Crappie Fishing Tips and Information

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Black Crappie caught using crappie fishing tips

In this article we’re going to be discussing various Crappie fishing tips and general information about both black and white Crappie. After reading this article, you should have the information you need to catch more Crappie. Let’s get to it and talk about Crappie fishing tips!

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Crappie fishing tips

Black Crappie:

  • The black crappie has its own unique look. It has black spots all over its sides and back that are kind of random. As you look from the bottom to the top of the fish, the black color gets more solid and darker.
  • Its body shape is slightly compressed from side to side, and it has a rounded body compared to white crappie.
  • The dorsal fin of black crappie has seven or eight spines, while the anal fin has six spines.

White Crappie:

  • The white crappie has a more silvery appearance with black spots that come together to form vertical bars.
  • Its body shape is less rounded, and it has a longer body compared to black crappie.
  • The dorsal fin of white crappie has six spines, and the anal fin has five or six spines.

overview of Crappie fishing tips

Habitat and Range:

Both species live in freshwater habitats such as lakes, reservoirs, ponds, and slow-moving rivers. They are often found in areas with structure like docks, submerged trees, brush, and aquatic vegetation. Black and White Crappie range includes all US states except for Alaska and Hawaii, making them an extremely popular species to fish for.


Both black and white crappie typically range from 9 to 12 inches in length. Large individuals can reach 14 to 16 inches or more, however, this is uncommon.

Crappie Behavior:

Black and white crappie are both known for forming schools, which can make them easier to locate once you’ve found them. They are often found in shallower waters during the spring spawning season and move to deeper waters as the seasons progress.

Feeding Habits:

Both species are carnivorous, feeding primarily on smaller fish, insects, and crustaceans. If you can locate schools of small Shad or Shiners, theres a good chance the Crappie are nearby. They are known for their preference for feeding during darker conditions, such as dawn and dusk.

Crappie fishing tips: how to catch them

1. Use the Right Gear:

Use light to ultralight fishing gear with a sensitive rod and reel. The best line for Crappie fishing is generally considered 2-8 lbs test monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line.

2. Find Suitable Locations:

Look for areas with cover, such as submerged trees, brush piles, weed beds, and docks.

3. Best Time to Fish for Crappie:

Dawn and dusk are good times for crappie feeding, because they are more active during darker conditions. Crappie are also more likely to bite during overcast days or when there’s a light rain.

4. Best Crappie Lures and live baits:

One of the most important Crappie fishing tips is to chose the right baits and lures. Crappie are attracted to a variety of baits, including live minnows, Shiners, and Shad, small jigs​, soft plastic lures, and crappie-specific lures. A very popular choice for many Crappie anglers is purchasing a Crappie Lure Kit with jig heads. This way you have a large variety. Experiment with different colors and sizes to see what the crappie prefer on that day.

5. Jigging Techniques:

Jigging is a go-to way to catch crappie. Just toss your jig close to things like sunken logs or big rocks. Then, move it slowly and gently to make it look like real food that’s swimming around. This usually gets the crappie interested and ready to bite. In addition to the Crappie lure/jig kit above, hair jigs for Crappie can be extremely productive.

6. Vertical Fishing:

When fishing from a boat, vertical fishing can be effective. Drop your bait or lure directly beneath you into structure you locate.

7. Bobber Fishing:

Fishing with a bobber can help you keep your bait at the desired depth and detect bites easily. Adjust the depth of your bait if you are not getting bites.

8. Seasonal Tips:

In the spring, crappie are usually found in shallow waters because they’re getting ready to spawn. As the weather heats up, they’ll move to deeper spots to stay cool. Come fall, they’ll be somewhere in between—so keep an eye on water temperature to help you find them.

9. Trolling for Crappie:

Another way to catch crappie is trolling, which is slowly moving your boat while your line is in the water. This helps you cover a lot of water and find where the fish are hanging out. Just make sure to keep your speed slow so the crappie can catch up to your bait!

10. Use Electronics: 

Many anglers use fish finders to locate crappie schools. These gadgets use sonar to show you where the fish are, which can be a big help if you’re fishing in a large body of water. Recently, livescope technology has been extremely popular among Crappie fishermen.


How many crappie can you keep?

It will depend on your state. Go to your states wildlife and fishing department website and see what the daily limit is.

can you use crappie as bait?

In general, yes you can in most states, and they make great bait for Catfish. However, keep in mind that they typically have to meet the same standards as the daily limit. For example, if a state has a size limit of 6 inches, then you would not be allowed to use a Crappie as bait if it were under this size. Be sure to check with your states laws to be safe. If you are unable to find the answer, reach out to your local wildlife agency and ask.

To Conclude

We’ve covered a lot of crappie fishing tips here, from the differences in white crappie vs black crappie to their favorite hangout spots and feeding habits. Remember, your gear plays a big role in your success. So, don’t miss our tips on the best line for crappie fishing to make sure you’re all set on that front. And of course, we’ve also talked about the best crappie lures to make those fish bite. With all this info in your fishing toolbox, you’re ready to hit the water and reel in some awesome crappie. Good luck and tight lines!

Best Crappie fishing near me