Spring Crappie Fishing
Spring Crappie Fishing Provides Hot Fishing Action
One sure sign that winter is fading is when the Spring Crappie fishing season starts heating up. Once the nights start staying above freezing, and the days start to stretch out just a little longer, the Crappie bite starts to turn on.
The Crappie Spawn
Crappie will move up into the shallows for their spawning activities. When this occurs varies by the area of the country that you are in. In the South, it usually starts in February – March, and if you are up North, it could be as late as May.
The water temperature range where the spawning begins is usually around 55 – 60 degrees. This will vary by lake, so make good notes of the water temperature and conditions if you have a great day on the water, so you can use that information in years to come.
During the pre-spawn and spawn, the fish are the easiest to catch, especially for bank anglers who don’t have access to a boat.
The Crappie will move in and make their beds in shallow water. Usually in less than 5 ft. But prior to moving in on the beds, the Crappie will gorge themselves prior to the spawning activities. Prior to the spawn, they may stage in about 5-10 ft of water before moving in close to shore.
If you go out during the early spring and can’t seem to locate them shallow, try casting past the first drop and that’s where you’ll usually find them. But just like any other part of the year, they love cover. So cast your line close to cover for best results.
Spring Crappie fishing really heats up once the Crappie move in on the nesting beds. The smaller males become very aggressive. They will hit about anything that gets close to the nest. The females will also strike if you get close enough to the nest, but by and large, they are not near as aggressive.
A good tip I picked up out of Keith Sutton’s “Crappie Fishing Handbook” is that the first Crappie nests seem to appear when there is 13.2 hours of daylight, and end when there is around 14.6 hours of daylight. I’ve always went by water temperature, and the burning desire just to go, but this little tip may help you find a peak time to catch Crappie.
Crappies traditionally like to nest around cover in shallow protected coves..not open water. If you fish a lake regularly and know that Crappie were nesting in a particular area, they will be there again this year.
Methods for Catching Spring Crappie
There are many ways to catch a Crappie during the Spring. Here a just a few.
Probably the best bait available to catch Crappie is the live minnow or threadfin shad. I prefer minnows that are in the 2 1/2″ – 3 inch range personally. I know some anglers like the smaller minnows, but I’ve always had better luck with the medium sized ones.
Live minnows can be used on a cane pole or a rod and reel setup. In the Spring, a very good method is to put a cork above the hook about 18″ and try fishing the shallow water around stumps, logs, and weeds. If you do not get a bite, raise the cork to about 24″-30″ and try that depth.
If you find that the fish are further out, you can use a slip-bobber and set the depth to around 6′ and cast out. Don’t use huge corks when cork fishing for Crappie. You want them to be able to pull it without too much resistance.
Ah, the favorite of many experienced Crappie fisherman. The jig.
During the Spring Crappie fishing season you can go with either a vertical or horizontal presentation. If you are going with a vertical presentation, try to drop your jig by a stump or some other cover where you think they may be hiding. Sometimes you may have to use different weights of jigs because the fish prefer a certain fall level. But in really shallow water, it shouldn’t make much of a difference.
If you are in a boat fishing a bit deeper, like say 10 ft., you may need to go with a heavier or lighter jig head depending on how the fish are biting.
If you drop the lure in, let it slowly fall to level you think the fish are holding at. Let it sit there a minute. If nothing give a little raise or wiggle and then hold still again. The water currents will move your bait around naturally.
If you are going to cast out the jig, then let it fall to desired depth, and then reel back slowly and try to keep at the depth you feel that they are staging at. I have had good success with Roadrunners using this technique.
Another Spring Crappie fishing tactic used by many fishermen with boats is to use long Crappie 12 – 16 ft poles and slow troll them over an area. Most will have a weight tied on above the jig or lure. Many fishermen also will hook a live minnow on their jig for this technique, which is also called spider-rigging by the way.
It is optimum to have the poles in front of the boat so the shadow of the boat doesn’t spook the fish. Good electronics will help if you are going to use this method.
Tackle Needed for Spring Crappie Fishing
One of the great things about Crappie fishing is that you do not have to break the bank in order to go.
A lightweight rod ($5-$20) with a slow or medium action tip with a small reel (around $12 – $15) are all that you need.
For hooks, I like the 1/0 or 2/0 Eagle Claw wire hooks because they are easy to remove.
Corks, slip-bobbers, and jigs can all be found at local sporting goods store, at Amazon, or at BassProShops for a little bit of nothing.
The main thing is to get yourself a starter rig and then go fishing. Spring Crappie fishing can offer fast and furious action and memories that will last a lifetime.
Topic: Spring Crappie fishing