Crappie Fishing Tips (How to catch Crappie)

Crappie Fishing Tips (How to catch Crappie)

by | May 30, 2017 | Catch Freshwater Fish, Crappie, Freshwater | 0 comments

Crappie are a schooling fish that are native to North America.  These fish are sought after by a lot of  freshwater fisherman for their great table fair and for their ease of catch ability .   Keep reading to learn more about crappie fishing tips, what a crappie is, and how to get catch them.

There are two major species of crappie fish

Black Crappie

Crappie Fishing Tips

Black crappie have darker patterns and black spots.  If your unsure what species of crappie you have you can count dorsal fins.  Black crappie have seven or eight spines where the white crappie posses five or six dorsal spines.

Black crappies are typically a silver or gray color with a slight green tinge in color.  Both the white and black crappie have large mouths that can rip easy when putting a lot of pressure on them with tackle.

The current all-tackle record for a black crappie is currently 5 lbs.

Crappie Fishing Tips:  Crappie possess thin mouths that can tear easy.  Fish with smaller, lighter gear and do not horse a fish in.

Locations of Black Crappie

The black crappie has a wide range and can be found in all of the 48 contiguous of the United States.  This fish can also be found as north as Canada and as south as South Florida.

White Crappie

Crappie Fishing Tips

The white crappie or silver perch as its called in other parts of the country is also found in freshwater throughout North America like the black crappie.   Unlike the black crappie random black spots the white crappie has 5 to 10 dark vertical bars that run down the fishes body.

You can also tell the difference by the amount of dorsal fins spines.  Like we said before the white crappie has five or six spines.

Crappie Fishing Tips:  You can tell the difference of a white and black crappie by not only the color but by how many spines each posses. 

white crappie rarely will be larger then two pounds, however the all-tackle record for white crappie is a large 5.2 pounds.

Locations of White Crappie

This fish have a large range and can be found through the United States from the southern Ontario region all the way through South Florida lakes.  This fish are considered to be very stable from a population stand point and reproduce and thrive at an excellent level.


Both black and white crappie share the same habitat habits.  This fish will prefer clean, non current water with a lot of cover like down trees, rock ledges, and vegetation.

Crappie Spawning time

Springtime is when crappie start to spawn in shallow water and anglers from all over wait for this time.   Just like brim or bass when the crappie is  defending their nest they will defending it like a great fighter.

When water temps reach around 50 to 60 F is when these fish will start to spawn for both the black and white crappie.  Depending on your location spawning times will be a little different.

Northern areas the crappie spawn can begin as early as June while the southern states can see spawning times begin In early March or early February.

Crappie will generally spawn in deeper water then other sunfish.  Unlike sunfish who will spawn in a foot of water crappie have a tendency to spawn in water depths of about 4 to 6 feet when the water is murky.

Crappie Fishing Tips to remember. If your on a clear body of water you will find these fish in shallow water in depths of 2 feet.  Crappie will also look for cover when spawning so look for vegetation and submerged wood or brush piles.

Crappie and live bait

Minnows are probably the best live bait you can use.  Down south we use Missouri minnows, small shad, and small shiners all with great success.





Rig your live bait on small jig heads, small split shot sinkers with a foot or two of line letting your live bait swim free.  Use small hooks size 1,2,3, or 4 for your live bait.

You can also use small floats when fishing live bait.  Depending how deep the fish are you can adjust the float length.  Find out what is some of the best live bait for freshwater fishing to catch just about any freshwater fish.

Crappie Fishing Tips: Use small hooks that match the size of your live bait.

Use Live Worms to catch crappie

Crappie will alsolive bait for freshwater fishing take a live worm on a hook in certain conditions.   Depending on where your located you should be able to get live worms from most tackle stores.

These worms will either be night crawlers, blood worms, the common earthworm, or wax worms.

What are some of the best artificial baits for crappie

Crappie aren’t typically picky when pitching jigs, grubs or spinners to them, however you should keep in mind that some baits will work better then others in certain conditions and times of the year.

Small Jigs

crappie fishing tips

Small jigs are one of the most popular lures to catch both white and black crappie.  Small jigs in the 1/8 ounce range are a good choice.


crappie fishing tips

Grubs have been around for a long time and small heads in the 1/8 range paired with a curled tail grub body is a good choice.


Small spinner baits and beetle spins have produced nice catches of crappie.  You can work these baits slow and deep around structure to find crappie.  Once found you can always switch to more concentrated methods like dropping small jigs down.

crappie fishing tips

What colors should you choose

Finding the right color jig that produces the best for crappie can be a little tricky.  Here is a rule of thumb to follow based off water color that you can apply.

Remember that crappie are sight feeders and must see the bait to feed on it.  Remember to have multiple colors in both light and dark grubs, spinners, and jigs.

Clear water:

Use clear or light colored jigs .  Use whites, chartreuse, light greens, and pinks.

Dark and or muddy water:

Dark color jigs will work better in muddy or dark water.  Use blacks and brown colors tipped with live minnows for best results.

Crappie Fishing Tips:  Fish light colored jibs in clear water.  Fish Darker color jigs in dark or muddy water.

Table Quality of Crappie

Crappie are one of the best tasting freshwater fish.  There meat is white and sweet that can be fried or baked.  Next time you cook up some crappie give a try to this southern fried crappie recipe.

In Closing

Remember crappie are site feeders so be sure to read the water clarity to start your color selection off.  From there you may have to experiment changing colors until you find what they want.

Depending on what time of year your fishing crappie can can be different locations so be sure to keep that in mind.  Have fund catching these fish and be sure to keep some for dinner as long as there in the slot to keep.  Check with your local fish and wildlife commission for slots in your area.

About The Author

Anthony Arcodia

A Florida Native, Anthony has been a lifelong fisherman and outdoorsman. As a child, he started fishing lakes around the South Florida area chasing bass which quickly spread to chasing snook and tarpon in the 10 thousand islands. Anthony has passed his love of the outdoors and fishing to his son and both continue to enjoy the great outdoors together while pursuing their passion of fishing.

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