How to Catch Crappie

The distinctively speckled freshwater fish, the crappie is a highly prized and a popular target for many anglers. Not because of its aggressive hits (“wait, was that a bite?”) or the powerful runs and leaping ability (crappie often just lie on one side and let you reel them in across the surface). It is the prospect of a plate of fried crappie keeps many anglers on the water. And when you catch one, you usually can catch enough for a “mess.”

3 Crappie Fishing Tips

1. Brush. Crappie love submerged timber and brush piles. These fish hold tight to the habitat and may not venture far away, so you are going to have to risk a snag or two and get in there.

2. Minnows. They will hit good crappie lures such as tiny jigs, spoons, or even crankbaits but the serious crappie angler doesn’t point the boat to a brush pile without a bucket of fathead minnows or small golden shiners.

3. Bobbers. Depth is critical. Crappie often suspend at a certain depth. When you catch one, pay close attention to the depth and quickly get another minnow down to that point. Slip bobbers will help, especially with casting and deep target zones.

I rarely target crappie but sometimes find them while bass fishing. I make sure to record the time of year, location, lure, etc. in case the next outing is a crappie trip. Crappies are prone to stunting and can be a challenge to manage. Be sure to check regulations in your state as harvest sizes and quantities may change.

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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.