Crappie are found all over the US and there are white and black crappie, but so similar it makes little difference. They taste very good and are caught in large numbers in the spring when they spawn. People fill their freezers to have good eating all year long. They are not known as a hard fighting fish but will give you a good tussel on light tackle. They will bite well all year long and many are caught in the southern US in the winter.
Where To Find Crappie in Lakes
In the spring crappie move into coves in shallow water to spawn. They like to spawn around bushes and blow down trees in the water. The rest of the year they can be found in open water, usually holding in big schools over wood cover. They will also hold around deeper docks, especially if there is brush around it. Many crappie are also caught around bridges, especially at night.
A good depthfinder is helpful in finding the schools, and when you do you can get right on top of them and catch them. Trolling is another way to find them, covering an area until you locate a school then staying in the area.
Look for creek and river junctions and bends in the channels. You can often see the schools of fish on a depthfinder, holding ten to 20 feet deep over much deeper water. Schools of baitfish are a definite plus and crappie will sometimes follow schools of shad as they move in open water.
Baits To Use Fishing For Crappie In Lakes
Small minnows and jigs are the way to go for crappie although they will hit other small baits. A live minnow on a light wire hook behind a split shot, sometimes under a cork, is a traditional bait. Small crappie jigs in bright colors can be trolled, cast or dropped straight down to the schools of fish. Small spinners also work well.
Tackle To Use Fishing For Crappie In Lakes
Crappie have very soft mouths and are often called "papermouth." A light action rod with four to six pound line and a good reel with drag set light is best so you don't tear the hook out of the mouth. Spinning gear is the norm, but spin cast works well, too. You can also rig a fly rod to fish for them, either with live bait and jigs or small streamer flies.
When you hook a crappie fight it slowly and enjoy the fight. You are more likely to land it and it is more fun.