Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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Fishing tips: locating and catching pre-spawn slab crappies

Spring has arrived and as water temps rise, crappies begin to stage outside their spawning grounds along weedlines. Crappies move into these warmer waters to feed before they spawn. Find schools of crappies hanging outside weed edges in 6 to 12 feet of water during the day and then will move shallower to pick off minnows and bugs along bullrushes, cattails, and flooded timber as the light fades.

Paddletail minnows rigged on a small jig are the perfect lure for fan casting to locate crappies.

Try using electronics to locate schools of crappies along weedlines, but sometimes it can be difficult to locate fish in weeds. You can also try fan-casting and slowly retrieving a jig and plastic such as a paddle tail or twister tail to locate active crappies. Vary your retrieve rate to target different depths to see just where fish are hanging out.

Once you locate crappies, continue casting around the area or you can also employ a jig and minnow under a float to target less active crappies not willing to chase a jig and plastic.

The water will continue to warm and crappies will stage in spawning areas and begin making spawning beds. They will hang around the spawning grounds for a few days and then head back out to deeper weed edges again. 

If weather patterns arrive and disrupt this process before they spawn by cooling off the water, crappies will retreat back to deeper depths, but as soon as the sun comes back out and warms things up they can be found right back on the spawning grounds.

Crappies can be susceptible to over-fishing this time of year. Please practice selective harvest return the big ones to fight another day!

Good luck fishing and stay safe out there!

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