Home Fishing Tips & Advice How to Read a Lake Map for Crappie Fishing

How to Read a Lake Map for Crappie Fishing

Understanding what you are looking at on a map when Crappie fishing is very important, as you need to be able to relate the contours to the physical structures of the lake. For example, most contour lines that appear to be tighter are normally representative of a steeper area. Therefore, knowing your way around the lake using a map shouldn’t be a head-scratcher because of the mass of water bodies and the obvious creek lines that tend to be the point of contact between water and land. 

How to Read a Lake Map for Crappie Fishing

When fishing for crappie, especially in the southern lakes, there are some features that you will have to look out for in the maps, such as the creek channels. Most of them are normally named, so if you move along the creeks channel on the map, you will spot some small pockets and if there is an exposed water body or fingers next to the creek, then that is probably where the crappie will be spawning. 

So if you are planning to go crappie fishing, the idea is to locate the creek channel in the lake and look for the steep drop-offs, because these spots are the likely areas that the crappie will begin to spawn. And for the post-spawn, they will probably move out, and as it approaches late summer or fall, you will find crappie along the creek edge and the inside reservoirs.

If you are going to fish in a new lake, you will, therefore, first have to break down the higher probability areas, also pay keen consideration to the time of the year. If you plan to go fishing during the springtime, then it would be best to look into the creek channels, and the spawning bays; you could also look in the shallow waters during this period. 

For the post-spawn, you can check on the creek edges, and during the late summer, you can check at the deeper creek edges represented by curved lines that have been packed together.  

Characteristics of Crappie

Before you go crappie fishing it is important to understand the type of bait that they like, for your mission to be successful. However, don’t put too much thought into this because crappies are the friendly type of fish and won’t give much consideration to the color of bait that you use. You could, therefore, bait them with a live minnow, insects, or worms. 

Crappies normally appear in large numbers when the weather starts to warm up, most probably into spring. And when the temperatures clock 50 degrees, they will then move to the shallow waters, to feed and will stay there until that time when the water is approaching 60 and they start spawning. 

Crappies are a schooling type of fish, and are not restricted to their type thus can also school with the other types of panfish. And just like most types of fish love to hide, crappie will make a dwelling on the underwater structures, such as the weed bends, or the fallen trees and other submerged structures. So during the day, you will rarely find crappies on the surface, as they love their peace and will, therefore, go into hiding deep under the water. 

They will then move to the surface at dawn or dusk. They can, however, be found in large numbers during the spawning period. And some of the lakes that you will mostly find the crappie fish are such as the Weiss lake, the Alabama river, the Truman, and Roosevelt lake among others. 

Best Bait for Crappie

Now for as much as crappies are not selective on the type of bait that you use, you might notice some major difference when you switch them. For example, when the water is too clear you might want to keep your bait naturally colored, most probably on what it might be feeding on. And when the sun is all bright and shiny, you can go with any color bait but you need to make sure that it is bright and shiny. 

Bright colors also work some real magic on the dark waters, as they tend to reflect a lot of light thus attract the fish. 

How to Catch a Crappie

So as you set out on your fishing trip, it is important that your boat is whisper silent and the equipment that you will have carried should be placed on a cushioned seat or a thick towel. The above is to prevent noise production that will consequently travel to the fishing environment and will thus scare the fish away. 

Remember that sounds travels a lot faster in water, so the banging weights against the boat or a loud aerator will most definitely scare the fish. And if you are not in the mood to go deep into the lake but have an appetite for fish, then you can simply fish from the banks. For this option, you will have to find an area that varies in-depth, as concerns the casting distance. 

The above fishing option works well with a live minnow, and all you need is a simple hook bobber and sinker. You will, therefore, vary the depth with which you deliver the minnow underwater, after five or ten minutes, up until you strike. 

There is also another new technique that is slowly gaining popularity and that you might want to try, so to make it successful you will have to use a trolling motor on the side of the boat. Besides the side pulling crankbaits on the long lines tend to cover a large fishing area thus gives you numerous opportunities of actually catching crappie. 

And with this method, all the necessary fish catching techniques should be employed, such as varying the depth of the bait and the colors. The crappie fish are available in two varieties the black and the white crappie, the former is characteristic shorter than the white crappie, which features a slender and longer body structure.

Black crappies can, therefore, be found in large ponds, or the shallow lakes, with muddy or sandy bottoms, they also love areas with vegetation within their vicinity. White crappies, on the other hand, can be found in the shallow lakes and can survive in different ranges of water than the black ones.