3 Things You NEED TO Know About Fishing The Crappie Spawn

The Crappie Spawn happens every spring when the water temperatures reach above the 60-degrees. Depending on where you live, the crappie spawn can be anytime from early March to the middle of May.

Like other panfish, crappie build spawning nests in shallow water. Most crappie spawn in depths from 1-6 feet of water.

Male crappie build nests by aggressively brushing their caudal (bottom) fins like brooms in order to clear ground for a spawning nest. Once built, male crappie will defend their nests at all costs.

Now that you what crappie are doing during the spawn, here are 3 things to remember when fishing the crappie spawn:

Look For Brush, Cover, or Reeds

PC: Dyang Bass

Fishing shallow cover during the spawn is one of the easiest ways to target crappie.

Crappie will spawn around hardcover like brush, docks, long-stemmed reeds, and cattails.

Either manmade or natural cover provides crappie with protection from predators and wind during the spawn.

Heat Check! (Find The Warm Water)

Crappie Fishing Spawn
PC: Dyang Bass

Crappie begins spawning once water temperatures reach above 60 degrees. Usually, this happens right after smallmouth bass and just before the largemouth bass spawning period.

The northern section of lakes and the headwaters of reservoirs usually have the warmest water in the early spring, which means the crappie spawn typically starts first in those areas first.

Only Take What You Need

Fishing during the crappie spawn is the easiest time for anglers to catch both quality and quantity.

With that being said, we love a good old fashion fish fry, but it’s crucial to respect guidelines and apply reasonable harvest during the crappie spawn.

Like most fish, crappie are the most risk during the spawn, and over-harvests can negatively impact the future of crappie fishing. Only take what you need, let the others swim off for another day.

Harvest responsibly and release trophy-sized fish. Crappie in the 9-12 inch range are the ideal size keeper crappie.

Bring The Right Gear

Crappie Fishing Spawn
PC: Dyang Bass

Knowing when to catch crappie and where to catch crappie is great, but you can’t actually bring them in without the right equipment.

Crappie Fishing Rods

Crappie Fishing Spawn
PC: Dyang Bass

Choose virtually any ultralight to the medium-light spinning combo spooled with light monofilament or fluorocarbon. Having a light combo will help you cast small lures and rigs at panfish much more effectively.

Fishing Baits For The Crappie Spawn

I’ve had the most success using micro-jigs rigged with soft plastics under a small bobber. I will use a panfish crankbait like Karl’s Whipper Snapper to locate fish; once I’ve found the crappie, it’s bobber fishing all the way.

Karl’s Favorite Gear For The Crappie Spawn
Crappie Fishing Spawn
The Googan Squad Monofilament in the 6lb test works like a charm for crappie.
Karl’s Lil Twitchy
Crappie Fishing Spawn
Karl’s Lil Twitchy is a minnow profile panfish bait you can easily thread onto a light jig head. Add a bobber 1-3 feet above this your jig and plastic and target shallow water crappie spawning areas.
VMC Boot Tail Jig
Crappie Fishing Spawn
This VMC
Boot Tail Jig
is an excellent tool for locating active fish during the early period of the spawn.
Karl’s Bantam Jerkbait
Karl’s Bantam jerkbait will help you cover water and target big fish during the spawning periods.
Karl’s Mini Minnow
Crappie Fishing Spawn
The classic look and lifelike twitching action from Karl’s Mini Minnow make it a staple for crappie anglers everywhere.
Crappie Fishing Bobbers
Bobber Fishing For Panfish
Quality pencil style fishing bobbers are crucial when targeting suspended fish. Bobbers allow you to keep your bait presented in the target zone much longer than other baits.
Stickies Aberdeen Hooks
Crappie Fishing Spawn
Tie a Stickies Aberdeen Hook to your line, add a split shot weight 6 inches above your hook. And finally, attach your bobber a couple of feet above your weight. Add some bait, and you’re good to go!
Crappie Crankbaits
Crappie Fishing Spawn
Use shallow water panfish crankbaits to target fish relating to brush, docks, and cover. The Vexan Rattlin’ Wasp medium diving crank will deflect off cover preventing it from getting snagged.
Crappie Fishing Rods
Spinning Combo 13 Fishing
The 13 Fishing Ambition Youth Spinning Combo is the perfect little crappie combo. It’s light action and compact size make casting to shallow water targets much easier than a long stiff pole.

Spool your rod with light line (like we talked about), and you’ll be dialed in for the crappie spawn.

That’s it! Now go get outside and get fishing during one of the best times of the year for chasing crappie. Tight lines!

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