6 Crappie Fishing Tips [2021 Update]

If you are looking to catch one of the most populous fish in North America then you will need these Crappie Fishing Tips. They are found in hundreds of lakes throughout the United States in large numbers.

They are often a by-catch of anglers who are targeting bass, but are a great fish to hunt for due to their population and ease to catch.

Crappie are found in both white crappie and black crappie species. Angling techniques are the same for both.

Crappie are often under 1 pound in weight, and their bite is so slight that you might not even relive that you have hooked a fish. The key is to be aware and focused on your rod. Having an extremely sensitive spinning rod is crucial to feeling that bite and hooking the fish.

Crappie Fishing Tips

When is the Best Month to Catch Crappie?

The best month to catch crappie is in the spring months of March to May when the fish start to spawn. Crappie go into a pre-spawn feeding frenzy that often gives the largest number of fish to catch.

Crappie are found in hundreds of lakes throughout North America and can be caught all year round. They are found in large numbers and are caught relatively easily compared with other fish species.

In summer and winter crappie form loose schools and can be found in 10-35 feet of water. 

Crappie Fishing Tips

Where is the Best Location for Crappie?

In summer and winter crappie can be found around deep timber or old river channels.

In spring as the water temperature rises crappie begin to move to their spawning grounds in shallow, wind protected coves. Anglers often look for weed beds or willow trees providing cover in shallower areas.

A good rule of thumb is to fish shallower waters during spring and fall, then fish deeper waters during summer and winter.

What is the Best Crappie Fishing Gear?

The best fishing gear for crappie is ultra lightweight either spinning or baitcasting reels. 

Long cane rods are also very popular as this allows the fishermen to remain at a distance from the fish and avoids spooking or scaring the school. The other old school favorite rod is the telescopic float rod. They key here is length as the rod doesn’t have to be particularly strong.

Crappie can also be targeting through fly fishing which will needs its own specific equipment and flies.

What Bait Should I Use for Crappie Fishing?

The favorite bait for Crappie fishing are minnows, worms, and insects. Like a lot of fishing, keep an eye on your local bugs and pick a bait that replicates them as closely as possible. Just about anything will get their attention, which is one of the reasons they are so popular. Crickets are a popular and easily found bait for crappie.

If you are using minnows you want them to be as fresh as possible. Dead minnows lose their scent and may not be the attractant you are hoping for.

There are also plenty of artificial baits and lures available such as this one below. Anything that mimics their normal, natural bait will work.

Leland Lures 87273 Crappie Magnet
  • Package length: 7.62 cm
  • Package width: 10.16 cm
  • Package height: 0.762 cm

What is the Best Crappie Rig?

There are plenty of popular rigs for crappie fishing including:

  • Slip float rig
  • Drop shot rig
  • Minnow and brush jig
  • Bobber rig
  • Floating bottom walker
  • Double jig bait rig
  • Three way swivel rig
  • Bullet bait rig

This video below shows two of the most popular rigs and how to tie them:

What Temperature do Crappie Bite?

Crappie spawning peaks at 50 to 56 degrees when the fish move from the deeper waters to the shallow flats (6 to 15 feet) in spring. 

In colder temperatures they can be found in 15 to 30 feet of water, normally hiding in the depths of river channels or around deep timber and weed beds.

However, crappie can be caught all year around in all temperatures. The key is to change the location and depth that you are targeting based on the temperature.

There is a great article by Outdoor Life that explains some thermometric analysis tracking crappie behavior throughout the year.


Crappie are a great fish to target due to their shear numbers and ease to catch. They are a favorite among beginners and experienced anglers alike. There are also plenty of other crappie instructions available online if you are looking for more information.

Crappie are also one of the nicest fish to eat with clean white fresh that doesn’t carry the taste of the water in which they are caught.

If you have any tips of your own to share then please leave a comment below. The more wisdom we can gather the more fish everyone will catch.

We have written a guide on other fish species that you might find interesting.

Happy fishing.

Last update on 2021-07-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid angler. He has fished all over the world, primarily for Saltwater game fish but also for local prize fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Tyrnos for an overhead reel or a Shimano Curado for a baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.