White and black crappie are popular wild fish found in many US waters. Before we go any further, let us get the debate out of the way. In what is arguably the most authoritative book on crappie, “The Crappie Fishing Handbook”, author Keith Sutton makes it clear that the saying “Croppie” is more the derivative of the word than the alternative pronunciation “indelicate”. And while these fish are not known for their jumping ability or fierce fighting, crappie fishing is addicting because they are beautiful, can be caught in large numbers, and, oh yes, can be a great table prize. Here are 5 tips for summer crappie fishing:
- Brush. Regardless of the time of year, any list of crappie fishing tips will point out that these fish are usually located near the structure. Submerged piles of brushes, overturned wood, beaver huts, dock stakes, etc. are always a good starting point for learning how to fish crappies.
- Zoom out. Light Line and small jigs are traditional summer crappie fishing tackle. Most crappie fishing tips often mention long, supple rods, but my son and I now always include our trout micro rods on every trip. Crappies aren’t known for their size, but EVERY fish on a micro rod is a hoot. When our Plan A or Plan B species (usually bass and pike) didn’t work together, we’ve spotted heaps of crappie options. (Go back to the correct pronunciation.)
- Deep. Summer crappie fishing tips should also take into account that many fish seek cooler depths during the day. Depending on the wind, it can be difficult to get tiny jigs to the bottom, but heavy tail spinners, jigging spoons, or medium crank lures can also make great crappie fishing lures.
- Night. A special floating light can bring the crappie to you. Small fish and insects are attracted to the light and the crappie won’t be far behind. Nightly crappie fishing can be very productive. Watch out for insect hatches even when there is no light. I even had some great evenings fly fishing for crappie during mayfly hatches.
- Bait. Little minnows are always among the crappie fishing tips, but depending on the summer heat, it can be difficult to keep them alive. A frequent investment in a floating bucket and / or a water change will help with this. Recently expired Minnows are still a great addition to a stencil.
With these summer crappie fishing tips, my son recently discovered that he has caught more crappies this year than he has ever caught. We had so much fun that Crappie has now become our Plan A at some of our fishing spots.
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida but raised on the banks of farm ponds in Oklahoma, he now hunts pike, small bass and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After graduating with a degree in zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, in the US state of Iowa and the US state of Michigan.