rod and reel set up with 4-6 lb fluorocarbon or mono will allow the bait to dive 10-12 feet. You can use rod holders to troll with more than one crankbait at a time or you can cast and retrieve.

Using one of these techniques will surely get crappie on your line. From that point, reel it in, take a picture and move on to catching the next fish! If you want to keep the crappie to serve for supper, put it in a basket or live well. Check out our section on Best Gear to see our suggestions of the best gear to use while crappie fishing. 

Best Bait for Crappie

An old adage in fishing is “It is better to feed the fish than trick the fish” and that is exactly what fishing with live bait is, feeding the fish. Crappie are often both sight and smell hunters. They want food that looks and smells like food. Crappie fishing with live bait is often done under a bobber with a hook and sinker. Sometimes you can use a jig in place of the hook and sinker, however. The top live baits to use while crappie fishing are minnows, shad, tiny bluegill, worms, and insects such as crickets.

Basically, anything that is in the water that crappie eat can be used as bait. Stick it on a hook and throw it out and wait for the bobber to bob.

Minnows are a favorite however and are the most commonly used live bait. The most common types of minnows that are sold for bait include fatheads (toughies), chubs, shiners, and suckers. Within these common four types of minnows there are different sizes that are sold. Crappie prefers minnows that are 2-3 in long.

Another type of bait commonly used when fishing for crappie is artificial bites/nibbles. Many different companies make artificial crappie bait with the best ones being made by Magic Bait and Berkley Powerbait. These baits can be added to artificial lures to attract the crappie or placed on a treble hook and used solely as bait. The glow versions are highly productive as the crappie are attracted to the glowing. The best colors are glow pink, glow chartreuse, glow yellow, and glow white. The Powerbait version of this artificial bait also comes in sparkle glitter which is also a great crappie attraction.

Finding what bait is in the water will help you be more successful. Whether you use live bait or artificial crappie bites/nibbles, crappie fishing is simple with many techniques. These techniques can be done with bait or lures. Next, we look at the best lures for crappie fishing. 

Best Lures for Crappie Fishing

If the bite is hot, then tricking the fish works great! Using a lure allows you to catch fish more frequently because you are not having to bait your hook after every fish. There are so many crappie lures on the market that knowing which ones actually work can be quite complicated. It is daunting going to the tackle shop and knowing just by looking at a lure that it is going to catch fish. Depending on where in the water you plan to fish, depends on the lure you will need. Crappies can be found suspended in the water column or they can be found hitting the top of the water eating larvae and insects. These use different types of lures.

Here is a list of the top 11 lures (in no particular order) that we have had success with when fishing for crappie. 

1. Mister Twister Lil’ Bait

We love this Lil’ Bait. It is our go to plastic. Combine it with a 1/32 oz jig head (the Eagle Claw ones work great) tied with a loop knot and the crappie will be biting. Jig it off the bottom and more than likely the crappie will attack on the down fall. Change up the twitch to make this look more natural. We like it in white but also black and black/chartreuse. The ideal color is dependent on the water clarity. 

2. Berkley PowerBait Minnow

This lure will enable you to feel more bites, set more hooks, and catch more crappie. Perfect crappie lure, this is a good substitute for a live minnow. The movement of this lure imitates escaping baitfish to entice bites. The power bait minnow darts and glides smoothly through the water. It is armed with a Powerbait scent and attractant. This versatile bait is great in open water and shallow cover. It is available in multiple colors and sizes with the ideal minnow being a 2 inch smelt. These come in a package of 10. 

3. Mepps Spinners 

If you want to cover quite a bit of water in a short time, use a Mepps Spinner. The original french spinner with an extra sharp treble hook, this spinner is adequate for crappie fishing in the sizes 0-3. Size 0 weighs 1/12 oz. Size 1 weighs ⅛. Size 2 weighs ⅙. Size 3 weighs ¼ oz. Using a size 3 is great for crappie and for bass making it versatile. Use caution when reeling in this spinner when crappie fishing so that you don’t rip it out of the crappie’s mouth.

4. Crappie Buster Tube Jigs

There are quite an array of soft plastics designed with crappie fishing in mind. We like these tube jigs because they stay on the jig without sliding and because they can easily be stuffed with crappie nibbles/bites to add scent to the lure. This package of tube jigs comes with 10 different colors of tubes, 10 each. It also comes with two different size jig heads, ⅛ oz and 1/16 oz. 

5. Mini King Crappie Spinnerbait

This spinnerbait is a mini version of the larger Strike King spinner designed for bass. These mini spinnerbaits weigh 1/16 oz and come in 12 different colors. These are the most popular spinnerbaits for crappie preferred by crappie anglers. Strike King has an ideal spinner for crappie for each water condition. If you are fishing on a bright day and in clear water, chartreuse is the best color. If the water is green or stained use the red shad and finally during low light conditions at dawn and at dusk use the black spinner. 

6. Rapala Mini Fat Rap Crappie Lure

One of the bait crappies enjoy eating is crawfish. This lure is painted to look like a crawfish. With a compact body design, this lure has tight swimming action with a deep diving lip. This lure is hand tuned and tank tested. When swimming through the water this lure imitates a fleeing bait with minimal drag for effortless flushing. Attached to the lure is black nickel hooks. This crankbait is excellent for fishing for crappie.

7. Yakima Bait Wordens Original Rooster Tail Spinner Lure

The most popular and productive freshwater lure, this rooster tail spinner is great for all freshwater fish. The ideal sizes for crappie are 1/32 oz, 1/24 oz, 1/16 oz, ⅛ oz, and ¼ oz. They are available all the way to 1 oz. The rooster tail spinner has a metal blade to attract fish. This blade is available in brass, silver, and copper. It is available in over a hundred colors. The best rooster tails for crappie fishing are the tinsel leach, hammered frog, pink, chartreuse, UV tinsel shad, dot, and mayfly. With an in line weight body design the rooster tail has unique spinning action with a pulsating hackle tail that attracts fish. There are several UV finishes available as well. 

8. Bobby Garland Slab Slay’R

Made in Tulsa, OK, Bobby Garland is known for their panfish lures. The Slab Slay’R is available in 16 different color combinations and two lengths, 2 in and 3 in. The slab slay’r is ideal for crappie. The lure is ribbed with a solid body. It has a thin, spear-shaped tail. It is a highly effective bait that produces an amazing dance action. This is a great product at a fantastic price. 

9. Bobby Garland Baby Shad

Popular with crappie tournament angler, these soft plastic lures are consistent, durable and ideal for non aggressive fish and fished all year. Available in packs of 18, they are 2 inches long and have fantastic fishing action. These 18 packs are available in seven colors including glow in the dark options. Monkey Milk and Blue Thunder are the top two colors for crappie fishing. For a triple threat, add a scent like slab sauce spray and a Mr. Crappie Slab Slasher jighead

10. Gulp Alive Minnow

Available in six different colors and six different lengths, these minnows are very life-like. It has a natural presentation in action, scent, and taste. These baits last longer than live bait with quivering tail action. These minnows come in containers instead of packages. Two size containers are available, 6.8 oz and 12.8 oz. These containers keep the minnows fresh. Try pairing these soft plastics with a Bobby Garland Mo Glo jig head. These jig heads glow in the dark and are great in low visibility water, dawn, dusk, or at night. 

11. Repel Lures Pop-R:The Teeny Pop-R

This classic lure has been around for 20 years. Whether you are fishing in streams, rivers, ponds, or big reservoirs, these lures are a winning tournament lure. It produces two distinct sounds and actions. If your rod tip is high, you will hear one sound. If the rod is held toward the water, it will make a different sound. Available in 10 patterns and colors, you can work the lure quickly across the surface or you can slowly twitch to mimic a meal that is almost dead. You could also move the lure everywhere in between. The lure is 2 inches long and weighs ⅛ oz. A #11 hook is attached that will easily hook crappie. This is our favorite topwater lure for when crappies are feeding at the surface. 

Best Gear for Crappie Fishing

When Crappie Fishing, there is quite a bit of gear needed. From rods and reels, to lights and bait buckets, there is a lot to know about and that doesn’t include the tackle! What is the best gear and what do you need to go crappie fishing? We answer those questions in this next section.

Starting your crappie fishing off right, begins with a great rod and reel. There are many types of rods and reels to use when crappie fishing from rod and reel combos to single pieces, from $20-$200, prices and durability come in a vast array. We have chosen our top two reels and top two rods we find best for crappie fishing.

If you plan to crappie fish at night, you will need a crappie light. The benefits of fishing for crappie at night is that you can dodge the summer heat and sun but also because the crappie enjoy the cooler temps at night and feed at night. When fishing at night, a crappie light is ideal, specifically a light that is green or white as they attract the plankton that bait fish eat. The bait fish then attract the crappie.

If you are a crappie fisherman that fishes to put food on the table or one that likes to document the day, you need some way to keep the fish. Many times, stringers rip out of the crappie’s mouth so we prefer to use a wire basket to keep the fish alive until the end of the day. A live well or bucket with water and a little ice to keep the water cool will work as well.

When fishing with live bait such as minnows, it is imperative to have a bucket that will keep them alive. There are several types of bait buckets available including styrofoam, caged styrofoam, plastic foam, and bait coolers. These go from cheap to expensive. A great middle of the road would be the plastic foam. It is a styrofoam bucket with a hard plastic cover around the foam to make it more durable. The bait coolers are exactly as it sounds. A cooler that has been modified to hold bait. An aerator is attached to give the fish oxygen. 

Best Reels for Crappie Fishing

Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel

PRESSP20X or PRESSP20B

One of the world’s leading reel and rod manufacturers, Pflueger has been around for more than a hundred years with their first spinning reel reaching the market in 1954. It is a name that you can trust. They are innovative, dependable, and pay attention to detail. Their President Spinning Fishing Reel stands up to the Pflueger Promise, “Pflueger Products Perform.” 

The President Spinning Fishing Reel competes with high end alternatives but is very affordable. Crappie and other pan fishermen swear by it and it is widely available. Whether you are a novice crappie angler or an expert, you will love the smooth multi-disc drag and the high quality construction. This reel has 6+1 bearings and a 5.2:1 gear ratio. Reeling in the line on this reel is smooth. With a body made from graphite, the President is lightweight and has a stainless steel main shaft. It also has a soft touch knob and an on/off anti reverse. It can be for any angler, right or left handed. The spool is braid ready. When adding monofilament to this reel, it will hold 200 yds of 2 lb test, 100 yds of 4 lb test or 80 yds of 6 lb test.

We love this reel for crappie fishing because it is silky smooth and casts with great accuracy. Whether you’re trying to avoid the brush piles or get under limbs, this reel won’t disappoint. The bail will open and close every time without fail accentuating the dependability of this reel. Pflueger made some improvement with this reel and now the drag is sealed and watertight. You won’t be unhappy with the Pflueger President Spinning Reel and it comes from a brand you can trust.

SHIMANO Sedona FI, Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel

C2000S

Much like Plueger, Shimano has been around a long time. They will be celebrating their 100 year anniversary in 2021, just around the corner. Starting out as a bicycle company, Shimano launched it’s fishing tackle division in 1970 to encourage more outdoor activities, something Shimano finds very important. 1971 saw the first Shimano reel and no one has looked back since. Once you try a Shimano, it may be the only reel you ever purchase again.

Shimano reels are normally pretty expensive however, the Sedona is extremely affordable with a high quality and durable design. Whether you’re an experienced angler looking to upgrade without breaking the bank or a new angler exploring crappie fishing, the Sedona is the perfect reel for you. Appealing to the eye, the Sedona provides inshore and offshore action and lightning fast, super smooth retrieval. Although there are some hard plastic parts (drag knob and T-knob), the body is as solid as large reels. The body is made of a composite HGT 7 M material which gives strength and lightweight. The Sedona has recently been upgraded and now offers Shimano’s HAGANE gears and trouble free 3+1 bearings. Our favorite spec on the Sedona is the propulsion line management system. This system allows for longer casting without backlash or wind knots. The maximum drag is 7 lbs and has a gear ratio of 5.0:1.

Paired with a light or ultralight rod, this reel will cast with ease and distance. It has smooth reeling and casting. It will hold more mono than the Plueger with 270 yards of 2 lb, 140 yards of 4 lb, or 110 yds of 6 lb. It also has no anti reverse switch which we find no problem with as sometimes it can get in the way, especially for new anglers or children. Not only will this reel look good, it will perform excellently when fishing for crappie.

Whether you choose the Plueger or the Shimano, we know you will be happy with the quality and capabilities of each reel. Paired with a light or ultra light rod, you can’t go wrong with these reels.

Best Rods for Crappie Fishing

Cadence Spinning Rod CR5

Although the Cadence Fishing company has not been around as long as Pflueger or Shimano, they are still a very trusted company whose business model we can get behind. For every purchase, Cadence donates a fishing combo to a child to increase interest in fishing in the next generation. “Go Fishing, Give Back” is Cadence’s charity motto. With a company that invests in the next generation, it’s one we can support.

The Cadence Spinning Rod CR5 is a fast action 7 foot 2 piece rod. The split handle is made of cork and EVA which gives comfort and durability. The handle also has a FUJI reel seat which aids for firm gripping. This rod is extremely affordable and very sensitive which makes it perfect for crappie fishing. Made of 30-ton carbon, the rod is stronger and lighter than other crappie rods on the market. There are multiple specs that make this pole excellent for crappie fishing. The ideal mono weight is 2 to 6 lbs. It can handle a lure from ⅛-⅝ oz. The weight of the rod is 1.76 oz. The eyes are made from stainless steel that help avoid stuck lines and enhances the rods vibration sensitivity. There are seven guides plus the tip. This rod allows you to feel the fish bite from the tip to the handle. 

We absolutely love the lightness of this rod. It’s super whippy. Paired with the President, this rod will cast accurately and at great distance. The Cadence Spinning Rod CR5 is ultra high quality with super smooth power. If you are a versatile angler, this rod is for you. It can be used in freshwater or saltwater and is great for multiple game fish but ideal for crappie. We love the security of the hooking of the fish with just a soft touch. Although Cadence is a newer company, we feel this company can be trusted as the quality of this pole is excellent at such an affordable price.

St. Croix Premier Graphite Spinning Rod

PS70MHF

A family owned and operated business, St. Croix has a reputation for extremely high quality rods. They combine old world craftsmanship with new world technology to make “the best rods on earth.” Their rods are always high quality and they take care of their customers.

The St. Croix Premier Spinning Rod is the best lightweight rod on the market. It is more expensive than the Cadence CR5 but the extra money is fantastic value for the investment. The full cork handle gives plenty of cushion and the light weight is great for portability. The specs for this rod include one piece, 7 foot, medium fast action, made from SCII graphite perfect for rugged locations. The guides are made from aluminum oxide that are smooth and allow smooth and easy casting. These guides minimize drag. This is a new rod in the St. Croix family and is suitable for 4-10 lb test and ⅛-½ oz lure. St. Croix offers a 5 year warranty on the rod.

You definitely pay for the high quality components in this rod, however, St. Croix backs their product with their 5 year warranty. We love the comfortable base and full cork handle with a strong grip for reeling. This strong grip is great for fighting fish. This rod is super sensitive and you feel even the most hesitant bite. It has soft set capabilities to sink the hole in the crappie’s mouth. The casting is long and easy. Without a doubt this is a top of the line rod and whether you pair it with the President or the Sedona, you will be happy and successful with this rod.

Other Gear for Crappie Fishing

Bright Night Fishing Underwater Light

This light shines super bright green with 15,000 Lumens. 300 LED bulbs in a 360° submersible tube. It has 25 foot battery clamp wires powered by 12V. Safe for both saltwater and freshwater, this light can be used in boats, kayaks, or canoes or on docks, piers, or the bank. We love the brightness of this light and it is very durable. You are sure to attract the bait fish and in turn, attract the crappie. 

Eagle Claw Fish Basket

The Eagle Claw fish basket comes in multiple sizes and styles but we like the big one best (19×30). The bigger the basket, the more fish we can hold. This wire basket is durable, strong, and collapsible for easy storage and portability. Two spring loaded doors allows you to quickly put the fish in the basket and go back to fishing without the fish escaping. It is not only great for crappie fishing but panfishing as well. 

Frabill 4825 Insulated Bait Bucket with Built in Aerator

This insulated bucket is reasonably priced with an aerator already included. It holds 1.3 gallons and has an insulated liner. The built in compartment in the lid holds the aerator with a hole in the lid for the hose. It is lightweight, yet durable and won’t blow over in the wind. A small net fits perfectly in the lid to net the bait. Your bait will stay alive longer with this bucket, just don’t forget the batteries.

Crappie fishing can be as easy as a rod and reel, some line, a hook, a bomber, and some minnows but it can also feel like you’re loading everything except the kitchen sink into the truck to catch crappie. Unfortunately not everything we think you need is on this list, just the basics to make your fishing trip a success. Some other gear to consider is a pair of pliers to remove hooks, gloves for filleting, a fillet knife, a knife to cut line when changing out tackle, and then any gear you need for comfort such as a chair, water, snacks, or shade. So whether you’re a minimalist angler or you like to have everything for every situation, we hope this list of best gear will help get you started.

Last Minute Tips

In a last effort to help make you the most successful crappie angler possible, here are a few tips. Establish a pattern. Find something that works and a place where the crappie are and enjoy catching. 

Don’t change what’s working, but change if it’s not. Once you find something that works, stick with it. If you are using a bait or in a location and the crappie aren’t biting, move or use a different bait. 

Watch your line closely. Crappies do not attack. They don’t attack a lure or bait like a bass or walleye. They will simply inhale the bait or lure which will make it difficult for you to see if you are not using a bobber. 

Set the hook gently. Crappie are called papermouths for a reason. They have very thin mouths that can be ripped easily. When you set the hook and reel in the fish, be mindful of the strength you are using. 

Crappies are fighters and it is enjoyable to catch them. They are abundant, widespread, easy to catch, and delicious. If that doesn’t entice you to fish for them, we don’t know what will. So grab a pole, some tackle, and bait and get out fishing!


FAQ

How big can a crappie get?

The world record crappies weighed close to six pounds. However, the crappies that are often caught are between ½-1 pound. With a 1 pound crappie being a nice catch. Some larger crappies found in deeper waters may weigh between two and three pounds which is something to brag about. No matter the size of the crappie, you can guarantee a fight and enjoyment when catching crappie.

What is the best way to catch crappie?

Many anglers have many opinions about this question but the most responded with spider rigging. Spider rigging gives you multiple rods and hooks to catch crappie with. Most of the time, an angler will have 8 rods with two baits/lures on each rod. This is 16 chances for crappie to bite your hook. This way of fishing can be done on the bank but is ideally done on a boat. 

Can you troll for crappie?

Yes, you can troll for crappie. You can troll for crappie while spider rigging as well. Using a live bait, crankbait, or even jig are options when trolling. This is the most effective way to fish for crappie if they are suspended in the water column. Troll through the water at 1 mph until the fish are marked and then slow down to 0.1 mph with your lures and baits. For extra effectiveness, try putting some sort of scent on your jigs or lures, like Crappie Slab Sauce or one of the bites/nibbles found in the Best Bait Section. 

What size hooks should I use?

Crappies have pretty fragile mouths so using the correct size hook is important. The smaller the hook you use, the easier you have to take it while reeling the crappie in. When using bait, you should use size 6 to size 1 hooks. However, crappie have large mouths and can handle hooks as large as 3/0 which are commonly used on bass lures making them a possibility when fishing for crappie. We do suggest you use single hooks instead of treble hooks as single hooks are easier to remove from their fragile mouths.

What is a crappie’s favorite food?

Adult crappies love love love minnows. It really doesn’t matter what species of minnows, they like them all. They also enjoy shad and crawfish. Another food on the crappies’ menu is insects and crustaceans. As a juvenile, crappies will eat zooplankton, water insects, bugs, and other small invertebrates.

Will Crappie eat worms? 

Crappies will bite worms, however, it isn’t an ideal bait. Oftentimes, worms will be added to a jig to get scent into the water but fishing worms will not guarantee a crappie will bite your hook. Many times, fishing with worms will get other fish which can become a nuisance if you are wanting crappie. If you are sight fishing crappie, worms will work if you place it right in front of the crappie’s head. 

What time of day is best for crappie fishing?

The best time to fish for crappie is night, dawn, and dusk. The fish are the most active during this time especially when it is hot outside. It is not impossible to fish for crappie during the day, however. Having the proper bait will help catch these opportunistic feeders. 

How do you fish for crappie at night?

Using a light is the best way to fish for crappie at night. The crappie are attracted to the bait that the light attracts. Cast baits around the light not directly into the light to be successful. When fishing at night, try using scent and glow baits. Crappie will also be attracted to these more so at night than during the day. 

Are crappies attracted to light?

In a sense, crappies are attracted to light but not because of the light itself but because of the zooplankton and other things that are attracted to the light. Crappie feed on the bait that feeds on the specimens that are attracted to the light. These specimens include shad, blue gill, and insects. If the light doesn’t attract the bait, then crappie won’t be attracted to the area. 

Is there a limit on crappie?

Most places have some sort of daily creel limit. Depending on your location, you may have a daily limit and/or a size limit. Some places even have a slot for crappie. Be sure to check local regulations when fishing for any species of fish to ensure you stay within regulations. Check out the Florida Black Crappie limits here.

Be sure to also check out: How to Catch a Northern Pike