Best Time to Fish for Crappie and Other Facts

By Richard | Fishing Advice

best time to fish for crappie
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Fishing has been an integral part of lots of different cultures and countries because of its practical implications for bringing food to the table.

Plus, fishing also comes with benefits in relation to it being a form of recreational activity of individuals, couples, friends, and relatives.

With that in mind, we’re here to talk to you about one of the most highly prized catches when it comes to fishing.

While it’s true that other fish species, such as the rainbow trout and the largemouth bass, are quite often what you’d hear, the crappie is not something you should just forget about.

Today, we’ll teach you the basics of what crappie is, when would be the best time to fish for crappie, as well as other important information about crappie fishing.

Pay close attention because this might just be the secret you’re missing out on to have a successful fishing activity.

Have these pieces of knowledge and your freshwater rod and reel combo with you on your next fishing trip, and you're sure to enjoy your adventure.

What Is Crappie?

The crappie is a popular member of a family of fish called the sunfish; in fact, crappies are perhaps the biggest panfish you can catch.

It is widely recognized as one of the best-tasting species of fish that you can catch from freshwater.

There are many methods utilized in catching crappies, and some of which include jigs, minnows, and live baits.

These methods are very effective because crappies have a very diverse diet, which means that they pretty much eat almost anything.

To identify crappie, the best technique to do so is to count its spines. Crappies would have around five to eight spines, depending on what type of crappie it is.

Types

Basically, crappies are divided into two categories, namely, the black and the white crappie.

Although these two types are named black and white, telling them apart is not as easy as it sounds.

It’s really just about the color that you can say which is which. That is because both these crappies can be completely dark or completely white.

In order to determine these two types, we prepared a short description of both.

Black Crappie

The first thing you’ll notice in black crappie is the shape of its body.

Black crappie has a rounded body and has either seven or eight spines on its dorsal area.

The spots on a black crappie’s body look random and irregular.

White Crappie

On the other hand, when comparing white crappie to black crappie, the body of white crappie is almost elongated instead of being rounded.

The dorsal spines are lesser, ranging around five or six spines, and the spots are vertical bars instead of being irregular.

What Is the Best Month to Catch Crappie?

The question is not so much as how you can catch crappie but rather what is the best month to catch crappie.

With their diverse diets, crappies are fairly easy to catch when they’re around because you have a selection baits to use.

That brings us to the essential problem of knowing when to go out and catch this fish species.

The best season to catch crappies is during springtime, which means that the best months to head to the lakes are from around March to July.

During these times, male crappies would head out and look for a place to dig out the eggs’ nest.

Male crappies would have to find nesting grounds that are close to vegetation, which is why you’d find crappies in shallow waters during these times.

Even on parts of lakes around one to five feet only, crappies are almost everywhere during springtime. All you have to do is to find the nest and fish somewhere close to that area.

Can You Catch Crappie All Year?

We’ve established that the best time to fish for crappies is from March to July.

It’s important to note that crappies spawn in certain places and head out as early as February.

That now leads us to the question  "Can you catch crappie all year long?". There’s not really a definite answer to that question.

To further explain this point, here’s how crappies behave during the other seasons of the year.

Summer

To answer your question, yes, you can catch crappies during the summer.

However, you must know that crappies would leave their nesting sites and would return to deeper waters during the summertime.

While it’s true that you can catch crappies provided that you’re fishing in deep waters, it’s also true that you might need a lot of additional equipment and skills like electronic devices and trolling, a bit of patience, and just the right amount of luck.

Fall

Finding crappies during fall is not impossible, but it can be quite difficult.

That is because, during this season, the temperatures of the water in the lakes are generally the same, whatever depth we’re talking about.

That said, the only thing that will determine your fishing trip’s fate is the bait that you use.

During the fall, crappies are preparing for winter when food would be scarcer.

With that in mind, the best bait you can use to fish for crappie during fall would be live baits such as minnows.

Winter

Even though winter means an increase in the scarcity of food, crappies don’t really go into a state of hibernation.

During this season, crappies can still be quite active, which means that you can go fishing for them.

Your best bet would be to head out to the southern areas where it’s quite warmer as compared to the northern parts because the southern areas are perhaps where the crappies would be spending their winter.

best time to fish for crappie

What Is the Best Weather for Crappie Fishing?

Generally, the weather often depends on the season. Nonetheless, we’ll still try our best to let you know the best weather for crappie fishing.

The level on which you’d find crappies vary significantly according to the temperature of the water.

When the surface temperature of the water is high, you’d probably find crappies in shallow waters.

On the contrary, when the water's surface temperature is quite cold, crappies would be swimming deeper to help maintain their body temperature.

It only goes to show that colder weathers send crappies in deeper waters.

If there’s one thing you need to know about crappie fishing, it is the fact that it’s harder to catch crappies when they’re ten feet or more below the surface.

That said, the best weather for crappie fishing is during sunny, hot days because these are the times when they’d be in shallow waters, almost right below the surface.

Best Time to Fish for Crappie

We’ve given you lots of helpful tips as to when you should go out and fish for crappies, but we haven’t told you about one specific thing yet.

We’ve established the season and the weather for crappie fishing.

That only begs the question of when is the best time of the day to catch for crappie? We don’t want to leave stones unturned, so here you go!

Evening and Early Morning

Although the crappies’ diet is quite diverse, their favorite snack would probably be minnows and insects.

As such, the best time of the day to look for them is, believe it or not, during the midnight hours until two in the morning.

Since this is the time when insects would be everywhere, crappies would also be around since this is their feeding time.

If you’re unable to do so during this time, you can also fish for them during the twilight hours of sunrise or sunset.

During the Day

It’s quite difficult to catch crappies during daylight hours. That is because they are most likely in the deeper parts of the water.

However, if you’re fishing during springtime, which is the crappies’ spawning season, male crappies would always be around the nest, guarding it and attacking whatever comes near. That makes it easier to catch one during daylight.

If you’re fishing during the winter season, the afternoon hours would be the best time of the day to catch crappie because this is when the water temperature is at its peak.

Conclusion

One could argue that crappies are among the most highly prized freshwater fish species in the country, which is not surprising.

You can find crappies in almost every part of the country, and they’re quite fun to catch.

Of course, we do not forget that they are also one of the best-tasting freshwater fish types.

Catching crappies doesn’t require much physical strength because what really matters most is that you understand this creature’s behavior.

Once you’ve gained a clear understanding of when they spawn and when they feed, catching crappies would be a lot easier.

You don’t really have to spend lots of your money on different pieces of equipment for crappie fishing.

You just have to pick the right season and weather to head out because when you do, you’re definitely fishing during the best time to fish for crappie!

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