Fishing

How to Fish for Crappie in Texas Lakes

How to Fish for Crappie in Texas Lakes

Here’s how to fish for crappie in Texas, but it’s advice that will translate to lots of places.

For experienced Texas anglers looking for a challenging fight, there’s nothing like having a big bass on the line.

But if you’re a casual or amateur angler, or just want to bring a friend, the crappie is a perfect target. They are much more plentiful than bass and easier to reel in, making them an ideal fish for a beginner or intermediate, and a much tastier meal to boot.

That’s not to say the crappie doesn’t come with its unique challenges. Known as a “papermouth,” the crappie is renowned for its light strike. Yank on the rod too fast, and you can easily lose a crappie off the hook.

Any simple rod will do, but you may prefer something light to detect the crappie’s little nibbles.

Much more important than your rod though is having the right lure or bait. For something live, go with minnows, worms, insects, or even small crayfish. Of course with lures you’ll want something that looks like their natural prey.

Crappie are voracious eaters, and more than likely you have something they’ll go for already in your tackle box. Go for colors that are silver or grey, or black and blue if you’re fishing at night. But know that crappies can be especially color-picky.

Crappie love bright colors but may prefer a green jig over a yellow one. If all else fails, many professional crappie anglers swear by the color chartreuse.

Once you have the right gear and tackle, you’ll need to know when and where to look. Like many fish, the best time is early in the morning, as crappie spend time at the top of brushy waters feeding before retiring under docks and other hard to reach places as it heats up.

They can also move in large numbers to shallow water to spawn, so if you can find them, you can be reeling them in as quickly as you can get your lure in the water.

If you’re looking for black crappie, try deeper and cooler waters than if you’re aiming for white crappie. Keep an eye out for places with weeds, sunken logs, and other coverage, and shallow waters with dense vegetation that attract baitfish.
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Use a rig that provides a subtle movement that will entice crappie, such as a jig with a loop knot. Start with a tried-and-true live bait for crappie like minnows, and if you’re not getting any bites, try some curly-tail grubs, maribou jigs, or spinners.

Be patient and draw the line slow and steady, and when a crappie hits, keep the line tight to keep them from tearing free. Crappie are sure to give you a good fight, but their relatively light weight makes them easy to land.

As with all fishing, if you’re taking yours home with you, be aware of limits and the size of crappie that should be thrown back.

While few crappie are magnificent enough to be mounted to the wall in your game room like a bass, they are at least very delicious.

Did this article make you want to get back on the water? Look at our list of where to fish in Texas, and what you’ll catch.

About Seamus McAfee

Seamus is a contributing writer for Wide Open Spaces. He developed his love of the outdoors growing up in the Northeast and Midwest before moving to the South. An Eagle Scout with journalism training, he loves sharing his passion for nature and adventure with readers, and hopes his writing inspires others to get outside and do something important. He lives in Austin, TX, where he never misses a chance to be creative or go exploring.