Trolling For Crappie: 7 Must-Try Tactics to Go Through

Trolling for crappie is the topmost popular fishing technique, leading you to catch crappie year round. It’s not too difficult to troll for crappie if you can pre-plan accurately. Crappie responds too fast and tremendously through proper water temperature, bait, water body, timing, water depths, speed jig, and many other essential factors. 

So, knowing the proper way will surely amplify your crappie trolling successfully. However, if you wonder how and where to start, here’s an exclusive fishing guide. To take quick assistance, go through this.    

Trolling For Crappie: Must-Try Techniques

Following the 7 easiest and the best tactics, you will be able to catch more crappies in any season. Let’s explore our must-try techniques below-

1. Select the Right Speed

The recommended speed for crappie trolling is 0.7 to 9 MPH, but when you troll in colder times, the trolling speed should be lower. Because in the colder time, crappie remains more sluggish and don’t feel comfortable chasing after bait. At that time, 1.4 to 1.5 MPH will be the perfect trolling speed for crappie.

2. Select the Right Location

It’s very important to troll in the right place, considering the availability of this species. Crappie changes their appetite, and based on that, they also change their location searching for food. To select the right place, you can focus on the seasons of the year, especially winter, summer, and fall.

  • Winter

Between the pre-spawn of January and the beginning of March, you should go along the slope’s ground. Crappie usually starts pre-staging in this area, spawning during winter.

But you must avoid trolling right in the spawning time and go through reeling the crappie instead. To troll precisely, choose the next spawning ground or area that seems slightly deeper. 

  • Summer 

Trolling deeper near the underwater cover is a precise technique during summer. Old bridge pilings, attractors, and brush piles are the top-reaching locations to catch crappie in the summer. 

  • Fall

The underwater creeks, coves entrances, and other natural lines are Crappie’s commonly used traveling path in the fall. They move around these places for their food. Therefore, trolling these areas will be productive at this time. 

3. Alternate The Bait

Use different baits at different depth levels. Jigs and minnows are the so-called best baits for crappie. So using only minnows at one time and jigs for other times will be meticulous. Alternating the baits in different poles will increase the possibility of catching more crappies. Setting this baiting system in a wide swath of water will be another exclusive tactic.  

4. Depth Level

To determine the depth level, performing a certain measurement isn’t possible. It varies according to the seasons; for example, crappies are available around 10 ft deeper in the Fall. So, you might wonder about  what depth are crappies at in winter? Or, how deep should you fish for crappie in the summer? Keep your depth level between 20 to 30 ft in the winter. And, when it’s about the summer, the best depth level for crappie will vary from 15 to 25 ft deep water. 

5. Use Several Bait Colors

It’s common to use the same color baits each time. Try mixing the colors and changing the tail styles, if possible. Using an assortment of fishing lines will allow you to attract crappie easily. Try injecting the bait using old school-anise oil because the crappie likes the smell of anise oil, which will attract them to try the bait.  

6. Take Proper Meal for Crappie

Knowing the favorite meal of crappie is a significant and must-know factor. Choose the worms, minnows, and insects in this case. These three items are the topmost food to attract crappies’ attention.

7. Choose the Right Water Temperature

When the water temperature varies between 68° and 72°, crappie keeps spawning. It is the best temperature to catch them, according to the experts. However, if you troll in the northern areas, you’ll have to follow this water temperature in early June. 

But, if it’s in the southern part, early March will be the right time for this temperature. Let’s check out the trolling quality at different temperature levels. Here’s the chart to look at

Temperature LevelTrolling Quality
Below 40° You’ll find the crappie in deep holes.
Below 50°Crappie moves in the shallow water.
Below 60°It’s the pick time to troll because it’s their pre-spawning temperature level. And they keep biting crazily.
Below 68°Ideal spawning temperature, and it seems the perfect time for trolling for crappie.
Below 73°You can fish crappie tremendously at this temperature level as well.
Above 74°This temperature is sluggish, and you won’t be able to fish in maximum quantity. 

Crappie Trolling Setup

Go for the following setup when getting geared up for trolling crappies. This setting procedure will help you troll efficiently-

Set the Rod in Different Depth

Trolling for crappie will require you to go through several poles. So, set the rod at multiple depths to fine-tune it to the right location where the crappie can be. It will help you find out the exact depth you should go through. 

Set A Depth Finders

It’s tough to determine your desired depth sometimes. If you want to go through the right depth level, set a depth finder. It will provide transparent view of what depth level you are going through. The depth finder will deliver a huge advantage according to the location and time of the year.  

Ice for Crappie

Catching and storing crappies on your boat takes quite a long time before you return home and cook them to eat. Taking ice with you won’t increase the catching rate, though; it will help you keep the tasty crappie fresh until you go home and process them.  

Best Time To Troll For Crappies

The new anglers get confused about what time of day is best for crappie. Usually, crappie like to be active in the low light, which tends to find them more at night. But, the early dusk and dawn are the best time to troll for crappie. And, when it’s about colder weather, the afternoon is the perfect time to fish crappie. 

Again, if you intend to know the best month to catch crappie, the answer is that the most lucrative month to fish crappie in March. The crappie starts to spawn in March when the water temperature remains at around 55° Fahrenheit.

What Is The Number One Crappie Lure

The deep-diving crankbait is one of the best lures for crappie. Considering this, the Norman N Little Crankbait is the number one crappie lure you can use almost all seasons. It performs outstandingly in fall, winter, and summer. This amazing lure features an angled lip with a robust plum body. 

As a result, deep diving underwater up to 12 ft will be under your control. Its natural color attracts this species quickly to bite. Since it comes in multiple colors, you can also choose the color according to your target in different situations.

What Is The Number One Crappie Rig

The three-way rigs are the most popular gear to troll for crappie. Especially the T-Shape Swivels 3-Way rigs. It is easy to use because it can avoid tangles and twists. Furthermore, for your live bait harness and all sorts of 90° dropper applications, the T-Shape 3-way rigs will be handy. 

On the other hand, if you want to use a simple right, the Eagle Claw will be the best. This rig will allow you to fish through several ways, for example, vertical jigging and bobber. But you shouldn’t use the Eagle Claw in terms of a large number of Crappie fishing. 


What color lure is best for crappie?

It depends on what water surface you fish on. Purple and blue-white are super powerful colors if the water surface is deeper. However, if you troll in the stained water, a mixture of tannic acid that looks like a coffee color, the orange, green, lime, and chartreuse color will be the best.
But what if you fish in a water body that combines deeper and stained water? Well, white or brown color will be the best color for crappie, in that case.  

Do lights attract crappie?

Well, crappie doesn’t get attracted to bright light directly. They are used to resting in the darkness and waiting for the bait to bite. But, in nighttime fishing, lighting is an important part of attracting minnows and jigs. And these bait fish attract crappie the other way. 

What temperature does crappie stop biting?

When the temperature comes below 68°, it seems not perfect for crappie. But the temperature level varies based on the crappie’s season, spawning, pre-spawning, and feeding time. 

Can I troll for crappie at night?

Yes, you can! But, you must consider some important factors about the color and the bait. During nighttime fishing, try using your lures, having heads with red, blue, orange, or yellow colors. Crappie can identify these four colors the best. Because these are highly visible colors, no matter whether dark, deep, bright, or subdued light. 
Now, come about the bait types. The go-to bait source for crappie is the minnow for nighttime fishing. 

Do crappies go deeper overnight?

It depends on their appetite. But, most of the time, the crappie becomes active at night and keeps moving in the shallow water for food searching. 

Final Thoughts

Methods for trolling for crappie don’t come in a similar way to all anglers. Each angler goes through its individual multiple trolling systems. But certain factors are always identical, and all anglers must follow them. And we’ve introduced all these fundamental factors to troll for crappie precisely. Check them out carefully before trolling for crappie.

Anthony Jones
Anthony Jones

Anthony is an expert in fishing and trolling motor equipment, based in Austin. In his free time, he can often be found out on the water, perfecting his fishing techniques and testing out the latest gear.

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