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View Full Version : how to catch pre-spawn crappie ?



naturenut
01-10-2015, 11:46 PM
hey guys,
i really want to learn how to catch them before they spawn.
i have a good idea where they will be located.
looking for what style works best, along with best lures to use this time of year.
i fish inland lakes in SW Mich.
i'm ready as soon as the ice is gone.

really appreciate any info.

thx, dave

stormcloud
01-11-2015, 01:46 AM
You are not going to find many folks down here that know much about the extreme Northern lakes. I would post the question on the Michigan site or one of the more Northern sites.

Michigan Man86
01-11-2015, 02:59 AM
Hiya. I'm from over in the Michigan forum. We would be very happy to help you, plenty of time until the headwater turns soft to learn the spring secrets of crappie spawn. Crappie are temperature tuned to begin staging for the spawn as the water temperature warms up. Once the temperature reaches about 60 degrees Fahrenheit is when spawning takes place. Any time before that they can be considered prespawn, they move onto their spawning flats as the temperature gets closer, if a front moves in, the fish will retreat to deeper waters but may be in the same depth range. Males will be the first to move in and females will be further out, if you find the males at 4 feet deep the females are just as likely to be at the same depth but then where will the eggs come from for next years crappie? I think i covered the basics mostly. If you need more help be sure to visit us in the Michigan forum. Also we have a spring camp meet and greet coming up, good food, people, fishing and camping rolled into one fun weekend.

naturenut
01-11-2015, 10:20 AM
thx for the help.
i sent you a PM 'Mich Man86'.

river scum
01-11-2015, 11:17 AM
i like pitchin twisters and ttubes to them.

Bronson
01-11-2015, 11:14 PM
I would try deeper drop-offs in the mouths of bays. Fish should stack up on cover before moving shallow. As one group moves in, usually other crappie will take there place. It's even better if you can find cover (brush, etc.) on top and bottom of the drop. Temps and weather conditions will definitely be a factor.

Crestliner08
01-12-2015, 06:51 AM
You are not going to find many folks down here that know much about the extreme Northern lakes. I would post the question on the Michigan site or one of the more Northern sites.

I disagree. I've seen many posts from just about every section of the country represented here. Which is one reason why I love this site so much. :)

naturenut
01-13-2015, 11:11 PM
I would try deeper drop-offs in the mouths of bays. Fish should stack up on cover before moving shallow. As one group moves in, usually other crappie will take there place. It's even better if you can find cover (brush, etc.) on top and bottom of the drop. Temps and weather conditions will definitely be a factor.

thx for the info.
i was wonder what type of lures is best to use for them at this time, and what style of fishing is best.
like spyder rigs, pitching jigs, ect...
i'm guessing things need to be a smaller and moved slower ?

thx,

imajigger2
01-14-2015, 08:43 AM
A Crappie is a Crappie no matter where it is located they all have the same basics no matter where they are located. People have a tendacy to overthink things. You have been given some good advice here. I would add that trying to match your baits to the size of the predominate baitfish is a good start too but don't be locked into that, experiment with sizes if they are not biting your first or alternate choices. Color can vary by lake or region so experiment a little there. Techniques can vary on any given time frame, again experiment and keep in your mind what works on your lake or lakes of choice. Time on the water is the most valuable teacher. Good Luck and let us know how it goes for you.

CrappiePappy
01-14-2015, 01:01 PM
thx for the info.
i was wonder what type of lures is best to use for them at this time, and what style of fishing is best.
like spyder rigs, pitching jigs, ect...
i'm guessing things need to be a smaller and moved slower ?

thx,

If you really catch them in the early pre-spawn movement from their deep water Winter haunts, on their way to the creeks/bays where they intend to spawn ... longline trolling of jigs is likely your best bet, since you'll be covering a lot of water and more likely to intercept them along their route of travel. That route is usually along the old creek channel, or across open flats with spots of cover scattered around.
Once they get stationed near their spawning grounds, they'll feed heavily to put on weight and store the nutrients needed to finish egg/milt production and survive the rigors of the spawn. They may move in and out from the spawning bank, depending on water/weather conditions, but most any presentation will work ... as long as you find their depth & location.
Once they actually get set up and start spawning, you'll usually find the males shallow & the females a little farther off shore (staging) ... but, you will occasionally catch both genders from the shallows, if you happen to be there when the females come cruising in looking for a mate. Again, any shallow water technique will usually work at those times.

I generally use the same size jigs throughout the year ... 1/32 or 1/16oz for casting/trolling methods, depending on depth & speed needed to present the lure to them.

... cp :kewl

naturenut
01-14-2015, 03:06 PM
thx for the great info.
are you tipping those jigs with any one item for this time of year, or just give everything a try and see whats working that day?




If you really catch them in the early pre-spawn movement from their deep water Winter haunts, on their way to the creeks/bays where they intend to spawn ... longline trolling of jigs is likely your best bet, since you'll be covering a lot of water and more likely to intercept them along their route of travel. That route is usually along the old creek channel, or across open flats with spots of cover scattered around.
Once they get stationed near their spawning grounds, they'll feed heavily to put on weight and store the nutrients needed to finish egg/milt production and survive the rigors of the spawn. They may move in and out from the spawning bank, depending on water/weather conditions, but most any presentation will work ... as long as you find their depth & location.
Once they actually get set up and start spawning, you'll usually find the males shallow & the females a little farther off shore (staging) ... but, you will occasionally catch both genders from the shallows, if you happen to be there when the females come cruising in looking for a mate. Again, any shallow water technique will usually work at those times.

I generally use the same size jigs throughout the year ... 1/32 or 1/16oz for casting/trolling methods, depending on depth & speed needed to present the lure to them.

... cp :kewl

Monark King190
01-14-2015, 03:13 PM
Crappie nibbles

naturenut
01-14-2015, 04:46 PM
'CrappiePappy' when i asked what are you tipping your jigs with.
i mean, are you putting one of the many soft plastics on it, or using hairjigs, jigs w/minnow, ect ?

i'm never sure when someone says jigs, what exactly they mean.

Monark King190
01-14-2015, 05:20 PM
Curly tails, tube jigs, stingers, bobby g strollers, bobby g slab slayers, hair jigs.Take your pick. Let the fish tell you what they want. All of those work well with longlining.

naturenut
01-14-2015, 05:27 PM
Curly tails, tube jigs, stingers, bobby g strollers, bobby g slab slayers, hair jigs.Take your pick. Let the fish tell you what they want. All of those work well with longlining.
Thx bud!
thats what i'm looking for. :-)
my goal this year is to catch them way before spawn. i love new challenges, and learning new ways to catch fish.

Bronson
01-14-2015, 09:59 PM
Lots of different ways to catch them and baits to use. One day they will cooperate and hit minnows, the next they may prefer jigs. CrappiePappy told you right when he said cover water next to a drop in the mouths of bays. Some guys use a heavy sinker and bump bottom with a jig or two above it, tipped with a minnow.
My personal preference is to tightline a jig or cast across tops of brushpiles. Tightlining will let you hold the jig in front of their nose. Definitely tip with crappie nibble, it'll help them make up there mind. A lot of guys will spider rig as they follow the drops. Try different depths, if you're not catching fish adjust how deep your fishing. When you catch a fish or two, there's a good chance there is a lot more around.

naturenut
01-14-2015, 10:11 PM
great info, very much appreciated,thx
is tightlining basicly the same as dropshotting ?
i caught alot of crappie late this fall dropshotting with two hooks about 18'' apart.



Lots of different ways to catch them and baits to use. One day they will cooperate and hit minnows, the next they may prefer jigs. CrappiePappy told you right when he said cover water next to a drop in the mouths of bays. Some guys use a heavy sinker and bump bottom with a jig or two above it, tipped with a minnow.
My personal preference is to tightline a jig or cast across tops of brushpiles. Tightlining will let you hold the jig in front of their nose. Definitely tip with crappie nibble, it'll help them make up there mind. A lot of guys will spider rig as they follow the drops. Try different depths, if you're not catching fish adjust how deep your fishing. When you catch a fish or two, there's a good chance there is a lot more around.

Monark King190
01-14-2015, 10:21 PM
In essence the same thing. You are targeting specific structure.

CrappiePappy
01-14-2015, 10:33 PM
great info, very much appreciated,thx
is tightlining basicly the same as dropshotting ?
i caught alot of crappie late this fall dropshotting with two hooks about 18'' apart.

IMHO -

Tightlining may mean different things to different people ... but, generally it's fishing straight down over the side of the boat, while the boat is tied or anchored, usually with a hook/sinker rig.

True "dropshotting" requires the weight on the bottom of the line to actually BE on the bottom of the lake, and action is imparted to the baits on the line above by letting slack in the line & moving the rod tip.

*****************************

And when I'm using jigs, I'm referring to a jighead with some form of plastic body. Casting, vertical jigging, & dock shooting, I don't add anything else. Drifting or spider rigging, I will usually have the jig tipped with a minnow (whether there's a plastic body attached or not). Trolling ... I'll use jigs/plastics, hair/feather jigs, & Roadrunners.

... cp :kewl

Crappitier
01-14-2015, 11:09 PM
I disagree. I've seen many posts from just about every section of the country represented here. Which is one reason why I love this site so much. :)

Like me! way up here in PA! I catch Crappie all year long in PA lakes and even the Susquehanna.

In the spawn, they move to shallow bays, but they like cover and feed all year long. Any minnow imitation in Marabou, Soft Plastic, or Gulp will catch. Even under the thick ice, I catch Crappie like crazy!

Crappie are the best tablefare, and they multiply fast. My local lakes are almost pollution free, and the Crappie are thriving!

I agree with Crestliner, Crappies are fished for all over the US. That guy way up in Maine seems to catch bigger Crappie than the southern boys catch? LOL

I've posted so many pix on internet fishing sites that my Photobuckert is almost filled up! I still keep taking pix though.

Chasincrappie
01-14-2015, 11:22 PM
Here in cold Iowa, I have had good luck using a 1/64th jig with a one inch tube & wax worm or a 1/64th jig and a one inch Gulp Minnow, usually the emerald shiner. I put these presentations under a bobber between 2 & 5 feet deep. I've done well when there is still ice on half the lake in open water areas. It can be hit or miss, but it is surprising how shallow they can be in that cold of water.

TAStevens
03-03-2018, 12:44 PM
Afternoon guys I just juined this morning! Cant wait to get on the water again! I keep reading about a "Michigan Forum" is there a link to this?? Im in Allegan County MI e-mail is tim@fabtecent.com Thanks!!

CrappiePappy
03-03-2018, 01:36 PM
Afternoon guys I just juined this morning! Cant wait to get on the water again! I keep reading about a "Michigan Forum" is there a link to this?? Im in Allegan County MI e-mail is tim@fabtecent.com Thanks!!

There sure is : http://www.crappie.com/crappie/michigan/

And :welcome to Crappie.com !!

pop
03-03-2018, 10:27 PM
Like me! way up here in PA! I catch Crappie all year long in PA lakes and even the Susquehanna.

In the spawn, they move to shallow bays, but they like cover and feed all year long. Any minnow imitation in Marabou, Soft Plastic, or Gulp will catch. Even under the thick ice, I catch Crappie like crazy!

Crappie are the best tablefare, and they multiply fast. My local lakes are almost pollution free, and the Crappie are thriving!

I agree with Crestliner, Crappies are fished for all over the US. That guy way up in Maine seems to catch bigger Crappie than the southern boys catch? LOL

I've posted so many pix on internet fishing sites that my Photobuckert is almost filled up! I still keep taking pix though.

Crappitier, I am making an assumption where you are fishing. My information is you are probably catching all white crappie? The lake is within driving distance for me from the Poconos. I am going to give it a try this year. Is there any camp grounds in the area you can recommend? Thanks, Pop

deathb4disco
03-04-2018, 12:01 AM
Crappitier, I am making an assumption where you are fishing. My information is you are probably catching all white crappie? The lake is within driving distance for me from the Poconos. I am going to give it a try this year. Is there any camp grounds in the area you can recommend? Thanks, Pop

This thread is three years old. Crappitier has not logged on in over a year.

pop
03-04-2018, 04:08 PM
This thread is three years old. Crappitier has not logged on in over a year.

:bash

silverside
03-04-2018, 06:06 PM
This thread is three years old. Crappitier has not logged on in over a year.

I think he found a big school and isn't home yet rotfl

stormcloud
03-04-2018, 06:24 PM
He's doing better than I am. I thought I was in the Mississippi chapter.