4 Crappie Fishing Techniques: How to Catch Crappie like a Pro


There must be a million species in fishes. Apparently, it is not for all that different techniques are used to hunt different fishes. But there are some that demand a unique technique, and choicest tools and accessories.

There are many beginners and fishing enthusiast that are curious about crappie fishing techniques. Well, this post will help you understand everything related to crappie fishing.

Table of Contents

Things You Need To Know About Crappie

Before you can explore the techniques, it is important to do your homework on crappie.

1. What Is Crappie?

Crappie is a member of sunfish family and considered as the best tasting fish in freshwater. No wonder, most anglers are after crappie and the hunt is ruthless.

Crappie, also known as Pomoxis is native to Eastern U.S. and Canada. These have wide transplantation. You can find these fishes in all the 48 states and enjoys the label of being the most popular game fish in North America.

Crappie lives throughout the year. However, their selection of water conditions varies with the changing seasons. Spring is the best time to catch them and making fall the second-best hit season for fishing crappie. We shall discuss their habitat and different crappie fishing techniques below.

2. The Main Difference Between Black and White Crappie

Most people would think that differentiating between white and black crappie will be easier, considering the color difference. Well, it is not that simple. They do differentiate in colors but the main difference is not of the color. It is of the dark markings on their bodies.

The difference is basically about the looks, their choice of water, and their hiding preferences. The black crappie has irregular dark blotches on the body whereas the white crappie has dark bars running down the body.

If you are not able to understand from the markings then try recognizing from the dorsal. These fishes have needle-like spines on the fins to helps them stay rigid. Black crappie has 8 spines whereas the white crappie has 5 – 6 spines.

You can find black crappie in freshwater. However, white crappie isn’t as selective as far as water conditions are concerned.

Crappie Fishing Techniques


There are various crappie fishing techniques that can be used with jigs. Let’s take a look:

1. Vertical Jigging

For summer and fall crappie fishing, the vertical jigging is among the most overlooked techniques.

You will have to use a fish detector and once you find their location, take your boat close to it and start jigging them in the cooler.

What you need to consider here is to bring right combination of jog head and body and use gentle motion driven by your wrist. If you have practiced jigging and have gone well in it, you will end up with some great catches.

2. Traditional Bobber Fishing

The bobber fishing is the most productive and a traditional way to catch crappie any time throughout the year.

Crappie is mostly found in shallow water so you need to use a fixed bobber set which is 1 – 2 feet above the minnow and attached to a number 1 or 2 Aberdeen hook.

There are two techniques you can use here. It can be either with the minnow without a weight to allow the bait swim independently or you can add a BB split shot and keep the minnow at a specific depth.

When you fish brush piles or standing timber in the shallow water, use a slip bobber and set it at an appropriate depth where crappie will be suspending its cover. For this, you should use a couple of large BB split shots and drop the minnow to a required depth.

For the bobber and minnow setup, a longer rod from 7-feet casting will give the best results.

3. Slip Float Fishing

Slip float is another essential way to fish crappie. Whenever you want to stand-off and cast closer to the stumps, pilings or other crappie habitat, the slip float will be an effective way and must have place in every tackle box.

It allows you to cast seamlessly and still give you control over the depth of your terminal tackle. Also, with this, you will not need beaded stops as well. The whole work is done using a knot. It makes fishing convenient and reach different depths for it.

4. Spider Rig

Spring is the best time to implement the technique of spider rigging. It is a brilliant technique to cover a lot of area on varying depths and with multiple color choices.

You need to place large rods in multiple rod holders and turn your boat in something that appears to be a spider. For this, you can run legions of jogs at different depths and offer different lures to crappie.

While creeping across the lake with a spread of rods, the area coverage will increase dramatically. Just keep a few things in mind while using this technique. Use rods of similar length, action, and power and they must be adjusted to same height in the rod holders.

This way, you will be able to decipher the motion of rod tips to find the bites. Different rods will respond differently and it will be difficult to interpret line movement and rod-tip.

Crappie Fishing Tips


1. Finding Right Technique for Right Season

Now that you understand that crappie will swim deep in water in summers and come closer to the surface in winters, it is important to understand the techniques well for all the seasons and use them rightfully to catch the fish. Make sure to learn and practice techniques carefully.

Spring Crappie Fishing

Spring is the best time of the year for crappie fishing where the prime event is the spawn. All the periods see different fish behavior and require unique fishing tactics, spring happens to be the best in line for crappie fishing.

As the water heats up, crappie will appear in shallow water for pre-spawn staging. The best method to use in this season is vertical jig in the bay. Since they like staying deep inside the water, make sure to bounce the jig off the bottom.

Once the spawn is in full flurry, crappie will be in the shallows to guard their nests and will snap on everything that will come close. You can experiment with small curly tail grubs or spinner baits and carefully retrieve the nests.

Once the spawn is finished, crappie will be active again will give you tough time in catching.

Summer Crappie Fishing

It is due to the heated water why crappie goes deep inside, mostly up to 20-feet deep in the water. If it’s a larger lake, you should be prepared for the fish to spread out. This way, it is pretty difficult to locate them.

However, in this case, a combination of a good fish finder and spider rigging technique will be helpful. This method can do surprisingly well.

In summers, you are recommended to look for crappie in submerged areas like brush piles or fallen trees in the deep water. If you prefer man-made reservoirs then you might find artificial fish structures there. They host a good party place for crappie.

Fall Crappie Fishing

Fall season is pretty different when baitfish moves into shallow water, intriguing crappie along with. Because of the cooler water, the appetite of crappie increases. This is the time when crappie will go anywhere to satisfy its hunger and thus fall is the next best season for crappie fishing.

In this season as well, spider rigging is an exceptional technique to follow. The traditional bobber method is also particularly successful here.

Winter Crappie Fishing

Crappie happens to habitat in deeper water during winters. However, during the sun-lit days, they might take a visit up shore. The best method to catch crappie in this month is by using a fish finder and focus on the deep water.

In winters, even though they are tightly huddled together, it is difficult to find and catch them. The best method is winters is to pay close attention to the bites as in winter season, the bites are very gentle and you might completely miss them.

The ideal technique is of slip float rigs as this method will present the bait on a consistent depth and in slower action. If you successfully spot a school of crappie in deep water where your trick successfully worked, make sure to revisit the area and get some more crappies.

2. Using the Right Hook

It is important to focus on the hook used to catch crappie. They are known as papermouth for some reason and it is the thin lips and tissue-like structure and thinness of the mouth.

If you use a strong bass-like hook to catch them, the hook will easily tear the mouth of crappie. Try to pick a firm and soft hook. With this in mind, you will have more successful shots in catching these fish effectively.

3. Keeping the Line Tight

You also have to focus on keep the line straight while catching crappie and at the same time, make sure to have reel in place. If the line is loose, the possibility of crappie shaking off and getting out of the trap is increased.

4. Find The Right Depth

Since crappies roll around deep inside the water, your task is to understand different depths and then create a trap for crappies. It will come with experiment and experience.

5. Using A Fish Finder

Well, by now, you must have understood that it is not too simple to find crappie. An irreplaceable tool to increase your success rate is a fish finder that will take you a long way.

6. Patience

Your endurance will take you a long way. To get good at what you do is a lot easy as said than done. You need to have a lot of patience while learning, understanding and eventually catching crappie. Make sure not to give up too soon out of haste.


Whether it is about the tips or techniques, a combination of both and patience is the key for successful fishing. Crappie is one of the best fishes that will give adventure and thrill while hunting down. Make sure to do your homework and follow these tips and tricks for successful fishing escapade.

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