The info you need to locate and catch more crappie year round
Fishing techniques, locations, gear, reviews, videos, and more
There are 2 types of Crappie, the Black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus), and the white Crappie (Pomoxis annularus)
Habitat: Black crappie prefer cooler, deeper, clearer waters with more abundant vegetation, including still backwater lakes, sloughs, creeks, streams, lakes, and ponds.
Habitat: White crappie are found in creek backwaters, slow-flowing streams, sand and mud bottomed pools, rivers, lakes and ponds. They prefer shallower water and can tolerate warmer and more cloudy conditions. They are usually found near dropoffs, standing timber, brushy cover, or other artificial cover.
Diet: Small minnows form a large part of their diet, and they consume the fry of many species of gamefish. In southern regions, gizzard or threadfin shad are a major forage, and in northern states, insects are the dominant forage. Crappie tend to feed early in the morning on zooplankton, crustaceans, insects, fish, insect larvae, young shad, minnows, and small sunfish. They continue to feed during the winter and are very active, even under iced over bodies of water.
The best time of year to fish for crappie.
As soon as the water starts to warm up, crappie start migrating into shallow water for pre-spawn, usually between the months of March and July and as early as February in warmer southern states.
It is during this spawning season that the crappie enter the shallower areas of water, usually between 1 and 5 ft deep. Once the spawn is in full swing, crappie will be in very shallow water guarding their nests and going after anything that comes near. Try casting your lure or bait to the bank, then slowly retrieving over the nests.
During the peak summer heat crappie will head back out to the deeper water, away from their shallow nesting sites. It is during this time that the best time for crappie fishing is during twilight hours or night time. In the summer months, look for crappie near submerged structures like fallen trees and brush piles in deeper water.
The summer heat and warmer water sends crappie to deeper water, usually between 8 to 20 feet deep and spread out, making them harder to locate. Using a fish finder or spider rig setup can greatly increase your chance of locating crappie.
The second best time of year to fish for crappie.
The cooler water temperatures in fall tend to boost crappie appetite, making fall perhaps the second best time to fish after spring. During this time baitfish move into shallow water, with crappie close behind. This is a good time to lure crappie in using minnows as bait.
Finding crappie in the fall can also be difficult, as water temperatures are usually the same at all depths, making it difficult to determine exactly where the fish will be.
Crappie tend to stay deep during the winter months and will often be tightly huddle together. Use your fishfinder and focus on the deepest waters in the lake and you might often find them at a depth of around 15 to 20 ft.
Crappie bites in Winter can be very subtle, so pay close attention to you line or float. When you do catch a crappie in deep water, continue to cast in the same spot as there are likely more huddled together in the same are. When you are on a school, be sure to fish slowly and pay close attention to the bite.
Crappie can be found in lakes and rivers in every state.
The highlighted states below provide some of the best crappie fishing in the US and are known for catching huge crappie.
- Year Round Crappie Fishing
- 00 State Catch Limit
- Black Crappie
- White Crappie
Weiss Lake in the state’s northeast corner has long been known as “The Crappie Capital of the World,” a title that is well deserved. This 30,000-acre Alabama Power reservoir near Leesburg produces 2- to 3lb slabs at a rate seldom seen elsewhere, especially during the spring spawning season. But Weiss is just one of dozens of prime Alabama crappie waters that include the Alabama River and lakes Logan Martin, Neely Henry, Pickwick, Guntersville, Aliceville, Miller’s Ferry and others.
Know for large crappie, Arkansas has some great fishing lakes including Conway, Greeson, Maumelle, Bull Shoals, Millwood, Nimrod, Dardanelle and oxbows which are all top producers of gigantic crappie. State lakes DeGray Lake, Lake Millwood and Lake Maumelle are hot spots for some of the best crapping fishing in the state.
Named by many sources as the number one state for crappie fishing, Florida’s many lakes and rivers offer great crappie fishing. Both black and white crappie are plentiful in many of the fisheries such as Lake Monroe and Harris Chain and many monster crappies can be found. Whether fishing to your limit or trophy fishing for crappie, Florida provides endless possibilities for the experienced crappie fisherman.
Plentiful and the most popular panfish in the state, both black and white crappie are found in large numbers statewide. Most lakes produce 2+ lb fish, and a state record 4lb crappie was caught in Kinkaid Lake. With year round crappie fishing and no limits, Illinois lakes like Lake Mattoon, Lake Shelbyville, Lake Decatur and Mill Creek Lake provide great crappie fishing experiences.
Most of the major lakes in North Carolina carry healthy schools of crappie, both white and black. Lake such as Lake Waccamaw , Apalachia Lake, Roanoke Rapids Lake , Lake Waccamaw , High Rock Lake and the Asheboro City Lake where the state’s record black crappie was caught.
With a healthy population of black and white crappie statewide and 11 major reservoirs with around 7,000 acres of surface water, South Carolina boast some great crappie fishing. The Santee Cooper lake system is made up of 110,600-acre Lake Marion and 60,400-acre Lake Moultrie, which are joined by a diversion canal. Together, they form one of the nation's top 20 crappie fisheries, according to Fishhound.com.
With rarely a bad fishing season and world class crappie fishing across the state’s numerous lakes, rivers and reservoirs, Texas provides excellent crappie fishing for both the black and white verities. Great year-round fishing makes Texas a great crappie fishing trip destination.
Crappie are the most popular to fish for in this state with many opportunities in the many lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams. The weather fluctuations can make it a bit difficult to find the crappie across seasons, but a little perseverance will land you on the crappie.
Crappie are everywhere in the state’s ponds, rivers and lakes and all have the possibility of at least a few crappie. Mississippi's Eagle Lake has been called a crappie factory, attracting anglers from all over the state. The Mississippi state record black 6lb crappie was caught in Arkabutla Reservoir and the state’s record 5lb 3oz white crappy was caught in Enid Reservoir.
The state’s best crappie occurs in spring when the fish are spawning. Black and white crappie are both present in the population, but black crappie are most abundant. Both Tennessee’s state record black 4lb 4oz crappie and the record 5lb 1oz white crappy were caught in Browns Creek Lake.
Catching 2lb plus slab soc-a-lait, as crappie are called in Cajun country, is common in this swampy region of the US. Boasting a large healthy populations of crappie in the abundant lakes and rivers, such as Toledo Bend Reservoir, Turkey Creek Lake, Anacoco Lake, Atchafalaya Basin, Lake Palourde, Lake Cataouatche and many more, Louisiana is a great crappie fishing destination.
With many lakes averaging 14-15” black crappie, Missouri makes for some great crappie fishing. The state’s abundance of reservoirs makes it a great destination for a crappie fishing trip with opportunities to catch boat limits of crappies.
With many renowned crappie fishing lakes, Oklahoma’s Lake Eufaula has perhaps one of the best-known crappie fishing lakes in the US. Many fishermen have caught their limits here in record times with many crappies weighing in at over 2lbs.
Virginia’s Chickahominy River produce a large number of black crappie averaging in size of about 10”. Most of the state’s ponds parks, small lakes and rivers carry crappie in addition to larger bodies of water. Some of the major crappie fishing lakes include Occoquan Reservoir, Leesville Reservoir, Claytor Lake, Lake Anna, Lake Chesdin, Lake Drummond, Diascund Creek Reservoir, Kerr Reservoir and many more.
One of the best crappie fishing states in the US, Minnesota boast great crappie fishing lakes such as Upper Red Lake which is your best choice for a successful fishing trip. Many of the state’s lakes produce up to 2lb crappies throughout the vast river systems and lakes.
Crappie fishing is big in Kentucky and the lakes are usually packed with anglers in the spring. Really big crappie can be caught well before they start to spawn and locating crappie spawning routes can land anglers boat loads of crappie throughout spring.