Crappie | crappie fishing

Crappie Fishing Techniques – Fishing For Crappie


white crappie

White crappie have a defined vertical bar pattern

There are two different species of crappie. The black crappie and the white crappie. The major difference between black crappie and white crappie is that black crappie have a random black spotted or checkered pattern throughout their bodies, and white crappie have more defined vertical bars or stripes of black spots. Black crappie have 7 or 8 dorsal spines in front of their dorsal fin, whereas white crappie only have 5 or 6 dorsal spines in front of their dorsal fin.

Black crappie and white crappie both inhabit the same waters, and are often caught out of the same schools of

black crappie

Black crappie have a random spotted pattern

fish. However, black crappie are more often found in the northern clear and cold lake waters, and white crappie are more regularly found in the cloudy or muddy waters of rivers or backwaters. Depending on the part of the country you’re fishing, both black and white crappie can vary in shading from light to dark, and a lot of this can be determined by the mineral content in the water that they live in. And both black and white crappie can can be a darker shade during the springtime spawn than they are during other parts of the season. Black and white crappie can be found in all of the United States and southern Canada.

Crappie Fishing Facts


Crappie Nicknames: crappie, craps, slab, crappy, paper mouth, sac-a-lait, white perch
Family: Sunfish
Range: Crappie can be found throughout North America from as far south as Florida to as far north as Ontario, Canada and all parts in between.
Habitat: River systems and reservoirs, lakes and small ponds. Often stocked in farm ponds in the Midwest. Weed beds, brushy structure and mud flats.
Spawn: Springtime in shallow water in reeds and vegetation when the water reaches the mid to upper 50 degrees.
Baits & Lures: Small jigs and plastic grubs, maraboeuf jigs, beetle spins, small minnows with bobber, small crank baits, crappie magnets
Primary Prey: Minnows, small grubs and larvae
Supreme Fishing Times: Morning and evening crappie come out from under cover and become more accessible to anglers
Size Range: Between 7 and 15 inches usually, anything 12″ or larger is considered a “slab” and trophy crappie are in the 15″ to 18″ range.
Table Fare: Flaky white meat, that are perfect for frying. One of the best eating fish there is.
Difficulty to Catch: Easy to moderate
Initial Investment in Equipment: Low, an ultralight spinning fishing rod and reel with small jigs and grubs fished from shore or a bare hook tipped with a minnow suspended under a bobber will do the trick. Less than $100 will get you started.

Crappie Fishing Techniques

One of the most important crappie fishing techniques to learn is about bait or fishing lure position. Crappie fish almost always feed upward. Crappie will always move upward in the water column to eat the fishing bait, whether that’s a crappie jig or live bait such as a crappie minnow. Crappie seldom ever chase their prey downward, but focus their feeding habits directly in front of them and upward roughly two feet. As a crappie angler, it’s your job to put your fishing bait in that position to stand the best chance at catching a crappie.

Both black crappie and white crappie have paper thin mouths. When learning how to catch crappie, you need to remember that you can’t set the hook very hard, otherwise you’ll end up ripping the jig or hook right out of their mouths. Crappies’ mouths are quite large in proportion to their bodies, but are made of thin cartilage that easily rip if you’re not careful.

When learning how to crappie fish, it will take a little getting used to their bite. Crappie fish have a tendency to eat their prey and stay still. Other species of fish tend to eat their prey and then swim off. Crappie fish on the other hand will bite the bait and then not move. When fishing for crappie, it’s not uncommon that you won’t even know you have a crappie on your line. Many anglers miss their bite on their crappie rigs because it’s a very subtle bite or tick on your line, and can hardly be felt on your fishing pole. Ultralight spinning combos are very commonly used while fishing for crappie because they have a very light action and the lightest bites can be felt through the light tackle.

Ultralight spinning rodscrappie fishing with an open-face spinning reel spooled with 4 lb test mono line is a perfect setup for fishing for crappie fish.


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