In the big picture, it may seem simple: shallow bays and channels that warm up fast in spring are good areas to start the hunt.
Still, early-season crappie fishing can be somewhat fickle due to erratic spring weather patterns and fluctuating water temperature. But once the weather and water temperatures stabilize, typically around the 50 degree mark, cover and bottom content conducive to spawning become more critical.
Now that we’re in the right area, here are some things to look for:
#1 – Bulrushes
Bulrushes, dead or alive. Bulrushes tend to grow on hard- or firm-bottom areas that are perfect for crappie nesting.
#2 – Developing Lily Pads
Developing lily pad fields also hold springtime crappies. But in early season these pad fields may not be visible above water. A good pair of polarized sunglasses and an underwater camera can significantly help you find these submerged pad fields and fish.
#3 – Wood
Last but not least, WOOD. Early-season crappies love wood cover. You name it: stumps, brush, fallen trees, even submerged fence rows are all spring crappie magnets.
Of course, with knowledge comes responsibility! Remember to selectively harvest crappies to maintain healthy populations for future generations.