So you’re on the hunt for crappie fish, huh? At one time, you could only find crappie in the Eastern United States and Canada. However, these days, crappie can be found as far west as California and are found in all 48 contiguous states. As long as you live near a lake, river, pond, reservoir, or any still, fresh body of water, you can fish for crappie all year long.
Crappie are classified as either black or white and are known by various names such as speckled bass, specks, white perch, papermouths, and calico bass. Highly regarded as one of the best tasting freshwater fish, they’re also known as “pan fish”. This is probably due to their small size and ability to fit nicely into a frying pan. Most weigh between a half pound and one pound, but some fisherman have hauled in crappie weighing in over 5 pounds.
They love muddy, vegetation areas and usually hang out in shallow, murky water while hunting for prey. Like sharks, they are most active at dawn and dusk, but tend to feed between midnight and 2am.
Their favorite foods include insects, crustaceans, and smaller fish species. Over the years fisherman have learned they are best caught using casting light jigs, minnows, artificial lures, and spinnerbaits attached to bobbers.
So where can you catch crappie? Let’s dive into that now…
Fishing for Crappie in Lakes, Ponds, and Reservoirs
As mentioned before, crappie are notorious for hanging out in still bodied waters like lakes, ponds and reservoirs.
This could be due to how they were introduced over the years to places outside of the eastern parts of North America, or for the simple fact that they are typically dormant for most of the day.
You can fish for them on the shores or in a boat on the open waters. You’re luck of catching them will really depend on the time of day and season.
Fishing for Crappie in Rivers
Rivers are usually littered with plenty of items left behind by Mother Nature such as logs, tall grass and vegetation, fallen trees, and wood debris; as well as human trash, and underwater structures like sunken boats.
Calmer rivers with high water are your best bet, however, crappie has been found in rivers with low, flowing waters, too. Fly fisherman love to stand in the center of rivers to fish for both white and black crappies.
Catching Crappie in the Winter
Believe it or not, you may have an easier time catching crappie during the winter time of year. This is because crappie love cold water. For centuries, ice fisherman have been known to haul in pounds and pounds of these little guys. In fact, black and white crappies are most active when the water is between 50 and 56 degrees. You may even have luck catching them during the day (if you can bare the brutal cold winter tends to bring)!
Fun Fact: Crappie are known to lay over 50,000 eggs at a time from May through July, giving them plenty of time to grow and catch during the winter.
Best Places to Catch Crappie
Some of the best places to catch crappie include:
Each of the states mentioned above contain very large bodies of water where crappie are known to spawn. Even though these states are located in the south where it tends to be hot and humid, they also contain a ton of slow-moving rivers where crappie love to hang out.
The Alabama River is one of the most popular places for fishing tournaments to take place, making it a hot spot for catching crappie. Want to test your skills? Sign up the Crappie Masters. Find everything you need here.