Crappie fishing, how do you do it?

I don’t want to haul minnow around in my yak, difficult to keep alive and the minnow buck is a bit of a drag when paddling. Crappie fishing has never been something I’ve done. Mostly, I’ve been a bass and bluegill fisherman, wading shallow water areas. Since I’ve started kayak fishing, I’ve caught a few crappie while using meal worms for bream…also some cats. But, it wasn’t consistant. I’ve seen some guys do some real damage on crappie using jigs, but don’t really know the fine art of jig fishing. I’ve looked on crappie websites, but they don’t give all that much information about how to present lures. Any suggestions on jigging for crappie? Other lures?

Where, when, and how information would be helpful.

You can use jigs on a bobber rig much like you would fish with minnows you just jig it up & down a little to impart some motion. Can just cast them & reel in or troll with small curly tail jigs. I have caught them on small spinners & other lures and even on top with foam poppers on the flyrod. Hard to beat minnows when they are stacked up if you really want to load the boat. Most other methods seem to catch a few for me but natural bait works best if you don’t mind the hassles of transport & keeping them alive.

post subject
When I go fishing for crappie in my kayak I hate to use minnows as well so I take crickets instead. They seem to work fine for me fish them just like a minnow. With the crickets in a tube they are much smaller than a bucket of minnows I also use a beatle- spin with a black and chartreuse jig. Good fishin

The only place to get crickets here,
other than catching your own, is at the pet store. Don’t like paying 10-15 cents per cricket. Seems in Louisiana, just about every convenience store and gas station carries cricket during the summer for bream (bluegill, sunfish) fishing, not so here in southeast Texas.

answer to getting live crikets
I have never tried this mainly because I can get crikets year round at the local bait shop.

You can order crikets over the internet along with all sorts of other live baits here is a link that might help you out if you are reallly trying to find somewhere you can buy them

If you know where they are, they are usually pretty easy to catch on jigs. I use small, white marabou crappie jigs on ultralight spinning tackle. Assuming they are in shallow water, holding less than 8 feet down, you want very light jigs, 1/16 ounce at most, so that they don’t sink too fast. All you usually have to do is cast the jig as close to the cover where they are as you can get it, and watch your line as it sinks. Any twitch or movement of the line, just lift up on the rod. Count off as the jig is sinking, so that if you get one to take it on the sink, you’ll know about how deep it was and when you can expect to get it to their level on the next cast. Once it reaches the level where you figure they are, if you haven’t gotten bit, you just slowly reel the jig in, experimenting with gentle pumping motions of the rod.

As was also suggested here, a beetle spin type lure, jig with a small safety pin spinner attached, is a good lure for crappie. You can explore more water with it if you aren’t sure where they are. Just cast it past all the brush and other cover you can find and reel it slowly along the edges of the cover. This will usually get you a fish sooner or later, and then you can keep using the spinner-type thing, or go to a jig to catch more fish out of the same school.

Most of the time, I think you can catch as many or more crappie with a marabou jig as you can with minnows, once you get the hang of it.

Crappie fishing, how do you do it?
I think it really depends on the lake. I fish Crappie & Bluegill two local lakes. Gamlin is about 120 acres and shallow with a gentle slope. Livemore is about 60 acres and deeper with a rather dramatic slope to the sides.

On Gamlin I anchor just outside the weed bed 50 feet off the shore. I drop the jig or bait to the bottom and reel in about three feet. At that point I’m fishing about 12 feet deep. I just hold the pole and let the motion of my canoe do my jigging.

On Livemore I paddle out a ways and just float. I let out about thirty feet of line and use an active jigging motion.

Both methods work on their respective lakes but do not work on the other. Both lakes will produce impressive quantities of fish with the right technique. I prefer plain white jigs but my brother in law uses florescent green and my nephew uses glow in the dark pink (I worry about that kid sometimes). All work equally well.

Like you…
I’ve been wanting to learn more about the art of crappie fishing. I’m spoiled on saltwater fishing and have ADD so crappie and bream are the only species that can hold my interest in freshwater.

My research indicates that shiners are the best bait for a novice. WallyWorld sells a bait bucket for about $7 that I like. I think it’s called a Flo-Troll. Make sure you get one with a weight inside, on the bottom. I put it twixt my feet while travelling and it’s in the water on a short leash while I’m fishing.

As to jig fishing… I’m convinced that you need to know the right “color of the week” for the specific area you plan to fish.

Stealth is reportedly fairly important.

My best trip was with a guy who simply rode around til he found where a tree had fallen over into a canal in about 8-10’ of water. We fished the submerged top of the tree and did very well.

I know another guy who’s very good at catching them and he jigs with small Bass Assassin - Silver Phantoms (no curly tail) on a 1/16th or 1/32nd ounce plain lead jig head.

Oh yea… they don’t like 20lb. mono. 8lb seems to be OK and 6 lb. is even better. They’re evidently “line-shy”.

My simplistic advice isn’t based on experience so much as the result of thousands of informal interviews with crappie fishermen… (“License, registration and fire extinguisher please. Very good, thank you. What y’all catchin em on?”)

Hope that helps. Lemme know what you learn!

I’ve got a few jigs and have tried
without much luck. When bream fishing, I’ve hit on a few crappie, but by accident. Used meal worms. I’m going to try the jigs again, but also will try fishing the meal worms at a deeper level. Besides, I really prefer the fight and taste of bream.

Tip the jig w/ a meal worm.
I just had a thought. Why not try tipping a jig with a meal worm or the new crappie bites. A little extra teaser on the jig can’t hurt. A jig and float combo is a good fish finder rig. It has 3 definite advantages over other methods:

You can set the lure at a fixed depth

You can work the lure very slowly and even stop the jig and let it hang.

You can troll it behind your kayak.

In a couple of months you’ll want to be jig fishing a white roadrunner when the white bass spawn is underway.

crappie you say!
Hey,one i can answer to!I never use live bait of any type,if i’m going to fish i want to trick him

not the bait!I use Blakemore roadrunner jigs in 1/16 oz and use kalins twister bodies in the tricolors.You can also use mepps or panther martins in the 0-2 sizes,i’ve even caught them on yozuri’s pin minnows.I have also slayed them 100+

on our private pond with a flyrod and a midge pattern on top!

Any small spinner
works fine on crappie, Roadruners, small mister twisters, blue fox Flash, mepps 0 when they are in shallow water. The problem is that, especially in Feb and March they tend to hang in places where its hard to get a spinner to them.

A minnow on a 1/16 oz shad dart with a small bobber is killer along shore lines and over submerged brush. I prefer the shad dart (if you can find them) over the maribou or crappie jugs, because of the bucktail hair as opposed to the feather tail. Thes also work great on yellow perch if you live somewhere where that have not been fished out, white perch and chain pickerel.

I like trolling
I just cast out a lure ( something like a beetle spin ) behind my kayak, and paddle till I go fast enought to where you can see the rod tip wiggle.

Then you just maintain speed and reel 'em in…

You can get an easy paddle in, do some fishing…and enjoy a refreshing beverage…can’t wait for ice off in Michigan !!!


You need to come down to Texas for the
winter. Its been mostly in the 70’s this winter, a few colder days, but not much below 55. And, the white bass are starting the winter spawning run up the creek and river ends of our lakes.

Crappie fishing
I’ve always liked Beetle Spins for crappie. Try different jig sizes and colors until you find what works. Lots of fun on an ultralight rod!

Good luck!

Crappie lures
I have been using a little spoon called the Mitey Mite. It catches a lot of crappie and bluegill and is easy to handle from my katak.

Where do you get the Mighty Mite?
Haven’t seen them locally. Sounds like they may be good on white bass which are about to start their spawning runs in Southeast Texas.

Try their website at