crappie fishing with minnowsOne of the most difficult and sometimes frustrating things that a new or experienced anglers find when trying to identify what are good tips to catch crappies is the "what" "when" "where" and "how" when selecting the best bait for crappie fishing.

We as fisherman know on any given day we can come up empty handed. If we don’t catch any fish we will start asking ourselves what did I do wrong today? What tackle for crappie fishing should I of used?

Of course as you become a more experienced fisherman there are some intangibles when fishing that are simply out of our control and should be noted as such. The tricks good old Mother Nature plays on us from time to time is a prime example. The key to becoming a more consistent fisherman is learning tips to catch crappie that are manageable. In the following paragraphs I am going to identify some very simple guidelines that I think you can use to determine how to catch crappies at your local fishing hole.

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Guideline #1 Visit your local State Department of Natural Resources and your local bait shops to get some valuable fishing information about this fish species population in your area. You need to find out what type of crappie fishing rigs are being used to catch fish. You need to find out the average size of the fish being caught and if any larger crappies are being caught. You need to find out what types of jigs are best, what size and what color. The color doesn’t mater as much as matching the size and the look to look like the forage fish that crappies are eating, such as crappie minnows. You Can verify very quickly what the fish are eating after you catch a few and check the contents of their stomachs. Based on what you find you can adjust your crappies rigging and crappie baits accordingly.

crappie fishing with minnows tipsGuideline #2 Spring is the most active time of year for this species of fish. Get your crappie minnow rigs and your arsenal of jigs ready because the fish will be active! Crappie will start spawning when the water temperature reaches about 56degrees Fahrenheit. The crappies will be eating large adult crappie minnows right before the spawn because their natural forage fish do not spawn until later in the spring and summer when the water temperature rises to above 70degrees Fahrenheit. So if your wondering what crappie baits to choose keep in mind that the fish on the spawning nests will be eating larger forage fish. You can verify this information but cutting open the stomachs of a few fish and example the contents. Another important tip to catch crappie is the fact that nesting fish hate any other fish invading their nesting areas. You can use this to your advantage because these fish will "strike out at any thing that invades there nesting area.

Guideline #3 In the summer months your choice of crappie fishing rigging and crappies bait can vary on the size of fish you want to target. As the water temperature warms to 70 degrees Fahrenheit the forage fish such as minnows begin to spawn. And will continue to spawn throughout late spring and well into summer or until the water temperature approaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The smaller crappies will feed off the fry while the larger crappies will feed off of the adults. The size of your crappie baits will mater in the summer. For example if you want to catch crappie in the 1lb range you will need to use larger crappie live bait and larger crappie jig sizes. If the fish are feeding on Threadfin shad you will need to match the size and look of these forage fish if you want to be successful. A good way to create your imitation is to catch a few shad and use them to make your crappie baits.

Guideline #4 Special fishing situations will need special crappie rigging preparation. There are only two common situations that I will talk about here. The first is how to catch crappie if the water is very muddy or stained. There are some very easy tips to catch crappie you can use here. Crappies have very good eye site and outstanding hearing. If you come across situations where the water is stained and muddy, then you need to dress up your crappie baits to hone in on the crappies good hearing because there line of sight will very limited. Attach some shiny rotating blades to your line just about the hooks. Then attach a line rattle. A crappie will zone in on the noise of the rattle and then it gets close the crappie will see and go after the rotating blade thinking it is a wounded crappie fishing minnow. If the water is extremely clear you will need to use a very small diameter line, fire line is good for this application. You will need to sharpen up your crappie bait imitation skills. You will need to use crappies rigging, and crappies bait in the 1/64oz to 1/32oz sizes.

Author: Mark Fleagle

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