Get Started Fishing | Crappie 

White Crappie

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Crappie Basics

Crappie fishing is a bit more advanced than bream fishing or catfishing, but it’s still an exiting way to spend a day on the water. Crappie tend to gather close to cover in deep water, except in spring when they move shallow to spawn. Two species of crappie are found in Arkansas, and both are excellent as table fare.

Crappie Species

Click on the photo for details about each fish.

Lures to Use

  • The best lure to use for crappie is live minnows and shiners. The extra trouble of purchasing and keeping a minnow bucket is well worth the effort, as crappie often will hit minnows when nothing else will work.
  • Small 1/8-ounce marabou jigs and tube jigs are great for catching crappie without the hassle of live bait. They aren’t as productive as minnows, but you can spend much more time fishing and covering water with jigs than you can minnows.
  • Small spinners, such as Rooster Tails and Beetle Spins are good lures to use for crappie when they’re active. They also catch quite a few bass in between crappie bites.

Rods, Reels and Tackle

  • Much like bream fishing, crappie fishing is dominated by cane poles and jigging poles. To rig a pole for crappie fishing, tie a 10-foot length of monofilament line (4- to 10-lb. test) to the tip of the pole and tie a no. 2 Aberdeen-style hook to the other end. Pinch on enough split shot to keep the minnow from swimming away and add a bobber about 3 feet up the line.
  • Jigging poles are also ideal for using crappie jigs. Tie a 10-foot length of 8-lb.-test monofilament line to the tip and tie a jig to the other end. Work the jig in an up-and-down motion close to brush. When a fish hits, it will jerk the rod tip down.
  • Spinning rod-and-reel combos are used by many crappie anglers who prefer to use spinners and slip-cork rigs. A slip-cork rig works like a bobber, but the line slides through the cork until it reaches a stopper. This lets you reel up the rig and cast.

Other Helpful Equipment

  • An insulated minnow bucket and ice helps keep minnows lively throughout the day. A small dip net also comes in handy when it’s time to catch a minnow to bait the hook.
  • When crappie fishing from a boat, a length of rope comes in handy to tie up next to large brush piles and work through the cover with your jig or minnow.
  • Commercially prepared Crappie Nibbles are often the extra enticement you need to get a crappie to hit a jig.

Fishing Tips

  • Crappie usually spawn at the same time dogwood trees are blooming. This is the best time to find a lot of crappie around shallow brush and trees. Once the spawn ends, they move out to deep water where only people in boats can get to them, but a few stragglers are always in relatively shallow water.
  • When fishing with jigs, you don’t need hundreds of colors. The following colors are all you need to catch crappie:
    • Red/chartreuse and black/chartreuse – muddy water
    • Pink/white and red/white – stained water
    • Clear with sparkles and clear green with black flake – clear water