Crappie fishing is a great way to get kids into fishing. It can be a lot of fun, and also nonstop action when you get on a nice school of them. When fishing with kids, especially on their first few outings, it is important to keep it fun to keep the kids interested. Crappie fishing does just that. Fall is a great time for Crappie fishing, and there are several fishing lures that are easy enough for even younger kids to use. Crappie really are a fish the whole family can have fun catching.
Fishing lure selection is important for Crappie fishing, but so is location. Crappies love structure and cover, so finding these things is very important. Look for weeds that are still green. These areas will be oxygen-rich and will hold bait fish, the food of hungry Crappies. If the weeds are dying off, or you can’t find any green weeds, then look for other forms of cover or structure. This can be wood, brush piles, rock piles, points, or humps. Rocks with algae on them are a good place to start, too. The algae attracts the minnows and that, in turn, attracts the Crappies. As the water temperature cools, Crappies may school as deep as 20 – 30 feet. So, how does one go about catching Crappies once they find them?
There are many tried and true fishing lures for fishing Crappies. However, most anglers will tell you that, if you have confidence in a certain bait, you are going to catch more fish on it. You will use it more often and give it a better chance than other baits. So, if you remember a fishing lure from when you were a kid that you used for Crappie fishing, and it worked well, you can give those same lures to your kids, and they will probably catch fish on them, too.
While confidence may be part of the game, “matching the hatch” can be just as important. Most anglers have heard the term “match the hatch”, but those with little experience may be confused by that. All it means is that you want to present a fishing lure to the Crappie that looks something like something it normally eats. In the fall, bait fish are bigger, so bigger lures will work well. Bigger is a relative term, though. Think in terms of 3” or less in size.
Curly Tail Grubs are easy fishing lures for almost anyone to learn to use. They look like a garden-variety grub with a curly tail. They have good action when jigged vertically (pop your rod tip up and let it call again – this is vertical jigging), but they are also great when used with a steady retrieve.
Maribou Jigs are furry little jigs with feathery tails. They can be tipped with live bait, small tubes, or curly tailed grubs. These can be vertically jigged over structure, or they can be suspended under a bobber, too. This is a great presentation when you find Crappies that are suspended in the water column.
For those looking for an easy bait to use, and one that the kids can use with a good deal of success, too, try spinners such as beetle spins. These fishing lures are very versatile and work well in a variety of situations. They are also fairly weedless, which makes fishing with them much less frustrating.
It is best to bring along several types of fishing lures. Fish may not want the same bait from day to day, or even from morning to night. Feel free to change up your choice as often as you want. Keep changing colors and baits until you find what the fish want on that particular day.
Remember to keep fishing fun! It’s a great pastime and hobby. It gets families outside together and can build bonds that last a lifetime. In the angling community it’s often said that it better to get your kids a Tackle Box than an X Box, and there’s definitely something to be said for that.
When you’re ready to hit the water, make sure to check out the DNR Website. It has some great resources for where to go fishing with kids and even the types of tackle and safety equipment you don’t want to leave home without. Fishing in the fall is a great way to spend time together outside as a family. While many people put away their fishing equipment for the year and turn to raking leaves and getting the last harvest from their garden, some anglers take that opportunity to experience some of the arguably best Crappie fishing available. Don’t be afraid to take the whole family out to enjoy some fall colors and Crappie fishing at the same time.