White and black crappie are popular game fish that can be found in many U.S. waters. Before we go any further, let’s get the pronunciation issue out of the way. In what must be the most authoritative book on crappie, ”The Crappie Fishing Handbook,” author Keith Sutton clarifies that saying “croppie” is “more in keeping with the word’s derivation” rather than the “indelicate” alternative pronunciation. And although these fish are not known for leaping ability or fierce fights, crappie fishing is addictive because they are beautiful, can be caught in large numbers and, oh yeah, can be splendid table fare. Here are 5 summer crappie fishing tips:
- Brush. Regardless of the season, any list of crappie fishing tips will note that these fish are commonly located near structure. Submerged brush piles, fallen timber, beaver lodges, dock pilings, etc. are always a good place to start when learning how to fish for crappie.
- Downsize. Light line and small jigs are traditional summer crappie fishing tackle. Most crappie fishing tips often mention long, limber rods but my son and I now always include our trout micro rods on every trip. Crappie aren’t noted for their size but ANY fish on a micro rod is a hoot. When our Plan A or Plan B species (usually bass and pike) haven’t cooperated, we’ve discovered piles of crappie options. (Again, stick to the right pronunciation.)
- Deep. Summer crappie fishing tips also should take into account that many fish seek cooler depths during mid day. Depending on the wind, you may find it difficult to get tiny jigs to the bottom but heavy tail-spinners, jigging spoons, or medium crankbaits can be great crappie fishing lures too.
- Night. A specialty floating light can bring the crappie to you. Small fish and insects are attracted to the light and the crappie won’t be far behind. Crappie fishing at night can be very productive. Even without a light, pay attention to insect hatches. I’ve even had some great evenings fly fishing for crappie during mayfly hatches.
- Bait. Small minnows always are included among crappie fishing tips but, depending on the summer heat, can be difficult to keep alive. Investing in a floating bucket and/or changing water frequently will help. Recently expired minnows still make a great addition to a jig.
Utilizing these summer crappie fishing tips, my son recently observed that he has caught more crappie this year than he had in his entire life. We’ve had so much fun, in fact, that on some of our fishing spots, crappie have now become our Plan A.