Welcome to Crappie Fishing Hole
Welcome to the Crappie Fishing Hole. The Crappie Fishing Hole is your honey hole for crappie information. Come to the Crappie Fishing Hole for Crappie Fishing Tips and Crappie Fishing Techniques.
Check us out for great information about the hottest Crappy Jigs & Crappy Lures. The Crappie Fishing Hole also has many reviews of the best crappie guides. Also, check out our listing of the best lakes to go crappie fishing in every state. So, if you are looking for any kind of crappie fishing information then this is the place for you.
Know Your Crappie
Let’s start with the most basic facts – when we say crappie we’re actually talking about two different species, both closely related members of the sunfish family. These two species are white and black crappie.
Black crappie is white or grayish-white in color, with dark gray or black spots which cover their sides. White crappies are named for their lighter colors and have distinctive vertical bars which run down their sides.
The spots and bars on crappie are darker or lighter depending on the kind of water the fish live in and the time of year. In the spring when the fish spawn, male crappies are darker; most of its body may be jet black at this time of year. You can also distinguish the two species by their dorsal spines; white crappie will have 5 or 6 spines, black crappie 7 or 8.
Their appearance may be slightly different, but the two species have much else in common. All crappie have arrays of gill rakers used to strain plankton (a staple of their diet) from water. Crappie will eat nearly anything they can: insects, minnows, crustaceans, small fish and sometimes even prey their own size including threadfin and gizzard shad. Crappies have very healthy appetites, but do most of their feeding from dusk to dawn. They prefer to stay out of the sun and feed less frequently when water temperatures sink below 50 degrees.
While they’re active year round, the spring and fall are the best times to catch crappie. Spring offers a particularly easy catch. Crappie will tend to stay away from shallow waters in the winter months, but once the water starts approaching 50 degrees they’ll start to come out of hiding, hanging around the mouths of creek channels. Once things warm up a little further, they make their way to shallow bays and secondary creeks via creek channels.
This is the time of year I like to get out there and either troll minnows or cast a Road Runner baited with a grub out to stumps and pockets of brush, retrieving the line very slowly. By this time of year you’ll find the males in shallow water scoping out spawning beds while the females hang back in the closest deep water. As it gets closer to spawning season, crappie will be more aggressive feeders and you’ll see baitfish becoming more active. To catch males, try a minnow under a cork in likely spawning beds. For females, you can use a cast into the deeper waters with a slow retrieval to lure them out.
Water surface temperatures from 62-65 degrees are when crappie will begin spawning in earnest. You’ll find black crappie spawning in shallow waters, while white crappies prefer deeper areas, with depths of 10’ or more. The females will move in to the spawning beds only once the time is right. They stay only long enough to deposit their eggs. The males stay behind to guard the nest while the females head back to deeper water to rest. Three to five days and the eggs should be hatched. You’ll do pretty well right now with a live minnow under a cork.
The males stay to protect the nest until their fry are about ½” long before heading out. Once the water gets to around 70 degrees, you can use minnows or a Roadrunner or other jig. Cast and retrieve very, very slowly. When the water is reaching 75 degrees, the males will head back out through the creek channels and rejoin the females in deeper, cooler waters for the summer.
The toughest times for crappie anglers are summer and winter. Crappie head for deep waters after spawning, coming to the shallows to feed only at dawn and dusk; there are exceptions and I know I can’t be the only angler to catch a crappie in shallow water even in the middle of summer. You will sometimes find them in shady areas including under docks, bridges and weed beds which are located near deeper waters.
The fall is a better time for anglers. When the water starts to cool, crappie begin fattening themselves for winter. You’ll find crappie staging not too far from their pre-spawn hangouts and you can do well just casting jigs in the autumn. Personally, I use the same jigs as I do in the spring pre-spawning season.
The good times end soon though. Once water temperatures sink down to the mid-40s, crappie head back to the deeper waters of a lake.
Please note that the water temperatures and times of year will correspond to each other differently depending where you’re located. Water temperatures may reach spawning temperatures as early as late January if you happen to be in Mississippi, but you’ll have to wait until May or June if you’re in Minnesota.
The number one rule with crappie is this: Crappie love cover.
You’ll find them in brush piles, around stumps, rock piles, fallen trees and any and every other submerged or semi-submerged cover.
Vertical jigging is the way to go with these structures – a wax worm-tipped 1/16 or 1/32 oz jig twitched in a brush pile is going to get their attention. A minnow on a Tru-Turn BloodRed hook with a bobber will do the trick nicely as well. Once you’ve found what depth they’re hiding out, work it! Keep fishing at that depth until you’ve caught all you want or you stop bringing them in.