Crappie Question

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by dflett68, May 9, 2012.

  1. dflett68 Active Member

    Posts: 601
    Ratings: +197 / 0
    Wondering if anyone has any thoughts on how to target Crappie when they are intermingled with other warm water species in the same space. I like to keep a few predatory fish in the tank at home just to watch them do their thing. Last year I had a LMB, Pumpkinseed, Brown Bullhead, Yellow Perch, and Sculpin. Every few days I buy 20 goldfish, drop them in the tank, and enjoy the spectacle.

    I'm determined to add a Crappie this year, but haven't located any in my local haunts. Until today, that is. I fish a tiny seepage pond on the way to work most days for a few casts coming and going. This morning, instead of my normal retrieve, I put a soft hackle under an indicator and let it drop. Where I have only gotten LMB so far, I picked up a little crappie this morning. Didn't even know they were in there. Next fish was another LMB. I couldn't keep the crappie cause he wouldn't survive the day at work in my bucket in the car, but I want to get another on the way home.

    I'm just wondering if anyone can suggest anything with regard to time of day, depth, pattern, presentation to entice crappie that are in the same small pocket of water as bass? I know they are rubbing shoulders down there cause I took the crappie from the same square foot of surface area that I have been taking LMB. Or do I just keep casting till I get lucky?

  2. Kcahill Active Member

    Posts: 894
    Renton, WA
    Ratings: +262 / 2
    probably keep casting until you get lucky, or if there is that much competition for food right there try putting a dry fly on the surface, if the crappie are getting pushed around for food they might be desperate enough to hit a foam spider or something where the bass wont in full daylight.

    You should post up some pictures of your tank!
  3. dflett68 Active Member

    Posts: 601
    Ratings: +197 / 0
    I'll get some pics out when I've repopulated it. Just have a LMB at the moment. A chemical disaster doomed the previous tenants so I have to re-capture all new ones. Not gonna do another perch - I thought it would be a lot more aggressive, but it was pretty bashful about going after prey. Not gonna do another catfish either, that thing was a savage and wasteful pig. It would eat 3 goldfish and be stuffed, but keep on killing them and spitting them out. But then it wouldn't come back to them later. You would have thought it would eat the dead ones the next day or something, but it absolutely would not touch anything dead. The bass and Pumpkinseed behaved as expected - which was great. And the Sculpin was a rock-star. At two inches it handily consumed two whole goldfish in a sitting, and hunted as well as the bass.

    I've got high hopes for the crappie, and I've got a larger bass this time so I can try some mice and frogs on them. What I wouldn't give for a little pickerel though....
  4. Crappie tend to school up around brushy areas. A fallen tree with lots of limbs in the water is a good place to look. I think they tend to come out of hiding a bit more at night. They need to seek refuge and protection in the daylight by hiding among lots of tree branches or reeds/weeds.
    I was told by an older crappie fisher that he looks for brushy trees along the bank line that over hang or grow down into the water.
    I do know that white/red jigs use to work real well for me. Maybe a small nickel beadchain eyed red/white size 12 fly.

    I use to have a tank myself years ago with bass, bluegill, crappie, pumpkinseed, and a crayfish. Lots of fun to watch how they feed and react to one another. I had lots of places for the bluegill,crappie, and pumpkinseed to hide from the mean old bass though. I would just pick worms from my backyard, cut them up small, and feed them. Another great food for them is the Tubifex worms you can buy at the pet store. I never grew them real big though. My crayfish did turn blue from the blue gravel I had in the tank.:eek:
    Just be careful....transporting live fish can get ya in trouble. ;)
    Chuck S likes this.
  5. Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Posts: 3,861
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,263 / 1
    One you find one crappie, you'll likely find lots of others.
    I've caught them on hare's ears, damsel nymphs and really light crappie jigs twitched with an eratic retrieve.
    As mentioned above, they love wood.
    Chuck S likes this.
  6. dflett68 Active Member

    Posts: 601
    Ratings: +197 / 0
    thanks to all for the tips. tonight i picked up a couple pumpkinseeds, a yellow perch, and a couple of what i think is just a regular bluegill, but i'm not sure of the id. it was stuffed though, maybe a female full of eggs? i'll try again for the crappie tomorrow. the cool thing is that all of these species are literally coming out of a surface area no more than 20 feet square. tonight's fish all came on a bead-head olive damsel.
  7. Shad Active Member

    Posts: 94
    Elma, WA
    Ratings: +71 / 0
    Crappie are fun when you find them. I usually find them sharing water with other spiny rays. My experience (your mileage may vary) has been that the crappie hold tight to structure, usually near the bottom. My go to panfish/perch fly is (on a size 10-12 light streamer hook) a few strands of pheasant tail, tied in as a tail and then wrapped forward about 2/3 the length of the hook shank, followed by a few wraps of peacock herl, and finished with a partridge soft hackle. I fish them with a little tungsten putty about 2 feet up the leader to get the fly down in the water column quickly. I like to keep my tying easy, so I haven't tried this yet, but I would bet that tying the hackle in reverse style (think small reverse spider) would make an effective pattern downright deadly.

    Have fun. That tank is not a "crappie" idea....
  8. curtis bias Member

    Posts: 50
    Shreveport, Louisiana
    Ratings: +1 / 0
  9. curtis bias Member

    Posts: 50
    Shreveport, Louisiana
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I fish for crappie regularly. However, where I am from we call the sac au lait or white perch. I live in Louisiana and fish a lot of farm ponds. The nearest cold water to my home is over 3.5 hours away. I have fished for crappie all over the south. I usually fish farm ponds or lake that have stained water. I am not sure what your home waters look like, but I can share what works for me in my area.

    A Clouser Minnow Deep tied on a #6 hook is a staple in my fly box. The stained waters here make just about any highly visible minnow a prime candidate for crappie consumption if it is "jigged" or stripped in with roughly 8 inch pulls on the line and given enough time to drop just a tad before the next pull. I have also caught crappie in crystal clear spring fed ponds using the cratruese and white clouser deep during the spawning season.

    Top water foam terrestrial flies are also deadly for crappie. Spiders, small beetles, chernobyl ants etc. really get the crappie worked up. Of course they also entice the bluegill. If you want to target the crappie, simply tie them on a hook that is too large for the smaller bluegill to get inside of their mouth. Of course, if you are fishing for fun, keep the hooks smaller and enjoy cathcing the bluegill too.

    Two last flies that I really enjoy using when fishing for crappie are crossover bass flies. First, a fly called the pine cone is deadly for crappie and bass. Trout will eat them with equal voraciousness. It is simply a slump-buster variant. I am fairly certain that there is a youtube video that gives a fly recipe and tying instructions. A key component is a gold cone head that is allowed to rattle rather than being secured tightly close to the eye of the hook. I also find that a pearl flash material is exceedingly effective when wrapped around the hook shank and wrapped with a medium guage red wire. My favorite colors for the fly are olive green and crawfish orange. Pine squirrel strips are teh favored amterial. Personnally I like them tied on size 4 or 6 hooks.

    The second fly that I hear a lot of people talk about are simply damsel fly variants. I have my own pattern that I have created, but other fishermen in my area are absolutely crazy about one called a "briminator". There is a warm water fly fishing forum at that might point you toward a briminator fly. I hope that I am telling you the right name for the fly. It is just easier for me to think that damsel fly variants are often prime targets for crappie.

    Good luck on your quest. Tight lines.
    Chuck S likes this.
  10. troutdopemagic Active Member

    Posts: 408
    Lake Stevens, Washington
    Ratings: +134 / 0
    Since you live in Snohomish, give Lake Cassidy a try. I've caught Crappie trolling black #8 (seems big but it worked..) Wooly Buggers across the middle of the Lake and along the edges of the lilly pads that build up on the shore. Might be worth a try.
  11. Chuck S New Member

    Posts: 10
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Crappie go with the season first of all. Pre-spawn you'll find them near water that's suitable spawning habitat and that's early spring to spring depending on where you live but at times they can be found in schools roaming deeper water chasing bait fish. Spawning comes in the Spring when water rises above 58 degrees and they move to water that ranges from 5 ft to about a ft. They really seem to love two to three feet deep water with a sandy or fine gravelly bottom although at times they will be on a muddier bottom that has clumps of vegetation growing. Look for their bowl shaped nests at the base of vegetation quite often. After the spawn they move first to deeper water and congregate around and in downed or flooded trees, docks, etc they may even stay here for most of the summer depending on the remainder of the lake or pond and temps. If there is deeper cooler water they will gang up there in the heat of summer. Come fall when shoreline and shallower weeds are dying off due to the lack of sunlight they bait fish that live there scatter and often the Crappie school up and chase these balls of bait fish much like their salt water cousins. Some of the best flies will be in that 4 - 8 size range, have a large bead head, be made with a marabou wing and tail, and you'll fish them near motionless with a strike indicator to adjust the depth. Since at times you'll fish these nearly straight up and down in a flooded trees limbs, not a lot of casting is needed. Even those small ice jigs with a rubber curly tail under your indicator are deadly. My best colors for a fly is a size 6 hook, in a 2x long with a large copper bead head. Add a dark olive or peacock Estaz body and add a dark olive maribou wing and tail. Add a clump of orange marabou for a throat and you have my World Record holding Bead Head Sunfish Fly, or BS Fly. If there's one trick it's fish it slow.
  12. isaacfab Member

    Posts: 182
    West Point, NY
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Wolly booger....size #4. Just big enough to keep the smaller ones off.
  13. curtis bias Member

    Posts: 50
    Shreveport, Louisiana
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Here is an easy to tie fly that folks in my area use for panfish, crappie, and sometimes bass. The great thing about this fly is that you can often tie it using the scrap material you have on your bench after you have been tying up other flies (feather trimmings etc). The fly is called a briminator. I assure you that it will catch crappie.