Fishing for Crappie
Tips, tactics and lakes listed by state.
Crappie are actually a member of the sunfish family and can be found in all the continental states. They are known by many different names - typically based on geographic location. Paper mouth, goggleye, bridge perch and speckled perch, just to name a few.
Biologists categorize the many varieties of this specie into two main categories. Both have been introduced in many waters both north and south and they tend to adapt to most environments. Following the seasonal movements of crappie will help to determine their location and how to catch them.
Prefers deep impoundments with fairly clear to slightly stained water with brush or trees for cover. Ideal water temperature: 66° to 76°
World record: 6 pounds, 0 ounces
This is the darker of the two species, has seven or eight dorsal spines, has spotted sides and is typically found more in the northern states. They prefer larger, deeper impoundments.
Prefers warmer, slightly stained to murky water with little or no current with brush or trees for cover. Ideal water temperature: 64° to 80°
World record: 5 pounds, 3 ounces
Lighter in color, it has six dorsal spines, has eight or nine vertical bands on its sides and is found primarily in the southern states, and prefers quiet backwaters. Whites are often found in murkier waters.
Both blacks and whites can grow to over five pounds while three quarters of a pound to a pound is more typical.
Best Crappie Lures
Baits which imitate minnows, insects, worms or small crustaceans will attract them. See a list of the top producing crappie lures. The more aggressive they are, the faster you can move the bait in order to cover more water.
These are schooling fish and can be caught by still-fishing, casting, trolling or drifting. Spring is the best season as they are involved in their spawning runs. They love cover, so locate brush, stumps or artificial cover at appropriate depths and you are likely to find crappie. At dawn you may find them close to the surface. As the sun hits the water they drop to 5 or 10 feet deep depending on water clarity. As the sun gets higher in the sky they may retreat to deeper water, 25 feet or more. As the sun begins to set they will move back up to the shallows and finish the day at the surface as dusk turns to darkness. Typically they return to deeper water for the night and may occasionally do some feeding during the dark hours.
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Find crappie waters by state.