Top 4 Baits to Catch Crappie

Angler holding large crappie

When the weather is finally starting to warm up into spring, you can guarantee that the crappie are going to go into a frenzy. Once the water temps hit right around 50 degrees, they’ll move to shallower water and feed until the water gets closer to 60, when they’ll start spawning.

Tip: Three Cs of Spring Crappie Fishing

shop fishing crappieCrappie will eat just about any kind of grub bait you throw at them, but any person who’s fished for crappie knows that different crappie baits will work better for different days. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re filling your tackle box for spring crappie.

Crappie Bait Color Guidelines

You won’t believe the difference you can make to a crappie by switching from a pumpkinseed grub to a chartreuse grub. There’s no perfect science to tell you which colors will work, but there are some general guidelines out there that at least give you a good idea where to start.

crappie fishing lure kit
Bass Pro Shops 73-Piece Tri Color
Crappie Grub Kit

Tip: Can't decide on a crappie grub color? Check out Bass Pro Shops 73-Piece Tri-Color Crappie Grub Kit.

  • If the water’s clear, try to keep them natural-colored, like whatever a crappie might be feeding on anyway.
  • On bright, sunny days, the fish are getting a good amount of light in the water. These days, you can pick pretty much whatever color you want, but bright colors should be your go-to. Think chartreuse, yellow, electric pink, and the like.
  • For darker water, you’ll need bright colors again: anything that will reflect as much light as possible, since there won’t be much of it in the water for the crappie to see.
  • If you’re looking at cloudy or overcast skies, go a little darker for your grubs, but choose something that has a flash of bright to it, whether it’s a chartreuse tail or a bright spinner.
Plano Rustrictor StowAway Utility Box
Plano Rustrictor StowAway Utility Box

Use those guidelines as a starting point, and if it’s not working, change it out.

Easy Fishing Tackle Storage

Store small tackle in a sturdy utility box to keep corrosion away from your lures and hooks like the Plano Rustrictor StowAway Utility Box.

Crappie Love Jigs, Grubs and Spinners

marabou crappie jig
Bass Pro Shops Marabou Crappie Jig

If switching out the color isn’t working for you, change the bait entirely. Try using a crappie jig. The Bass Pro Shops Maribou Jig might be one of the oldest, most well-known crappie baits out there. It’s a favorite of many crappie fishers. With a feather tail and a little furry body, they usually come in either 1/16 or 1/32 oz. sizes, and there’s no wrong way to fish it.

crappie held by fisherman
Crappie fishing is for kids and

Crappie spinner lures like the Uncle Buck's Panfish Creatures - Beetle with Spinner tend to work a pretty wide variety of fish, and crappie are no exception. There are so many different kinds of spinners. Look to use spinners with tube baits, curly-tailed grubs or beetles on one side, and a leaf blade or circular blade on the other to reflect some light. It’s hard to go wrong with most spinners, but remember, it’s in the way that you fish them. You’re not only reflecting light; you’re also making vibration in the water that the crappie can sense. Vary your retrieval speed and see what works best.

Curly-tailed grub bait like the Bass Pro Shops Triple Ripple Grub can be fished just as jigs as well, and they work. The beauty of a bullet head jig is that you can swap off the color of the grub you’re using without tying on a new jig. This gives you plenty of opportunity to try different colors and see whether you should swap out to a spinner. .

live worms
Live Worms

Live Bait is the #4 Choice

Never underestimate live bait when you’re fishing for crappie. Minnows, worms, insects—just about anything can catch a crappie’s attention. You don’t have to worry about the color of the bait, and you’re only throwing them what they would be eating anyway. Minnows are hands-down the favorite used by most, and some even tip a jig with a live minnow for a double-whammy.

Plano Guide Series 2.0 Tackle Bag
Plano Guide Series 2.0 Tackle Bag

The best thing about crappie baits is that they aren’t expensive, so you can fill up a small, dedicated fishing tackle box or a tackle bag like the Plano Guide Series 2.0 bag to carry your bait with you and swap out as necessary, and not worry if you snag and lose one. If one isn’t working, swap it out, and you’ll be catching slabs in no time.

Tip:  Learn more about crappie fishing here