It is an exciting time for lots of people when crappie spawn. This spawning is one of the main reasons why many anglers head to the water every year. Usually, it happens in spring when the temperatures reach 55 degrees. When it happens, almost anyone can cast their line and easily catch a lot of crappie.
Spawning presents anglers with an awesome opportunity to catch large numbers of crappie within a short time. The activities here are somewhat intense, with hand-to-hand battles between the crappie and anglers. All this fun together with the huge benefits it promises is what attracts anglers.
The secret to catching a lot of crappie during the spawning season lies in knowing exactly how they behave at this time. You should also know where to find them in large numbers, and how the changing temperatures of the lake affects their movements and activities. Understanding all these variables will certainly increase your chances of catching crappie during springtime.
Before you can catch crappie during spawn, you need to know when spawning begins, how the fish spawn, where to locate them, the best bait to use on them, where to use these baits, and the best techniques to employ while fishing. This article will cover all this and more.
WHEN DO CRAPPIE SPAWN?
Crappie spawn in spring when water temperature favors it. They do it in three phases: pre spawn, spawn, and post spawn stages. The pre spawn stage is usually marked by the migration of the fish and the building of the nests. The spawning stage is where the females lay their eggs, and the post spawn stage is where the males stay near their nests to guard the eggs and the young. Here is how it happens:
In early spring, longer daylight hours steadily increase the water temperature. As daylight hours and lake temperature increase, the fish begin migrating to shallow water near the banks to spawn.
Black crappie start to spawn at 50 to 53 degrees. By the time the water hits 55-60 degrees and the white crappie start to arrive, the black crappie are done spawning. As the weather continues to warm, so does the fishes’ transition become smoother. Therefore, warm weather favors crappie anglers a lot.
HOW DO CRAPPIE SPAWN?
The male crappies make nests for their females to lay in. They do this in the shallows in depths of 1 to 6 feet. As this happens, the female crappie stage out waiting for the nests to be complete. They wait at a distance, deep inside the lake, although this will depend on the conditions of the lake and the spawn progression. Sometimes the females can be found 6 feet or at the same depth or position with the males. This is the pre spawn stage.
During the pre spawn stage, the crappie feed aggressively and stock up on energy until the very last minute when the females move in to the nest to drop their eggs. This marks the spawning stage. As the females come in, the population in the shallows more than doubles, and the crappie become even more aggressive. You can even see them break the water with their tails. The spawning stage usually only lasts one or two days. The females never stay in one place. Instead, they leave immediately after laying their eggs. This makes them quite difficult to trace.
When the females are done dropping their eggs, they leave the nests for the male crappie to guard. This marks the beginning of the post spawn stage. At this point, the aggression in feeding that the males once had is almost gone and they divert most of their attention to the safety of their eggs and keeping off any predators.
It is in the nature of male crappie to become ferocious when guarding the eggs in their nests. They will bite anything that they think poses a threat to their nests. Fishing for them during this period is one long intense adrenaline rush.
Male crappies feed a lot before the spawning period. They do so because they know they will need a lot of energy during this time. They need to be fast and vigilant. What this means is when you set out fishing during spawn, be sure to use quick, rapid motions to get the job done.
Female crappie fish only have one role during this whole process, and that is to lay eggs. The egg laying process takes a very short time, which is why anglers rarely find females in the process of laying eggs. If they do, ferocious males are usually nearby keeping guard. In many cases, anglers cannot tell when females are around.
What is usually obvious about the females during spawning is that they pour their eggs in masses in certain areas, so if you stumble upon one, then there are many other females laying eggs in similar spots within that area. Any female caught during spawning is usually loaded with eggs.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND CRAPPIE?
Here are a few tips to help you figure this out:
1. Go to places with a bit of cover
Always start your search in places with cover or areas with structure. Crappie fish love to nest their eggs in such places. They prefer stumps, brush piles, docks, stake beds, and even vegetative areas. They also like contour areas such as ditches, ledges among other structures that conceal the fish.
Crappie migrate to shallow ends of the lake during spawning. Firm objects on the lake floor like logs and logs provide a perfect place for spawning. They choose firm cover because it protects them and their eggs against predators and other elements that may cause harm. So if you are looking for a place within a lake to get crappie fish, then shallow areas with cover are the best place to look.
2. Keep track of spawning history
Like many other animals, crappie are creatures of habit. They return to the same places every season to spawn, provided the area yields success. When they don’t succeed in certain areas, they almost always never return there; they relocate to a new place looking for successful spawning. For example, places with unstable water levels can cause huge damage to eggs so crappies move to safer places in their progressive spawning.
3. Water clarity is also another important factor
This affects the depth at which crappie fish set up. They are more comfortable in places with heavily stained water. As a matter of fact, in murky waters, crappie fish set up nests in as shallow as 1 foot of water. Clear waters make the fish move deeper into the water; here they could go as deep as 20 feet so that they are not spotted easily.
TACTICS TO USE FOR CRAPPIE FISHING
1. Use vertical jigging
In areas with standing timber, thick vegetation or with heavy cover like brush, vertical jigging works best. Vertical jigging involves using a long and light pole to reach into, around, or above cover. You then drop the bait directly into the crappie’s nest.
Male crappie fish are easy to catch because you do not have to think about the color of your bait. All you need is for the crappie to spot your bait. You also want to slowly drop your bait into the water and jig it in an up and down motion so that the crappie can spot your bait fast.
2. Go to the shallow ends of the lake
Crappie like the shallow ends of lakes with riprap banks and gravel. This is where they spawn. The fish here are easy to catch because there’s little cover at the banks.
When fishing for crappie on the banks, you need to cast your jig and drag it back or keep it bouncing to trigger strikes from the male crappie fish. Always have a float on your jig, it will help you keep your lure at standard depth. You will also have maximum control of your lure.
Other ways of getting the attention of the fish in the water are to use fast reflexes and a sharp eye together with 6- or 7-foot stiff rod to make fast and firm hook-sets on crappie fish which have not planned to eat bait.
3. Use spider-rigging for deep cover (if you have a boat)
Many crappie fish stay within 4 feet deep when spawning, but some in some cases you find crappies moving out, 6-8 feet deep into the lake. At this point, there are no rocks for them to build their nests in, so they use man-made cover and submerged logs.
Electronics will help you a lot when fishing for crappies that are deep into the lake, so you really need to master how to use your electronics. The best advice here is to use multiple poles on them; about 4-6 poles will do the trick here, you are likely to get a number of hard bites with few repeats. Use more poles to increase your odds.
I wrote this article on how to catch spring crappie in case you want more in-de
WHAT IS THE BEST BAIT FOR CRAPPIE?
The following are some of the things to consider when choosing the best bait to go crappie fishing with:
First, get loud.
This means that you should go for crappie lures that really get crappie’s attention during spawning. Choose the best baits in terms of sound and color. Remember male crappie are generally your target at this time, they are very aggressive and attack anything they see as a threat to their nests. Therefore, big, bright things (those that are clearly seen in water) will get struck easily.
Then, be fast and thorough.
The one thing that makes many anglers happy during spawning season is the predictability of crappie. Crappie fish are so easy to catch at this time because spawning grounds are easy to spot. When you find a male then you are likely to find many more within that area. In the event of this happening, a good angler should make the best only of one spot while covering a lot of ground at the same time. In simple terms, if you find an angry male at a particular spot, slow down and make sure you have picked that place clean before moving, but also don’t waste too much time in one spot.
Use a live minnow.
Sometimes when crappie fishing, the male crappie may take a small bite or miss the bait. This is as a result of short strikes. To counter this, you should tip jig with a live minnow, or downsize your bait. This will make some reluctant crappie make huge bites and hold the bait a little longer so you can get the right hook set.
One final thought on minnows. I absolutely love fishing with minnows and I think you should always make sure you have a few on hand. Whether to tip a jig or using normal Aberdeen hook, minnows are one of crappie’s favorite meals. Make sure you have some with you on your next trip out!
Here is another in-depth article I wrote about crappie fishing bait if you are interested!
When crappie spawn, it is an absolutely amazing time to go fishing. They are aggressive and will fight you tooth and nail. There is no better time to catch these amazing and tasty game fish. For many people, this is the only time will fish during the whole year (a mistake if you ask me :)) .
I have laid out all the information you need regarding fishing for crappie during the spawn. While I cannot guarantee that you will catch your limit everytime, I hope this information helps to make sure you have an absolutely awesome day on the lake.
I get super excited at this time of year and I hope you do too!
This article has a lot of information to help you catch crappie during spawn. i hope you enjoyed it and found it useful. Leave thoughts or comments below and I will respond as soon as possible.
Good fishin’ to you,