Hello fishing enthusiasts! It does not matter if you are a beginner, experienced or mad angler, fishing is the greatest outdoor sport for everyone. First of all, we would like to underline the fact that fishing is not easy. There are numerous secrets that only a few people know.
The mysterious underwater world is filled with colors and life and waits to be discovered by you. However, most people are scared of diving into the unknown and that’s why the ultrafisher team is here!
The ultrafisher community consists of multiple avid fishing lovers and is ready to teach you some of the best fishing tips, tactics and tricks.
We are going to talk about a really popular game fish which is one of the weirdest mysteries amongst the fishing community. What fish is that? The fascinating Crappie!
Every bass or pike angler will definitely spend some fishing time for crappie. You will understand the reason after finish reading the article. Before you hit the water, you should have a good knowledge base.
Consequently, we decided to teach you EVERYTHING ABOUT CRAPPIE FISHING in order to prepare you for this extraordinary thrill of a big crappie catch.
The Crappie Fish: Basic Information
Just to start out with, you can find crappies all over the northern States of the US and they are freshwater schooling fish. The crappie family consists of two crappie species, white and black crappie and their sizes ranges between 0,5 lbs up to 1 lbs.
However, the biggest crappie ever caught was 5 lbs! These fish live in murky waters and they prefer “green” environments with weedy beds. It would be important to mention that they like to hide under tree trunks.
Young crappies live in shoals and when they grow up they tend to attend smaller fish groups in order to search for food. It is a significant fact that these fish are really active during the winter period. Consequently, they are on the top of the ice-fisherman’s target list.
However, crappies are hard to find if you are ice fishing. Consequently, you will have to drill lots of holes in order to find them.
Weather Conditions and Best Crappie Fishing Season
The weather conditions and seasons definitely affect the habits of the great crappie fish due to high and low atmosphere pressure. During the summer they live in the bottom water column and approach the water surface in order to find food. Dawn and dusk are the best feeding hours as they are more active during the night.
On the other hand, during the winter, crappies live in shallow waters. Spring, is the spawning period. Wintertime crappie fishing is probably an experience that you will never forget as it is the best time for crappie fishing.
If you are a summer fishing fan you will find success in deeper waters by using large jigs or spinnerbaits with a big shiny blade.
Feeding Behavior and habits
The last thing that you should definitely know about crappies is their feeding behavior. It is really important to know what they feed on if you want to catch them. Overall, crappies feed on small fish (basically minnows), crustaceans like crayfish and insects of course.
Knowing the feeding behavior and habits of your target fish is the most important rule.
How to fish for Crappie: Crappie Fishing Tips
As stated in the introduction, fishing for crappie is quite tricky as they tend to move to shallow or deeper depths. So, it is quite hard to find them. If you are ice fishing for crappie, you probably know that it is almost impossible to locate them.
In a few words, we would like to put the crappie fishing techniques into two categories. Keep in mind that ice fishing for crappie is considered to be a “special” category.
Jigging for Crappies
The jigging technique is probably the most common and easy tactic. You have to cast the lure, let it fall down and retrieve. This motion is also described as yo-yo motion.
The best crappie inshore fishing techniques are definitely spinning with fishing lures, baitcasting with live baits and pole fishing. The best times for these tactics are fall and winter because you can find them in shallow waters. However, it would be important to mention that you should not exclude the summer time.
Of course, the cold period is the best for these creatures but you could try fishing in deep waters during the summer. Moreover, since they are active during the night you can find them close to some lights.
Crappies are attracted to the lights. Make sure that your reel and rod set is lightweight in order to achieve long casts. You could take a look at this shimano reel which is both lightweight and smooth.
It goes without saying that if you have a boat there are more chances of catching a big trophy crappie. Trolling, drifting and jigging are the most popular offshore tactics. Our crappie fishing tips are based on years of crappie fishing experience.
So you should know that it would be a good idea to use a fish finder in order to locate them. If you find a good spot you could also try catching them by spinning or a pole rod with live bait.
In addition, you should take into consideration that the suitable trolling speed is 0.6 mph up to 1.2 mph. If you are going to fish with live bait please use the slowest speed.
As far as the casting distance is concerned, you should know that it depends on you. However, the perfect casting distance is proximate 40 feet
The Best Crappie Fishing Lures and Live Bait
Undoubtedly, the selection of the right lure plays a significant role and that’s why you should choose wisely. The detail makes the difference. After searching the internet for the best crappie lures you will immediately find out that there are thousands of lures.
However, the majority of them are not designed for crappie. And yes it is true that the lure manufacturers tend to glorify their products. The truth is that the selection of the best crappie lure is definitely not an enigma wrapped in a mystery!
Crappies are attracted by several things and we managed to pick the most effective lures and live bait. Let’s analyze them step-by-step.
If you are interested in catching crappie, you should definitely have some jigs in your tackle box. We, as obsessed anglers, would like to give you the best crappie fishing tips and this tip is obviously a must for every angler.
The point is that crappie is attracted by lights and flashes. Jigs are colorful lures usually decorated with threads or feathers. Jigs perform better than other lures and we can ensure you that you will catch plenty of fish.
Locate the fish, cast out and reel in fast and steady or try vertical jigging. These lures will definitely attract even the most disinterested fish. You can use them all year long.
#Crappie Fishing Tips: Prefer light colors for summertime crappie fishing like yellow, orange or white and keep in mind that you have to reel in fast. You can also pair your jig with a bobber for better casts.
Crank- and Jerkbaits
There is no doubt that these lures are both effective and realistic. They look like real fish and that’s also the point. Crankbaits are extremely good for shallow waters. You can crank them through the water and retrieve really fast.
Since you are going to fish in shallow waters, the crankbait will hit the bottom and cause disturbance. Crappies are curious fish and they will definitely approach the spot.
As jerkbaits are concerned, you can drag them through the water by spinning or trolling.
#Crappie Fishing Tips: Jerkbaits are effective during spring and summer. Catching crappie on jerkbaits is not popular but we can ensure you that they work well. Crappie prefer a small size jerkbait.
Another good idea is to attach two jerkbaits on the same rig (trolling technique). Just attach a fluorocarbon leader line on the main line. So if you drag it through the water it will look like there are many small fish.
These lures are suitable only for some special situations and locations. They work under special circumstances like weedy beds and waters with lush vegetation. As stated, crappies are attracted by flashes and light so spinnerbaits are exactly what you need.
The spinnerbait has a blade which reflects the light and produces noise and ripples. Fish will definitely not overlook it. Spinnerbaits are versatile and you can use them in both shallow and deep waters.
#Crappie Fishing Tips: After a long time of fishing crappies on these lures we found out one important fact. Spinnerbaits with COLORADO blades are designed to displace much water and they work great in waters with low visibility.
True to their name, they look like a spoon and their design is really simple. Spoons are basically used for larger crappies and have an excellent action in the water. Crappies are visual feeders so they will definitely strike.
There are two criteria for choosing spoons. Treble or single hook? The obvious answer to this question is treble of course. Crappies have a small mouth (also called papermouth) and the treble will secure your catch.
#Crappie Fishing Tips: There are hundreds of spoons on the market but if you search the net you will find spoons with additional small blades also called spoon attractors. To our way of thinking, they work better than normal spoons due to the extra flash and wobble.
If you want to land more fish or put more fish in your boat, plastic baits will not disappoint you. Plastic baits are popular crappie fishing lures and they come in different colors and shapes. The greatest advantage of plastic baits is that they are elastic so they have a good action underwater.
The most popular plastics are tubes and grubs and they come in many sizes. Retrieve slow and moderate with plastic baits. The majority of plastic baits have a small tail which gives the lure a lifelike action.
Ice Fishing Crappie Lures
Obviously, crappies are hard to find especially if you are ice fishing. Furthermore, crappies are selective fish and if they don’t like the bait they will definitely not strike. So, if you find the perfect spot you should have interesting and attractive lures.
Grubs with a heavy jighead or glow colored tubes perform great. Keep in mind that your ice fishing rod is short and you have to pair it with a fluorocarbon line. Fluoro line is almost invisible in the water.
Most anglers will definitely agree that natural live bait is the best bait for crappie due to the natural smell and performance. If you want to make crappie fishing more interesting you could try finding bait yourself. However, if you cant the local shops definitely have baits.
Small fish, crayfish or insects are on the crappie menu list so you should look for these baits. Small fish like minnows can be caught with fishing nets and they work well in all water circumstances.
You can also find some crayfish in shallow waters basically or small shrimps. Additionally, you should know that live baits work only if you have the appropriate crappie rig. In the next section you can learn how to rig them.
Crappie Fishing Rigs: How to Create them
Crappies are aggressive and strong fish. You should know that if you have a crappie on the hook it will push your rig to the limits and probably escape. Consequently, you should learn how to create rigs and bring your crappie fishing skills to the next level.
Here are the most durable and popular crappie fishing rigs. We would like to underline the fact that these rigs are extremely effective for live baits like minnows or other small fish.
If you want to increase your odds of catching more crappie, you should give it a try with the double rig. First of all, you should have a mono line, a bobber, a 100g sinker and a triple (three way) swivel. Slide the line in the bobber and attach the swivel on the main line.
Afterwards you will have to tie on a 0.30m leader line (fluorocarbon) and tie on the sinker. In the second and third swivel eye you should tie on a 6-10” leader. The double rig is used both for minnows and plastic baits.
Small prey fish live in shoals so this specific structure looks like a fish shoal.
`The Minnow Bobber Rig
Undoubtedly, minnows are really effective but if you don’t know how to rig them you will not be able to catch not a single fish. The best rig for minnows is the bobber minnow rig. You will need a 6 lbs test main line, a size 4 hook, a bobber and a small sinker.
Slide the line in the bobber and adjust the length according to the water depth. At the end of the main line you have to attach the hook. Now you have to attach the small sinker which should be placed in the middle of the line between the bobber and hook.
Keep always an eye on the bobber. When crappies detect the bait, they start to bite abruptly.
Chandelier or Umbrella Rig
This extraordinary rig is basically used for bass but many people started using it for crappie and it really works. The chandelier rig looks like an umbrella with many hooks and it is quite heavy.
You should cast it really carefully. You can check this helpful video if you want to learn more about the umbrella rig.
Let’s go Crappie Fishing!
Finally, fishing is a good way to connect with nature and have fun. It is also proved that fishing improves your cardiovascular health system and boosts your mind. If you haven’t fished for crappies before, you should definitely give it a try.
UltraFisher Tip: You cannot go for crappie fishing without a landing net. Crappies have a small papermouth so you can easily miss it. The landing net is crucial if you are boat fishing.
This is the ultimate crappie guide and we tried to reveal all the secrets. If you have questions or something to add feel free to drop a comment.
Hopefully our guide was able to teach you and broaden your fishing knowledge horizons. Choose the technique, the right lure and rig and hit the water! Thank you for reading and please share the article or drop a comment in the comment box below.