Crappie are a wonderful fish full of fight and vigor and absolutely delicious. They are just simply a ton of fun when you really get into a school of them it’s non-stop action.
Okay so here is how to do it. If you have a boat great if you don’t you are still way in the game no worries.
How to catch Crappie
Let’s simply talk about the basics on how to catch them. Although you can use jigs, the best and most productive baits are minnows or naturally caught Shad.
Minnows you can buy at any bait store or at the lake but make sure to store them in cold water. I recommend on adding ice to the water every so often as the temperature increases. If it’s a little chilly outside don’t worry. In addition, fish need oxygen. You can purchase oxygenated tablets at the same places you buy the minnows. I myself prefer to change the water every so often and keep it cool. There’s a lot more oxygen in fresh water than any of those tablets could possibly produce. The healthier your bait the more active they are. Activity, motion and smell are what trigger a predatory response in fish.
Shad are a naturally existing fish in our lakes in Arizona and about the size of a large minnow. They are very delicate and have to be handled carefully. Typically you can find them in the backs of coves and catch them with a casting net.
The best fishing is at night with lights in the spring and early summer. If you’re in a boat I recommend submersible lights. If you are fishing from shore you can use floating lights bought from a fishing store that run off of 9 volt batteries or use lanterns suspended in a branch or off a rigid steel pole. In the case of lanterns the closer to the water the better your fishing is going to be. The floating lights work really well with a little trial and error depending on water depth and winds. A weight attached to the bottom with some fishing line will usually suspend them. Do not forget to attach a thin nylon retrieval line to them. One note on this is they can be caught during the day using the same techniques minus the lights. A good idea is to try different coves until you start catching them and then return at night.
Okay why lights? Light attracts small organisms called Photo- plankton. Photo- plankton is a major food source for Shad. The Shad come to dine on Photo-Plankton and the crappie come to dine on the Shad.The process is as simple as that a small part of the food web.
In a boat you just simply have to find how deep the fish are this can be done by trial and error, with a fish finder or just by looking in the water. If you’re fishing from shore always use a slip bobber. This type of bobber lets the fish take the bait with little or no resistance at all. Believe me even if you can’t see them you’ll know when you have one.
When to fish for Crappie
The spring and early summer are great times to fish for Crappie they are usually very abundant because they are getting ready to spawn and typically reproduce at a very high rate. A female will usually lie anywhere from 10,000 to 160,000 eggs. This is the reason there is no limit on them here in Arizona.
Where to fish for crappie
The best places to fish for them are in the back of coves where there is abundant vegetation or anywhere there is structure or boulders. They ambush their prey much like bass do.
Lake Pleasant herein Arizona is a great place to fish for them whether you have a boat or not. There are plenty of back coves that can be accessed by boat or a vehicle. Bartlett, San Carlos and Roosevelt are also excellent lakes to try.
Good luck and always check the Game and Fish Regulations for licensing requirements and limits. Don’t for get to look us up to find the best places to go on your next outdoor adventure.