Category Archives for Fishing

spring crappie secrets

What’s the best way to fish for crappies in the spring?

As spring approaches, sunlight penetrates clearer lakes, and the oxygen levels rise. This causes fish to become active and baitfish to start forming.aA new weed growth grows as new weed growth produces more oxygen it raises the oxygen level in the water which raises the desire for the fish to become active and for bait to start forming .

In the spring, when the ice thins on the northern lakes, new life is brought to light. As the weeds grow taller, they produce more oxygen which raises the oxygen level in the water. As a result, the fish become more active and begin forming bait balls.

Three Cs of Spring Crappie Fishing

Spring is a productive time to fish for crappie as these panfish stack-up on predictable spots and are often willing biters. Immediately following ice-out you’ll find crappie in and around protected, shallow water. These zones are teeming with forage, and crappie will feed heartily for several weeks until the water’s warm enough for spawning, which occurs between late spring and early summer.

So What are a few key tips?

1. Fishing in Coves for Crappie

I think of coves in a nautical sense when it comes to spring crappie. These are sanctuaries hidden from winds and open water. On blustery days these inlets are relatively tranquil. Not all coves are created equal though when it comes to alluring crappie.

Bullrushes and reeds boost a cove’s property value. The winter’s snow and ice will have pushed over a lot of their stalks, and the result’s prime cover for crappie and a multitude of insects and minnows. Add some sunken or standing wood and the area’s even better. Healthy weeds are always good to find in coves. They attract crappies and their forage alike.

Sunken wood in a cove is a prime spot for finding early Some coves feature an inflowing creek. The warm meltwaters and the various foodstuff creeks carry appeal to panfish. Finding these two components together often means you’ve located a prime fishing spot.

2. Fishing in Creeks for Crappie

Still to slow-moving creek arms are other great spring-time spots. Fallen or submerged, standing trees are crappie magnets. Look for timber that’s outside of a creek’s main flow. There also tends to be a lot of debris floating in creeks during spring. Expect branches and other pieces of cover that collect this refuse to hold fish.

Undercuts are another hotspot. Add some wood cover and you’ve hit pay-dirt. The shelter and space of these two combined elements appeals to crappie. Bullrush-lined inlets and pockets are also good bets on creeks.

A word of warning: Rain and subsequent increased water flow can temporarily set back fishing quality. Once the system stabilizes, creeks will crank out catches again.

3. Fishing in Canals for Crappie

Several different types of canals are paradise for crappie in spring. One type is constructed to expand waterfront property and create sheltered docking space for land owners. Another is a trench created for agriculture irrigation. Bullrushes, stumps, healthy weeds and old dock pilings will all hold fish in these dug-outs.

Another type of canal is designed to connect lakes and feature locks. These robust structures attract crappie in spring, before the gateways begin their open-water operation.

The stone walls of these structures serve double duty: They block wind but also absorb the sun and radiate its heat. Regardless of style, the best canals have little or no flow, helping them quickly warm-up and retain their temperate water.

Mr. Crappie by Betts Rattlin Pear Float Tip: The Cold Weather Fishing Drop-Back Dance: Nothing inspires “they were here the other day” syndrome better than cold weather in early spring.

While calm, sunny days encourage crappie to move shallow, weather fronts do the opposite and push fish out. The good news is they rarely go far. Look for fish near habitat features like a weed edge, a standing tree in deep water, or a drop off.Fool Crappie with Fishing Floats and Bobbers While an assortment of tactics will catch crappie in spring, a crappie float like the Mr. Crappie by Betts bobbers and floats and jig set-up is tough to beat. Crappie are notorious up-feeders and using floats lets you suspend baits in their overhead strike zone. The vertical presentation of a float and fishing jig also lets you dangle a bait beside fish-holding cover. This extended hang-time can tempt bites from neutral fish. When there’s a breeze, drifting floats through prime spots is also effective.

between 1/32 to 1/8-ounces for float fishing. Your jig selection should imitate a crappie’s two main food groups: minnows and insects. There are good decoys available in both soft fishing baits and jigs made with tied-on materials, like tinsel, chenille and marabou.

On an outing one spring my friend and I experienced first hand the power of fine-tuning profile and color. We were catching a few crappie using minnow-imitating jigs in white and light colors. Yet we were confident the spots held more fish so we started experimenting with different jig styles. When we switched to brown and black jigs imitating nymphs it was like someone flipped a switch. The crappie violently struck the insect-impostor baits. Later that evening, while cleaning a few fish kept for the table, I confirmed the crappie were keyed-in on insects, their stomach contents revealing a buggy bile.

Bass Pro Shops 76-Piece Tutti Frutti Tube Two-inch tube jigs like Bass Pro Shops Tube Head Pro Jigheads are another great crappie bait beneath floats. They spiral instead of plummeting on the drop and drive crappie wild. Be warned though: A tube’s downward arc can spell hang-ups around gnarly wood and debris. When fishing thick cover, use a regular jig instead because its straight drop is more conducive to snag-heavy spelunking.

Tip: Crappie, bluegill and bass all want color. You’ll want to have the Bass Pro Shops 76-Piece Tutti Frutti Tube Kit in our fishing assortment.

Tied jigs have their advantages too. Beneath a float their fibers come alive, copying the micro movements of a nymph or the nervous twitches of a minnow. These subtitles frequently seduce strikes from on-looking crappie.

Johnson Original Beetle Spin A noteworthy variation on this set-up is replacing the jig with a small blade bait like the Johnson Original Beetle Spin between 1/16- to 1/4-ounces. This upsize offering’s a slab seeker. You can toss this rig a country mile and then work it into the zone you want to fish. Twitching your rod causes the bait to lift and send out vibrations and flash. Be sure to add plenty of pauses to allow fish to get in a good attack.

Spring crappie fishing in minnesota

What to look for when crappie fishing in the spring?

Other forms of life too small to be seen by the naked eye also began to flourish that’s called bait as various forms of plankton bloom minnows feast on the newly found food and croppies eventually follow suit even in the ice retreating from the shorelines croppies can be in the midst of a feeding binge continues long after the ice is left a Lake that is when the true bite begins .

Plankton flourishing throughout the lake as minnows feasted on the abundant food supply. With a constant supply of food, the croppies followed, even in the ice-covered lakes. Croppies can be found during feeding frenzies long after the ice is gone from shorelines.

Late winter early spring feeding sprees are generally occur in the first shallow lakes called the trophic lakes because of these lakes warm very quickly is not unusual to find copies in the shallow bays and channels of these lakes just several days of after ice out thus these smaller lakes normally furnish the first open water copies of the year although you will seldom catch many trophies I’d rather cut you a lot then a little but hey that’s just me .

What size are spring crappies

The average size of these fish will be small due to the lack of food but as they start feasting they’ll grow in size obviously in the southern parts of the country it’ll be a different experience the key is when the ice goes out crappie feeding periods may occur only during the mornings and late evenings that transitional period of sunlight and darkness eventually as the water warms enough that both the bait fishing croppies enter the shallow waters this is when the true feeding frenzy begins shallow weeds backbase channels etc. wherever the water is warmer than the rest of the Lake that’s where the croppies will be.

Shallow cold water movements occur at the mercy of the weather a stretch of warm sunny days will drive the fish in the shallows but cold snap comes through and will drive them completely out and you’ll find them on the edges or on any sort of cover that it’s in deeper water as water warms they’ll transition again so be aware in fact are that in spring fishing.

What is the best lake temp for spring crappies

What’s the Lake reaches about 50 degrees the key to locating crappies at this time is the shallow waters look also for reeds who are just starting to grow this will give them the habitat they’re looking forward to lay their eggs croppies generally spawn at the bottom at a consistence of ground that is soft sand Sandy loam or moral kind of like a rock this is semi soft bottom allows them to fan out circular nest to lay their eggs hard sand or gravel maybe too firm for the nest to be constructed that’s why they like soft muck.

If the ground is too loose to retain the nest shape it is very difficult for the fish to keep clean and it’s very hard for the exit stay in place given a choice croppies will choose bottom that’s best suited for their needs but obviously the Lake will can set the conditions.

So in the shallows look for down trees or reeds to draw in the spawning croppies they love this type of environment but what do you do if you have a Lake that doesn’t have these kind of conditions well if this is the case croppies generally spawn around stumps or weed clumps in areas where the bottom contents conducted responding low current something of that nature riprap etc the best combination of suitable bottom conditions is where you’ll find them so look at your Lake look at what’s around and use your best judgement.

Spawning areas are both copies and bass in lakes, typically in back bay or channels with low current that have sandy loam. This is the perfect habitat for great crappie fishing here. The presence of decaying matter like leaves or detritus from the bottom creates a thin build up of decaying matter, which allows the fish to build and sweep away to build a nice sandy bed for the fish.

trolling for crappies in any season

Troll For Crappies – 3 Amazingly Simply Steps

Catch Big Crappie With Long-Line Trolling 

Why Should You Troll For Crappies

As a crappie angler you wish to spend more time catching crappies. Long-line trolling is one of the very best methods to discover and catch crappie quickly. Long-lining covers water and is specifically good at capturing suspending crappie. Here’s a more detailed take a look at the approach to long-line trolling.

Many serious crappie fishermen alter their techniques with the seasons, not because they wish to, but since the body of water and target types require it. However, some anglers discover something they like and stay with it. Not all methods can be effective all year, however long-line trolling is one crappie fishing exception.

Anglers generally long-line troll, or “pull,” by securing rod and draws in stationary rod racks and letting line out behind the boat, pulling 1/32 to 1/4-ounce jigs at numerous depths and speeds through most likely areas with a trolling motor.

Remember trolling for crappie is generally casting and recovering, but you’re letting the boat do the cranking, and you can use multiple rods to get more baits in numerous depths and spreads to increase your possibilities of catching fish!

Moving about with multiple baits on multiple poles is a sure-fire method to discover scattered schools of fall crappie.

popular crappie lure for trolling

What is Long-Line Trolling For Specs?

Long-line trolling for crappie involves pulling jigs and soft-plastics through a rod spread positioned at the back of the boat. You want to fish your lines 60 to 80 meters behind the boat depending on the weight of the lure and the pound test of your lines on the reel. It is best to keep the rod pointer parallel to the water for optimal hook set.

Moving about with multiple baits on several poles is a sure-fire way to find scattered schools of autumn crappie.

What is the best speed do you troll for crappie?

The best boat speed for long-line trolling is between 1.0 to 1.3 miles-per-hour (mph). The brisk pace is one reason this technique shines for crappie anglers as a preferred tactic for covering water and locating scattered or suspended crappie. Not to mention triggering bites from big, aggressive fish!

Long-line trolling works well for pre-spawn and post-spawn crappie; however, it can be effective throughout the year under the right conditions.

best trolling speed for crappies is 1.2 mph

How to Rig for Crappie – Trolling With the Spread

Willow-leaf blades are preferred most days as they run the best at 1 to 1.3 mph. Alternating high-vis line within the trolling spread. Different colors make it easier to fix line tangles. The High-vis line also helps track a jig’s action while maneuvering the boat when trolling.

Start out at 0.8 mph and change up to 1.5 mph trolling speed as needed is the primary tactic we take.

If the bite is inactive, they will make “S” curves with the boat. This reduces the speed of the lures on the poles on the inside of the “S” and increases lure speed on the outside. Regardless of the propulsion system you use you want to vary the speed.

Depth is determined by speed, length of line out, lure weight and drag. While there are formulas that will give exact directions to attain a given depth with any size lure If their baits are hitting the bottom or snagging on cover, they’ll reel up until they’re above it. Normally we use 1/64 ounce jig but can go as high as 1/8 ounce jig based on conditions

What is the best month to catch black crappie trolling

Long-line trolling can be successful during all four seasons, but adjustments are necessary to match the mood of the crappie. Here are tips for each season:

Spring long-lining finds anglers in the shallowest waters of the year. Although long-lining isn’t feasible shallower than 2 feet, 4- to 8-foot deep water can be very productive.  

“As long as there’s enough light penetration, the crappie will spawn. That’s why fish spawn deeper in clear lakes than stained or muddy lakes,” . Mid-sized, 1/16 to 1/8-ounce jig heads and bright colors are good choices. 

Where to Long-line

Long-lining can be done in nearly any water, with the only snag being, well, snags. In areas with heavy cover, keeping the baits just above the cover is key for both catching fish and avoiding hang-ups.  

Flats are the best areas to longline on most waters and during most of the year. The Buntings prefer 10-15 feet deep flats at the back of creeks. 

Scan ledges and look for cover that’s holding fish, and then pull baits right across the top of the cover. Also rock piles are effective locations to fish over especially in lakes with clear water clarity.

Main channels will occasionally hold suspended crappie, and making wide swaths pulling multiple baits is a great way to target these fish.

Tackle & Equipment For White Crappie Fishing

Fishing line will play a big part in how deep these lures run, and the heavier the line weight you use, the shallower the bait will go. Using a lighter line will allow the bait to run deeper with less resistance being trolled through the water. Along most weed edges, 4- to 6-pound test will keep cranks at a good depth that relates to the zone where fish are most likely found. 

You can troll from the same boat you already use when crappie fishing. Use the same rods, reels, poles, line and other tackle already in service.

Use one pole or a dozen, but determine beforehand if there are any restrictions. In some areas, you can fish with as many poles as you dare to; elsewhere, the number is limited.

If the wind’s blowing, you can get by without a trolling motor, but you’re not likely to catch as many crappie. Wind drifting is a one-way, time-consuming affair.

Make a drift, take up the poles, motor back up, reset the poles, drift again.

An electric trolling motor allows constant fishing without fuss. It also permits you to vary your speed and control direction, important factors when chasing fussy crappie.

Fishing line will play a big part in how deep these lures run, and the heavier the line weight you use, the shallower the bait will go. Using a lighter line will allow the bait to run deeper with less resistance being trolled through the water. Along most weed edges, 4- to 6-pound test will keep cranks at a good depth that relates to the zone where fish are most likely found.

Anglers who enjoy trolling often mount two pedestal seats side-by-side on the front deck behind a bar that holds six to eight rod holders. A sonar fish-finder may also be mounted on the bar, with the transducer attached to the trolling motor. With this setup, two anglers can experiment with different baits at different depths to quickly determine where crappie are holding. 

TIP: When you find schooling crappie, throw out a marker buoy so you can anchor just outside the school and cast to it, or continue to troll around the concentration. A savvy angler may take crappie from one of these marked spots for an hour or more, so long as the fish aren’t spooked. 

Spider Rigging For Specks

The slow-trolling method known as spider rigging has been used for years to catch boatloads of crappies on almost any body of water in any weather and water conditions. Boats toting numerous long crappie poles, from bow to stern, are a common sight on Dixie lakes, where crappie crafts look like mutant water spiders skimming across the surface. 

In a lot of places spider rigs are not allowed and only one rod and one hook are allowed, so check the regs. In Indiana, you can legally use three rods and two hooks per pole.

That allows two people to work six poles and a bunch of hooks when spider rigging, which is just asking for tangles!

CRAPPIE USA trail allows competitors to use four rods apiece for each team member or eight rods for an angler competing individually. So the crappie pros scale down their spider rigging to meet tournament requirements. Sparse rigging has multiple advantages. 

Trolling for crappie with a crankbait

Anglers generally long-line troll, or “pull,” by securing rod and reels in stationary rod holders and letting line out behind the boat, pulling 1/32 to 1/4-ounce jig at various depths and speeds through likely areas with your electric motor.

Use a small deep running crank bait and above the crank bait I put a 3-way approximately 2 feet to 4 feet and some times as far as 10 feet above the crank bait. To the three way attach a 3 foot piece of stiffer monofilament like 4 pound test or 6 pound test at max and attach a small jig either marabou or twister style jig. 

Remove the hooks from the crank bait, to be legal, as the crank bait is used to dive deep and hold the jig at a consistent depth, on 8# line typically 14′-17′ deep on the depth finder and I troll open water looking for fish. This allows me to cover a lot of water. After the spawn I will troll 20′ to 35′ of water depth looking for pods of fish. Varying the speed to find the speed that will trigger the crappies. Varies by day so experimentation is key.  The wobble action of the crank bait really puts a nice action on the jig. This works well when creek mouths open on to a flat creating a deeper area or old creek channel

I slow troll with a Capps & Coleman rig. It’s basically a 3 way swivel with about a 10″ leader and bait holder hook off one eye, then maybe a 30″ leader with a egg sinker looped through it a few times, leaving another 10″ leader and bait holder hook. Now you have 2 baited hooks about 20″ apart.

I use fathead minnows for bait and with my graph, I drop the rig down to where crappie are suspended. I’ll make depth adjustments till I start getting bit. Then I mark the hi vis yellow mono with a magic marker where it comes off the reel. Then you only have to feed line off to the mark and get back to the correct depth. I’m usually trolling about .5 MPH. The egg sinkers vary in weight for depth fishing. I use from a 1/2 oz to 1 oz. 

spider fishing tips

Final Tip

Finding the baitfish like fathead minnow is important to catching fish. Bait can’t live below the thermocline so they end up forming tight schools out in the main lake and at the mouths of major creeks and rivers.

They suspend around 12 to 15 feet deep out over 20 – 25 feet of water. If you are marking bait on your fish finder, that’s where you will find crappie. Trolling crankbaits for crappie requires some commitment on the angler’s part. While you might be able to throw a crankbait out behind the boat and hold the pole in hand until you get a bite, setting your boat up ahead of time with the right rod holders, rods, reels, and line are some of the necessities to insure success!

Read More!

how to catch black crappies all year

3 Helpful Tips To Catch Crappie In ANY Season

Once you begin catching crappies in smaller lakes, it is around the time when larger, nearby lakes finally begin to be freed of ice. A week or so after ice- out these lakes will have open water: making a perfect environment for slab crappies. Slab crappie are characterized by their 12 to 13-inch length (or above) as well as being avid eaters of forage. As the months go on, the water temperature in smaller lakes begins to warm. This allows both bait fish and crappies to move to the shallow weeds and channels. However, the location of crappies in small and large lakes can differ depending on the amount of plant life and nutrients in the water. A lake too rich in nutrients will be uninhabitable for big crappie. When fishing for crappies, be aware that you may have to change location depending on the water temperature, weather, or levels of nutrients.

Large lakes differ from smaller sized lakes due to the change in depth. Large lakes take a couple weeks to completely reach a temperature suitable for bait fish and crappie to live in the shallower areas. This means that the crappies will typically be found in mid to deep water as well as on the outskirts of weedy areas where bait fish thrive. How exactly do you uncover where these fish are located? How do you determine the water depth? How do you understand the landscape of the lake? The most helpful tool for these jobs is to use a fish finder. All the information that a fish finder provides you, will make crappie fishing easier.

One frequently asked question from our readers is, “Why do these changes in temperatures and seasons move crappie around the lake?”. The answer to this is amazingly simple: food. Crappies follow their food to the warm shallows where they will gorge before the nearing spawning season. Their food allows them to build up the needed energy to survive through spawning. This is also why you typically see crappie in deeper water after a long period of cold temperatures.

Fishing for crappie can be difficult, but with these tips and tricks, you will know just how to catch these beautiful fish!

catch calicos in march

Crappie Fishing In The Spring – 3 Effective Tips

Crappie Fishing In The Spring leads to crazy fishing success! When springtime approaches a link comes active and also various other all-natural lakes for instance the ice thins the water warms as well as boosted sunshine penetrates sets off new cycle of weed growth this might be development produces more oxygen raising the oxygen level in the water

Other types of life also little to be seen by the nude eye started to thrive is various kinds of plankton bloom center’s banquet as well as the newly found food and also croppies at some point do the same even as the ice resorts from the coastline copies can be in the midst of feeding binges that continue long after the ice has left the Lake

Classic Bobber And Minnow Rig For Crappie Fishing In The Spring

This is probably one of the easiest and most productive ways to catch crappie any time of the year.

When fishing shallow in the spring, use a fixed bobber set a foot or 2 feet above a minnow attached to a number 1 or 2 Aberdeen hook. You can either present the minnow without a weight to let the bait swim around freely or add a bb split shot to keep the minnow at a certain depth and preventing it from swimming around too much and hanging up your rig in the cover.

When fishing brush piles or standing timber in deeper water, use a slip bobber and set it at the depth you find crappie suspended in the cover. Use a couple of large bb split shots or some 1/8- or 1/4-ounce pinch-on sinkers to drop your minnow to the desired depth.

A longer rod ranging from 7 feet for casting or 10 to 12 feet for flipping to the cover works best for the bobber and minnow setup.

fun fishng in Maine and Texas

Family Fishing Fun From Texas To Maine

Do you want to go out and have a great day with the family and kids catching some awesome eating fish?

Well, it should be the crappie. See the CRAPPIE also called Calico or a hundred other names throughout the country. They are one of the most popular fish across America and across North America extending into Canada. 

It is a fun day out with the family. Catching a bunch of crappies… a good eating slab size crappies are fantastic way to spend a day. Cuppies bite well and put up respectable fights. That’s fun. Black Crappie fishing is also a great way to introduce your kids and spend some great time outdoors Croppies are biters and if you find them you can generally catch a mess of them where there’s one there’s a dozen. 

Each year young and old alike take buckets of crappies through ice in the winter through the shade in the spring in the shallows and in the depths during the hot summer days. Calico bass may be a bit of a mystery to some folks, but they’re still catchable once they’re habits are understood. 

All this and the fact that crappies can be caught by using a wide variety of simple techniques and everything from a Pole to a custom thousand dollar rod and reel you can have the makings of a great time out with the family. You also can fill the freezer with some great eats which is important during this pandemic. 

So whether you soak a minnow from the bank, cast ultralight jigs or use sophisticated boats electronics like side scanning sonar you can get into the action. 

The essence of white crappie fishing is understanding the habitat and that’s what this is all about. Crappies are catchable all season long if you know how.

Follow along on this site to learn more!

Crappie Fishing With A Fly Rod

Why Go Crappie Fishing?

Crappie has been called the everyone’s fish and indeed it’s exactly that! A fish that is catchable by anyone from a bank fisherman using a cane pole to a fishermen in a boat or  anywhere in between. It doesn’t matter if you have a $2,000 boat $100,000 boat or fishing from shore.

Yes many fish like the rainbow trout are more beautiful, muskies are larger, bass are more acrobatic yet every pond pit lake river stream reservoir across america swims the crappie which wins the popularity contest hands down. Wherever you live across America from the timber fields sprawling impoundments of Texas to the stark sharp rock banks of the northern borders crappie fishermen are a cult upon themselves with legions and legions of followers.

These spec followers tie their boats to shallow brush or anchor in deep water or line banks waiting for the school of slab crappies to come swimming by with anticipation. 

Why all this attention and devotion for white crappies and black crappies? 

Well for anyone who has had the great satisfaction of getting into the game the answer is simple, they’re just plain fun! Yes big crappies are fun to catch and they’re also no slouch when it comes to fighting especially on lite tackle… heck anything frome cane polls to custom graphite rods they are heck of a fun and of course the reputation is great table food is legend nothing better, it’s nice.

Crappie fishing from kayaks and float tubes has taken off in the last few year and makes it simple for you to get on to the water to catch these specs. While many use hooks and slip bobbers a whole side group has spun up to catch crappies with a fly rod. This ads a whole new level of excitement. Remember regardless if it is sunny and 90 or you are ice fishing crappie can be found and are ready to bite.

Best Fishing Locations For Crappies

New fishing systems have all helped put together the pieces of crappie puzzle. Spec fishing is more than just soaking a minnow and waiting or just throwing tiny jigs or just structure fishing for crappies for example, we know that predictable crappie movements occur in lakes and we determine the crappies may use timber, they may use rocks, they may use humps yet, they may avoid other cover especially on water clarity and,temperature.

We are now aware of the complex predator prey relationship that affects not only the health of crappie fisheries, but also the official location how the fish react to particular bodies of water, we have cracked their seasonal code for how crappies will most likely respond in the spring summer fall and winter and we definitely know how and what they’ll react to differently in lakes rivers pits and reservoirs all these new facets and dimensions indeed formally missing dimensions to catching big fish..

Fish Hook In You

What Happens When You Loose Your Fishing Hooks!

pike on spoon

We're guessing the results of this test would be very similar for muskie. We need more tests to confirm if this is the case for all fish or just for freshwater fishing. It doesn't appear someone has done a similar study for saltwater fishing yet. It would probably be worth looking into considering how many saltwater species anglers cut or break off on purpose near the boat. That method is generally accepted as a form of catch and release.  It would be helpful to know if those treble hooks left in the jaws are either shook or later dissolved by the salt water. However, a least of this particular culprit, it's good to know most survive the encounter after a hook set.

Full limit of sac-a-lait

Advanced Crappie Tactics – Gear


Picking You Lake

Choosing a lake is one of the first steps in planning a good night crappie fishing trip. Ideal lakes should be deep and clear with an area of at least 500 acres. There should be plenty of brush and debris under the water for crappie to hide.  In addition, there should be plenty of structures and changes in depth along the shoreline.

The worst water for crappie fishing in the summer is in shallow, warm water.  This water quickly gets deprived of oxygen, and the fish can sometimes scatter or go completely dormant.  This makes for some pretty rough fishing. Stick to deeper, colder water for a good oxygen supply. Use this guideline along with advice from local fisherman, bait shops, ranger stations, and online forums to determine the best lake for your trip.

Anchor or Troll

This is a hot debate at night. In general trolling does work well with vibrating lures but extra caution must be takes and it is hard to see things at night and conditions can change on you very quickly.

I prefer and recommend that you anchor up. Use your fish finder and  trolling motor to either find the fish or good fish catching structure. Once there anchor up and get ready for a good time.

In either case It is vital that you do some scouting during daylight hours to determine where you will fish when darkness falls.  In addition, you do not want just one spot to fish. As you scout, find a few backup spots to move to if needed. At night, you will find crappie grouping in areas where the bottom of the lake drops suddenly.  These ledges along the bottom can be found along creek and river channels, points, and ridges. Use a bottom-contour map of the lake to find these.

Crappie Fishing Tip #2


Once you have found these locations on the map, it is time to hit the water.  Move your boat to these areas and use a sonar device to determine the exact coordinates of the break-lines.  Use a fish-finder to identify brush, treetops, stumps, and rocks that crappie will use to hide. Once you have found that your map and location choices are suitable, drop buoys in these spots so that they will be easy to access later that night.


In-boat lighting is very important when fishing for crappie at night.  Double check your running lights to ensure they are working. In addition, have a flashlight or spotlight handy to signal other boats if needed, and to see what you are doing as you fish (the moonlight isn’t always sufficient).  It is best to use both a headlamp and a flashlight, so you can keep your hands free if needed. You will also need a life jacket and a kill switch for your engine for safety.


 Live Bait vs Artificial

Crappie when the bite is hot will eat anything! Even a BARE HOOK. So the answer is it depends. I have found that if I have kids with me I will get live bait because 97.134% of the time it will lead me to catching at least some kind of fish

As you can see below the light brings in tons of bait. If it is legal in your state I would recommend you bring a dip net and scoop up the bait for free!

Most times I fish artificial. A great grub bait or tube jig will normally lead to a great night of fishing.

Jigging vs Casting

The use of white light from any source assumes that a broad-spectrum light propagates well in water. But… It doesn’t. Pure water looks blue and it passes blue and green light with very little absorption. Typical lake, bay or offshore water is not pure, but contains various dissolved organic matter, photo-synthetic pigments and particulate material.

Salt has very little effect on light absorption, but the other ingredients do. Tests reveal that light between 450 and 550 nm (nano meters) transmits through lake, bay or offshore water with the least attenuation. Other wavelengths of light, especially near the low, infra-red end, are dramatically absorbed. Green light has a wavelength around 525 nm, near the center of the range, thus green light propagates better than other colors in both fresh or salt water. Rather than waste energy by using broad-spectrum white light, your best success will come using green light.

New moon is the best moon. Full moons are not great for night crappie fishing. The catch will be a lot more exciting as close to the new moon as you can get.

Anchor and wait. The object of fishing at night is to target your attraction methods for zooplankton, then minnows, then game fish. You will therefore be working with nature to reap the most benefits.

To be most effective, the boat should be anchored in the front AND back, to attract the zoo plankton. Otherwise, your boat will pivot around the one anchor with that beautiful summer evening breeze. The zoo plankton will have a hard time staying with the boat in those conditions, thereby not allowing your minnows to school up.

When anchoring, make sure that the anchor is lowered slowly to avoid scaring your game fish. In addition, avoid having the anchor disturb the brush cover, as game fish could already be located in the brush piles. Again, working with nature.

HOT TIP: Take a long handled minnow net with you. Once your light has been deployed over the water for 30 minutes, you will be able to catch live minnows to use as bait. To work optimally, they need to be used straight out of the lake as opposed to having been brought from home base.

Anywhere crappies live! Use the internet and other fishing research tools (or the advice of local fishermen) to find your best locations. There are so many elements to finding a successful lake full of crappie, so be sure to make a plan based on recent information.

Spec fishing in the sun

Speck Fishing Tips For High Sun


3 Hot Tips


Boat docks are a great location for fish to find shade during the hot sun. The shade of the docks allow the fish to hid and ambush bait when they come in for the shade. These docks are key areas for people and fish so make sure you find docks that are not occupied. 

Also check the depth of the dock and the water near it. The docks near dropoffs are the best as the fish will be locating to structure near the dropoff. 


Swim platforms are also another overlooked spot as they are often in deeper water and provide shade away from all other structure. 

It is amazing how often I will get on a mess of crappies on these platform when no one else is catching fish. The key here is to be able to get under the platform and let it sink.


Now the key is to get the lure under the dock. When shooting the dock you will need to do side casting (which is left to right and not up to down). You will want a lure with enough weight to cast and then try to skip it under the dock.

Give it a few tries and you will get this down. 

When fishing swim platforms you will want a heavier weight as this will sink quicker!

How to cook crappies - bake - fry - boil

Crappie Recipes That Will Surprise You


Both Black and White Crappies are found throughout the country. This panfish species is known for being excellent to eat and fun to catch. Because crappies, also know as, specks, paper mouths, and calico bass, are so good to eat with a white flaky flesh I wanted to provide you with three great crappie recipes with different ways to eat them up.

Crappie Recipe #1 - >Crispy Fried Fish
Ingredient List

  • 1 lbs. fresh crappie
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup corn mean
  • 1 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 12 oz beer
  • 1 cup vodka (key to crispy skin)
  • Frying Oil like Crisco

Instructions (Detailed)

  • Soak the crappies in the milk for an hour with a pinch of salt. This will get rid of any bad taste.
  • In a bowl mix the other ingredients. Let it set for 10 minutes. You should have a batter that will coat your spoon.
  • Heat oil in cast iron pan to 375. You will want about 2"-3" of oil
  • Cook for 4-6 minutes until the flesh is not translucent.
  • Place on drying rack.
  • Give a sprinkle of salt.
  • ENJOY!
Fried Crappie

Crappie Recipe #2 - Baked Crappies
Ingredient List

  • 1 lbs. fresh crappie filet
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 tbs salted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 12 oz beer
  • Reynolds Wrap Non Stick

Instructions (Detailed)

  • Soak the crappies in the milk for an hour with a pinch of salt. This will get rid of any bad taste.
  • Heat oven to 425.
  • Season crappies
  • Place butter on top of crappies
  • Bake for 6-10 minutes until the flesh is not translucent.
  • ENJOY!

Crappie Recipe #3 - Crappie Crab Cakes

  • 2 lbs. fresh crappie filet
  • 4 tbs salted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp old bay seasoning
  • 2 tbsp of dijon mustard
  • 1 onion
  • Reynolds Wrap Non Stick
  • 1 stack of Ritz crackers
  • Crisco oil

Instructions (Detailed)

  • Boil the crappie fillets with 2 tsp old bay seasoning for 5 minutes
  • Drain and put in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • The fish will be flaky at this point. Shred the fish into a bowl.
  • Heat oil in cast iron pan to 375.
  • Mix crappies, old bay, mustard, eggs, onion,and crushed Ritz crackers
  • Make them into 2" - 3" patties about 1/2" high.
  • Fry for 2 minutes per side
  • Place butter on top of crappies after first flip. 
  • ENJOY!
Low carb baked crappie

Crappie Recipe #3 - Crappie Crab Cakes

  • 2 lbs. fresh crappie filet
  • 4 tbs salted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp old bay seasoning
  • 2 tbsp of dijon mustard
  • 1 onion
  • Reynolds Wrap Non Stick
  • 1 stack of Ritz crackers
  • Crisco oil

Instructions (Detailed)

  • Boil the crappie fillets with 2 tsp old bay seasoning for 5 minutes
  • Drain and put in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • The fish will be flaky at this point. Shred the fish into a bowl.
  • Heat oil in cast iron pan to 375.
  • Mix crappies, old bay, mustard, eggs, onion,and crushed Ritz crackers
  • Make them into 2" - 3" patties about 1/2" high.
  • Fry for 2 minutes per side
  • Place butter on top of crappies after first flip. 
  • ENJOY!

Now this recipe may seem weird but trust me... once you try it you will wonder where the recipe has been your whole life!

PS: Boiling gets rid of any fishy flavor and that is why we removed the milk

crappie crab cakes