The Ultimate Crappie Guide

A comprehensive manual on how to fish for crappy in all seasons.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Check out how to fish each type of cover:
1. Weeds
2. Timber
3. Brush

Plus, America's best Crappie Lakes:
1. Grenada Lake, MS
2. Kentucky Lake, KY and TN
3. Lake Eufaula, OK
4. Logan Martin Lake, AL
5. Weiss Lake, AL

WEEDS

Spring: Tim Gibson finds crappies staging or spawning in the milfoil at Patoka Lake. He favors 2- to 3-inch curlytail grubs on a 1⁄16-ounce jighead and 4-pound-test line. He hops the jigs with an erratic retrieve over the tops of the weeds.

"In Louisiana crappies are never in the weeds except during the spawn," says Richard Lindsey, who likes a 1⁄64- or 1⁄32-ounce hair jig fished 11⁄2 to 2 feet under a bobber. He casts the rig along weed edges or into pockets of water hyacinths and pops the cork during his retrieve.

[pagebreak] Check out how to fish each type of cover:
1. Weeds
2. Timber
3. Brush

Plus, America's best Crappie Lakes:
1. Grenada Lake, MS
2. Kentucky Lake, KY and TN
3. Lake Eufaula, OK
4. Logan Martin Lake, AL
5. Weiss Lake, AL

WEEDS

Post-Spawn: Gibson targets grass beds at the mouths of coves, where he catches crappies until the end of June. The same grub tactics that produced for him in the early spring work again on post-spawn crappies recuperating in the weeds.

Lindsey occasionally uses his jig-and-bobber rig around the outside edges of weeds and hyacinth colonies but generally switches to other warm-weather patterns.

[pagebreak] Check out how to fish each type of cover:
1. Weeds
2. Timber
3. Brush

Plus, America's best Crappie Lakes:
1. Grenada Lake, MS
2. Kentucky Lake, KY and TN
3. Lake Eufaula, OK
4. Logan Martin Lake, AL
5. Weiss Lake, AL

WEEDS

Summer: On lakes that develop thermoclines during the summer, Gibson usually finds crappies suspending in offshore weeds.

Lindsey targets milfoil for crappies on Southern lakes. He scouts for offshore structure with weeds, especially humps that rise to within 10 to 11 feet of the surface.

Gibson lowers a 1⁄48-ounce plastic tube jig or curlytail grub into tiny holes in the weeds. When fishing milfoil in depths of 12 to 14 feet, Lindsey dips a 1⁄16-ounce hair jig tied on 4-pound-test line into holes.

[pagebreak] Check out how to fish each type of cover:
1. Weeds
2. Timber
3. Brush

Plus, America's best Crappie Lakes:
1. Grenada Lake, MS
2. Kentucky Lake, KY and TN
3. Lake Eufaula, OK
4. Logan Martin Lake, AL
5. Weiss Lake, AL

WEEDS

Autumn/Winter: Gibson returns to his grub-hopping technique when crappies move briefly into shallow grass beds in the fall. "For some reason a lot of people start looking for crappies in deep water. I find my best fishing much shallower," Gibson says.

"Crappies will do the same thing in the fall that they do in the spring: They move shallow because baitfish go shallow. It really amazes me when I see all the people fishing fifteen to eighteen feet deep then. They might catch some small fish, but the bigger crappies are closer to the bank."

[pagebreak] Check out how to fish each type of cover:
1. Weeds
2. Timber
3. Brush

Plus, America's best Crappie Lakes:
1. Grenada Lake, MS
2. Kentucky Lake, KY and TN
3. Lake Eufaula, OK
4. Logan Martin Lake, AL
5. Weiss Lake, AL

TIMBER

Spring: Shallow standing timber and laydowns are Gibson's favorite targets for spawning crappies at Patoka. "In a normal year the fish will spawn in the timber and logs," he says. "I've seen crappies releasing their eggs on top of stumps that are only a foot under the water."

When the fish are spawning in the timber, gibson uses 1⁄16-ounce plastic tubes in a variety of colors and fishes the jigs vertically on 6-pound-test line around the wood cover. he works the jig up and down gingerly to avoid snags.

[pagebreak] Check out how to fish each type of cover:
1. Weeds
2. Timber
3. Brush

Plus, America's best Crappie Lakes:
1. Grenada Lake, MS
2. Kentucky Lake, KY and TN
3. Lake Eufaula, OK
4. Logan Martin Lake, AL
5. Weiss Lake, AL

TIMBER

Post-Spawn: Gibson checks standing timber along creek channel drop-offs for suspending crappies. otherwise, the fish will be in weeds or brush piles. by now, lindsey is concentrating on areas of standing timber and weeds in fairly shallow water. crappies in southern waters will stage in such areas after the spawn, recovering and feeding sporadically.

[pagebreak] Check out how to fish each type of cover:
1. Weeds
2. Timber
3. Brush

Plus, America's best Crappie Lakes:
1. Grenada Lake, MS
2. Kentucky Lake, KY and TN
3. Lake Eufaula, OK
4. [ When the fish are spawning in the timber, gibson uses 1⁄16-ounce plastic tubes in a variety of colors and fishes the jigs vertically on 6-pound-test line around the wood cover. he works the jig up and down gingerly to avoid snags.

[pagebreak] Check out how to fish each type of cover:
1. Weeds
2. Timber
3. Brush

Plus, America's best Crappie Lakes:
1. Grenada Lake, MS
2. Kentucky Lake, KY and TN
3. Lake Eufaula, OK
4. Logan Martin Lake, AL
5. Weiss Lake, AL

TIMBER

Post-Spawn: Gibson checks standing timber along creek channel drop-offs for suspending crappies. otherwise, the fish will be in weeds or brush piles. by now, lindsey is concentrating on areas of standing timber and weeds in fairly shallow water. crappies in southern waters will stage in such areas after the spawn, recovering and feeding sporadically.

[pagebreak] Check out how to fish each type of cover:
1. Weeds
2. Timber
3. Brush

Plus, America's best Crappie Lakes:
1. Grenada Lake, MS
2. Kentucky Lake, KY and TN
3. Lake Eufaula, OK
4.