Feb 062011

I always get excited about spring crappie fishing.

When it comes to fishing in Minnesota most people think about Walleye.  Don’t get me wrong when I say I’m excited about Crappie fishing this spring because Walleye fishing is great too, but there is nothing quite like hitting a big school of Crappies in the spring.

finned excitement

Every spring around ice out in Minnesota you start hearing about this lake or that lake where the Crappies are going crazy.  There are a few lakes that have a decent amount of Crappies every spring and you can catch them with a little added effort.

One of the things that makes fishing for Crappie fun is the fact that you never really know what lakes will be hot.  Usually you discover them by accident or by asking your friends or the local bait shop.  Once you know where to fish the fun begins for you and everyone else.

So why is the Crappie bite so great this time of year?  As the water begins warming the Crappies metabolism starts increasing and they have additional energy.  They start moving into the shallows right after ice out because they are hungry, active, and in pursuit of bait fish.

When the Crappies establish this level of activity and you find that sweet spot on a hot lake it doesn’t seem to matter what bait you utilize.  Some lures will perform better than others and live bait is sometimes best.  You don’t need to be an expert angler (I’m sure not one) to catch them.  Most of the time I just use a small led jig with some euro larva and if they don’t seem to be biting I’ll swap the jig out for one of a different color.  It’s as straightforward as that.  No expertise needed.

A hand full of Crappie

One of the other wonderful things about this time of year is that fishing is good even if you don’t have a boat.  If you want to make a quick fishing pit stop on the way home from work you can easily fish from shore.  The case more often than not there will be some tremendous Crappie action.  A lot of times you will be able to spot the crappies (if you’re on one of the hot lakes) while walking along the shore or in your boat because they are in the shallow water.

This is also a fantastic time to introduce youngsters into fishing.  What better way to get a kid hooked on fishing than setting them up for success?  I’m thinking about trying it myself this year with my oldest who is 2 ½, but I may have to wait a little longer.

My favorite part about crappie fishing in the spring is that when you hit that sweet spot you are pretty much guaranteed to go home with a large mess of fish.  This can only mean one thing, a great spring Crappie dinner.  I just love the taste of Crappie fillets soaked in batter and fried in the frying pan Yummy! It’s a great meal that everyone can help catch, cook, and enjoy.

If you ever happen to be in Minnesota around ice out and want to have a great time fishing.  Ask around and find out where the Crappies are biting. (It won’t be too hard to find someone who will tell you.)  I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.


Ben Gustafson lives in central Minnesota with his wife, two boys, and a gun dog.  He has a passion for all things outdoors and enjoys, hunting, fishing, and writing for the outdoor community.  His blog, “Ben G Outdoors” has a focus on outdoor adventure and is a great read.  It can be found at http://beng-outdoors.blogspot.com.

One of Ben G’s other fine projects (of which I’m quite a fan) is called “Abnormal Outdoors”.  This blog is a freak show of outdoor delight.  If you like reading about six legged dear and coyotes that live in cars, head on over to http://abnormaloutdoors.blogspot.com.

Ben is also an active member of the Outdoor Blogger Network and can be found on twitter @BenGOutdoors.

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  • Nothing wrong with a handful of crappie. That’s one species I catch by mistake, but never specifically target. Based on Ben’s post, perhaps that’s something that should change.

  • In the spring I usually hit a pond that has bass, sunfish and crappie. Crappie are always fun and give a good fight.

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