Game

A Guide to Catching Crappie

August 31, 2015
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©istockphoto/JLFCapture

©istockphoto/JLFCapture

Light as a feather and quick as lightning, crappie are some of the most devious fish in the water. With so many of them floating under the currents across the states, they’ve become a popular breed for fisherman both beginner and expert. They aren’t particularly difficult to catch, but this handy guide might give you a few pointers if you find yourself struggling.

Abundant All Year
Crappie never seem to rest, nor disappear, but they do tend to change their habits as we flow through the different seasons.

Summer is the easiest time to round up crappie. They prefer waters that are somewhat on the shallow side, usually between 10 and 35 feet, but tend to gravitate toward as much coverage as they can find. Look for them near channel breaks and deep backwaters. You might need to employ a fish-finder if you’re feeling desperate, but you can probably do the job by sight.

In spring, these little guys like to get their groove on and move to spawning grounds where it’s like shooting fish in a barrel—or lake, in this case. They like the shallow water under hidden coves, so as long as you know where to find them you shouldn’t have too much trouble snagging a bite.

It’s the fall when these guys start giving fisherman some real trouble. The temperatures fluctuate so often that they don’t know where to go, so it becomes difficult to pin them down. Keep on the move and test out a few areas until you get a bite.

Pick Any Pole
Unlike other fish, these guys will take a bite out of anything. There’s really no specific pole, rod, or reel needed to lure these fellas in for a meal. You’ll only need to adjust depending on the depth of the waters.

For deep spots, spinning with a 10-pound line should allow you to reach deep enough to snag a bite, though it might be hard to feel a crappie biting on that deep—they don’t weigh much, after all.

Use a Jig
Your choice of lure should be a little more limited than your options for rod and reel. Basically, you’ll want to stick with jigs. The color and style isn’t especially important, so feel free to experiment. Curlytails are often pretty effective, while those with spinners are also a great choice.

Avoid using a jig weighing more than 1/8 ounce, anything more than that will be too heavy. In fact, you might want to lean toward the lightest you can find.

Black vs. White
In the immortal words of Michael Jackson, it doesn’t matter if it’s black or white. Seriously, fishing styles between the two crappie are so similar that most fisherman don’t even know how to distinguish between the two.

What works for one, will certainly work for the other.

Crappie are a great option for a lazy day on the lake, and even taste pretty great if you can catch enough to make a full meal. They’re a great option for starting out on if you want to get a friend or even your kid into the sport.

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