Crappie Hotspots in Every State: Where to find the Best Crappie Lakes Near You!
A honey hole is a spot or two on a river that holds big crappie for any serious slab hunter.
While some people will gladly share the information, others will treat them like state secrets and not speak a word.
We are the sharing type. To help you find your next slab of crappie, we have compiled a list of the top lakes in each state.
The good news is that all 48 states are home to crappie, either introduced or native. Unfortunately, crappie fishing is better if you are lower than the Mason Dixon line.
This is a fact about climate. The mild winters and long summers allow these fish to grow rapidly and reproduce in large numbers. Both black and white crappie grow faster in the south, where they are fed more or less continuous warm water and abundant prey items. In the north, where cold temperatures can kill fish and make it difficult to replenish, survival rates can be very low.
You might not realize the difference.
5-pound crappie was caught in Arkansas’ Lake Wilhemina in 2011. Lionel Ferguson caught 5-pound 7-ounce crappie from Tennessee’s Lake Wilhemina in 2011. A 4-pound, 14-ounce slab of crappie was also taken from Watershed Lake in Kentucky in 2005. 6-pound crappie was found in Louisiana, and a North Carolina fish of 4 pounds, 15-ounces, and Virginia papermouth of 4 pounds, respectively.
Nevada holds the state record at 3 lb 5 oz, Rhode Island at 3 lb, and Wyoming at 2 lbs 7 oz.
All of these fish are trophies in the real world. But the raw numbers reveal something. Coldwater results in smaller fish and less crappie overall. This is why wildlife management agencies favor tighter restrictions for areas with lower populations.
Crappie tournaments are distinctively southern because of the abundance and quality of southern slabs.
This list has been compiled using information from experts anglers as well as wildlife management agencies to help you choose the best fishing spots. These are not the only places you can try your luck, but they are the best.
highlighted the states marked with an asterisk are the best places to catch crappie in America.
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Best Crappie Lakes
State record: 4 lbs., 5 oz. Shelley Meadows, Fort Payne Reservoir, 2007
Frank Sargeant points out that “just about every spot in the state has either white crappie or black crappie and many have both” and that it is easy to find a spot.
Pickwick Lake, renowned for its large crappie, is a dream spot for slab hunters. Pickwick Lake is located at the northeast point of the state and is a top spot for smallmouth bass, with crappie coming in a close second.
Millers Ferry is the most popular place in the state for large crappie. That’s quite an accomplishment. Big crappie is given a chance in warm winters with plenty of food and cover. In these parts, slabs of over 12 inches are not uncommon.
This lake, covering 30200 acres on the Coosa River, is known as the “Crappie Capital of Alabama” and is a popular fishing spot for papermouths. The pressure is great, but that reduces the number of trophy fish.
Eufaula’s crappie is not as big as they appear in the trophy category, but they make up for it in terms of numbers. This lake covers 45,000 acres and is perfect for anglers who want to catch lots of papermouths. If the weather is bad, this lake should be skipped.
State recond: 4 lbs., 10 oz. John Shadrick, San Carlos Lake, 1959
Arizona is home to a thriving crappie industry. Several lakes have decent numbers of crappies almost everywhere you go.
Roosevelt Lake, which is dotted with artificial habitat created by Arizona Game and Fish in spring, is a great place to catch black crappie. It covers more than 1,600,000. acres. You can keep the shallows and use a crappie fish finder to quickly find the slabs.
Only 2,660 acres of land cover surprising water depths. You’ll have to search the shallows for black crappie, just like Roosevelt Lake. Look for points and rock piles that could hold slabs. Fishfinders are essential equipment for mapping topography and spotting schools.
This desert lake provides excellent slab and largemouth fishing. It also offers a good cover for black crappie growth.
State record: 5 lbs. Donivan Echols, Lake Wilhelmina, 2011
Arkansas is one of the most popular states for slab fishing. There are many places in Arkansas where you can catch a trophy. Although fishing is affected by long-term weather patterns, Arkansas has the best slab fishing conditions.
This reservoir, which covers 34,300 acres, is located on the Arkansas River. It limits your daily intake to 30 fish of each species. The water flow rate from Dardanelle affects the quality of crappie. Higher water flows yield better fish.
The best place to guarantee crappie is Nimrod. The sheer number of fish caught in this lake is simply amazing.
Recent surveys by wildlife biologists have revealed that the lake, which covers 6,700 acres, averages 49 crappies per night. This is the best spot in the state to hunt slabs. 36% of the fish are over 10 inches.
Perry County’s famous water for slabs regularly produces large white crappie. About half of your catch will measure 10 inches.
Deep brush piles are Hamilton’s best bet. A minnow and slip float can help you search water below 40 feet.
State record: 4 lbs., 8 oz. Clear Lake, 1971 Carol Carlton
California has a climate warm enough to support crappie growth. Fishing can also be great if you know how to find it. It is difficult to find good fishing spots close to major cities.
Berryessa is a great place to crappie fish, especially when the water has been refilled by winter storms. Lay-downs and brush piles are the best options, but open water schools can produce huge slabs in summer.
Lake Camanche can be paid-to-play. A nominal fee is charged per angler per day. The money goes to stocking the lake with amazing crappie and bass.
Big Bear Lake
You’ll find ample structure and cover along the south shores of Big Bear for bluegill, black crappie, and pumpkinseed. All species are allowed to limit themselves to 25 panfish.
State record: 4 lbs., 3 oz. Daryel Thompson, Northglenn Lake, 1990
Colorado slab hunting can be difficult because of its clear, cold water and trout fishing.
The standing timber was left intact when Jayhawker Lake was built. This created a perfect structure and cover for crappie. Jayhawker Lake is the best place in Colorado for catching a slab.
Horsetooth is home to healthy numbers of crappie and panfish. 20 is the daily limit for all panfish species, but you should be aware of high mercury levels so that your consumption is controlled.
As Chatfield is not known for its open water, savvy slab hunters use the tower and marina to catch crappie.
State record: 4 lbs at Pataganset Lake
The Connecticut “Calico bass”, or Calico bass, has to endure the cold winter temperatures that limit growth and suppress replacement rates. They are also vulnerable to predators such as the voracious pike.
They aren’t absent, but you shouldn’t expect top-flight fishermanship.
Miller’s Pond is near Durham and one of our first stops for crappie. It covers 33 acres and provides plenty of structure and cover, which allows a variety of panfish to call it their home.
Moodus Reservoir is more well-known for its pickerel and bass fishing than it is for crappie fishing. However, the reservoir still has decent-sized schools.
Although the crappie population is small due to large numbers of pike, they are still there if you manage brush piles or submerged trees.
State record: 4 lbs. 9 oz, Noxontown Pond Marvin Billips 1976
Black crappie was introduced into the Delaware waters, where they are doing well. White crappie, on the other hand, isn’t as common. Although both species are present in Delaware, it is not considered a hotspot to produce slabs. Delaware’s cold winter temperatures and high fishing pressure make it a difficult state for warm-water fish.
Lums is well-known for its premier bass lake status. However, Lums also has healthy populations of black and white crappie. You can use slip floats, minnows, or jigs in the blowdowns and brush piles to the west and east of the lake. Be aware that fishing pressure can be high on weekends and holidays.
Becks, which is heavily influenced by the shore, is a great place to hunt crappie if you’re willing to hike to places others won’t.
Noxontown Pond is located adjacent to the Appoquinimink river watershed and houses both crappie species. Although you shouldn’t expect slabs of crappie, they are quite common.
State record: 3 lbs. 13 oz. Ben Curry Sr. Lake Talquin 1992
Floridian anglers will almost always ask “Where are the crappie fishing and not awesome?”
Florida’s lakes, rivers, and ponds are blessed with mild winters as well as warm summers. This makes them some of the most popular spots for slab hunting in America.
Talquin’s 8,800-acres offer plenty of stumps and logs that provide black crappie with a safe place to hide and hunt. This is a great place to fish for large crappie, with the best months being January through April.
The slabs here grow quickly and are often populated by monsters. You can get an idea of the size of keepers by considering that any slab less than 10″ must be released.
Harris Chain of Lakes
Spring is the best time to catch black crappie. Many anglers fish open water with fish finders to find large schools. The dock lights at Hickory Point Park, Lake Harris are a great option for shore-bound anglers.
St. Johns River
St. John’s River has it all: Lily pads and creek mouths; brush piles; shallow ledges. This area is known for its excellent black crappie fishing. Schools will sometimes hold under specific sections of vegetation, which allows you to return to the same spot repeatedly.
Orange Lake offers anglers 12550 acres of crappie paradise.
The perfect habitat for black crappie is found in shallow water with thick vegetation.
Although Lochloosa may not be as productive as Orange Lake in terms of slab production, it is no fool. The reason is that Florida’s waters contain so many crappie-rich waters that it’s difficult to compare.
The lake’s edges are lined with cypress trees, which provide excellent vertical structure for black crappie.
Lake Monroe is located adjacent to the St. John’s River and offers incredible opportunities for slow trolling or spider rigging.
The most productive lake in Florida, the 2-pound crappie is the thickest. They are 3 times more common than any other fish in the US.
The 35,000-acre lake offers ideal conditions for slabs. 10-inch specimens are considered small.
These spots are home to a lot of fish, as they have water grasses that border deeper waters.
State record: 5 lbs. Theresa Kemp, Bibb County Pond, 1984
Georgia is the perfect state for crappie lovers, with excellent opportunities to catch the slab of your dreams. The crappie thrives in warm, dry summers and abundant prey items.
Georgia is almost as good as Florida for papermouths. There are, however, varying degrees of amazing.
Clarks Hill Lake
Clark Hills is a well-known local legend, Billy Murphy. He said, “From March 1st to March 3rd is when we’ll be seeing more big crappie. When we catch larger fish, we wear a jacket. When it’s cold outside, you don’t see the big fish as often.
West Point Lake
There are 26,000 acres of sun-warmed waters that offer ample opportunities to reel in slabs. Crappie love to be surrounded by submerged trees and brush piles. The slabs can sometimes be monstrous at West Point.
Crappie anglers love Oconee, Georgia’s premier destination for crappie fishing. They can work the creek mouths and the stained waters of Oconee almost every day. Longline trolling, a favorite technique, is also a popular choice.
Sinclair is well-known for his winning combination of size and numbers. Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources has a great forecast for this year.
Similar to previous years, you can expect plenty of fish with an average length of 8 inches. This spring, 25 percent of the catch will exceed 8 inches and about one-fifth of all catches will reach 10 inches or more. Some crappies will exceed 2 pounds.
The 4200-acre Nottely farm is one of the largest in Georgia.
Lake Nottely is home to a lot of big crappies. There are slabs in the 10-12 inch range. You can expect even larger fish, with 13-inch specimens being quite common.
45,180 acres of Chattahoochee-formed lake straddle Alabama/Georgia, and Eufaula offers almost unrivaled crappie fishing in both states.
Crappie of 8-10 inches are common, but they can grow up to 15 inches every year.
Creek’s mouths are great spots for slabs. Sandy Creek, on the Georgia side of Lake Georgia, is the most popular spot in spring.
State record: 3 lbs., 5 oz. Jason Monson, Brownlee Reservoir, 2003
Idaho has introduced both white and black crappie species. Despite freezing winters and other less than ideal conditions, they have managed to establish themselves. They are less common than their southern counterparts, but there are still slabs of crappie to be found in Idaho if you know how to find them.
The Snake River and its numerous reservoirs are prime crappie land. Fishfinders are critical for river crappie, especially if they are farther away from shore.
Brownlee Reservoir, which holds the state record for crappie caught in 2003, continues to be a good source of crappie. However, fish quality can fluctuate dramatically and that is primarily due to the harsh winters over a long period of time, according to Kevin Meyer.
C.J. Strike Reservoir
C.J. C.J. Strike is facing a similar problem to Brownlee. The harsh winters kill immature crappie and reduce subsequent catches. The good news is that the current crappie crop looks quite healthy. The slabs will be found if you dig water from 30-50 feet over flats or humps.
State record: 4 lbs., 8.8 oz. Ryan Povolish, Kinkaid Lake, 2017
Both black and white crappie call Illinois home. However, Illinois has harsh winters and slow growth that make it difficult for them to grow. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources may not be interested in restocking their stock. This means that slot and size limits might need to change to prevent over-harvesting.
Kinkaid Lake was first stocked in 2010. It is the ideal place to hunt a slab of Illinois. In 2019, wildlife biologists conducted a survey and found that 87% of crappies were longer than the minimum nine-inch limit. 76% were more than 10 inches, 13% were more than 12 inches.
Surveys continue to show that Rend Lake has a healthy population, but the numbers and sizes are not comparable to Kinkaid.
Shelbyville is a great place for dinner fishing, with a large number of black crappie. The lake isn’t known for producing monsters often due to the overpopulation of smaller fish that the state encourages anglers to keep.
State record: 4 lbs., 11 oz. Private Pond, 1994, Willis Halcomb
The Department of Natural Resources in Indiana takes crappie fishing seriously and has worked hard to increase the supply of slabs for fishermen in Indiana.
Patoka Lake is well-known for its large crappie. In particular, down lakes, you will find deep ledges that can hold large schools. You should also look for vegetation in the mid-depths as this is where slabs are attracted throughout the summer.
Lake James, located in northeast Indiana on 1,228 acres, is a popular crappie spot for both ice fishing and spring spawn. The warm weather provides ample habitat for slabs and plenty of growth-promoting prey.
Bass fishing pressure is high at Lake Monroe. However, the healthy crappie population is seldom disturbed. Coontail, milfoil, and pondweed are all common, so smart anglers use these weedbeds to find slabs.
State record: 4 lbs., 9 oz. Ted Trowbridge, Green Castle Lake 1981
Iowa has a lot of water that holds healthy crappie populations. However, true slabs rely on mild winters for several years and high water levels. When the stars align, slab hunting can be a great experience on many Iowa lakes.
Red Rock Lake
The crappie population explodes when Red Rock lake floods in spring. This raises the water level and adds nutrients to the food chain. Lean years can result in slabs measuring 12-14 inches.
Keep an eye out for spring weather and water levels. Red Rock is best when fishing is good.
Lake Miami, which covers 120 acres, is still a great place to hunt large crappie. The crappie habitat, which is augmented by brush piles that have been placed by the DNR has excellent conditions. Monster slabs are also common.
Rathbun Lake was once the best place for crappie fishing. However, slab hunting has decreased as habitat was lost or eroded. This doesn’t necessarily mean that slab fishermen are not good at fishing, but they will have to be more creative and look deeper for better fish.
Rathbun is a great place to find quality electronics, and also for searching for females that are spawning.
State record: 4 lbs., 6 oz. Hazel Fey, Woodson Lake, 1957
Parts of Kansas were devastated by record flooding in 2019. However, it brought nutrients to the food chain which led to a crappie boom in 2020. This continues to impact catch rates and size.
Doug Nygren, Kansas’ Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, said that “we’re ready for some of our best crappie fishing in years…We had an enormous carryover of fish due to inaccessibility of our reservoirs for a long time.”
The flooding really helped Tuttle Creek’s crappie populations, with larger and more plentiful slabs as a result.
Melvern Reservoir is 12-15 feet deep with water close to brushing piles. The numbers have changed, however. Although many small crappies were caught in 2020, they have grown significantly since then and will continue growing.
This will be a top slab spot in the coming years.
El Dorado Reservoir
El Dorado’s 8,000-acres are home to some of the largest slabs in the state. It is possible to get 14 inches and more. Growth like this is not possible with high numbers. El Dorado’s motto for the moment is “Go big or go home.”
State record: 4 lbs., 14 oz. Penny Hopper at Watershed Lake in 2005
Kentucky anglers show a lot of love for crappie and the lakes are crowded each spring with slab hunters. Year after year, slabs are produced by mild winters and predictable food chains.
Kentucky Lake, which is the best spot to hunt slabs during the spawning season, will see a lot more fishing pressure each spring. You’ll find incredible fishing opportunities for large slabs if you pay attention to the weather and plan your trip carefully.
Herrington’s 2,335-acres are prime crappie territory. The lake also produces enough slabs for a guiding business.
Expect large slabs, but not many. Jeff Crosby, Central Fishery District biologist, notes that “It’s an excellent, high-quality fishery but crappie numbers remain low…We have seen both black and white crappies in the lake, and we have had 12-14-inch fish.”
The Corp of Engineers had lowered Lake Cumberland’s water level in 2013. Crappie habitat was then inadvertently enhanced, which has led to better fishing.
Submerged vegetation eventually dies every year and the lake will soon be in decline. Marcy Anderson, Southeastern Fisheries Biologist, believes that the outlook for Cumberland is still positive, particularly at the upper end.
State record: 6 lbs. 1969
Louisiana has a great climate for crappie fishing. Anglers can catch sac-a-lait in a variety of places. Trophy slab hunters are known for their ability to find large crappies in Louisiana waters.
You can expect significant fishing pressure at most of the well-known crappie lakes.
Locals know that electronics are essential for a healthy life in this lake of 16,000 acres.
Spider rigging, which is a popular technique for tournaments, is also a very productive one on D’Arbonne. Find the two rivers that run through the lake and troll their edges.
Toledo Bend is a state with many great crappie lakes. It stands out because of the size and number of its crappies.
You must have good electronics to locate the ledges near deeper water where crappie seek cover. But once you reach those ledges, the fishing can be truly legendary. Ed Terry, a Bend guide, said that he had taken 230 trips and that he and his clients took home on average 40 fish per trip. You can do the math.
Saline is a central Louisiana fishing spot that’s known for its crappie fishing. However, this vast natural collection of backwaters can prove intimidating to novices.
It is important to think as deeply as possible, as long as you are in hot water. You’ll have more crappie to catch if you bring good electronics and the shad!
Tony Fuqua is a shallow-water fisherman who hunts for crappie in cooler waters. He doesn’t give up until he finds a good spot. It’s not uncommon for a few fishermen to catch 50 fish in a matter of hours, especially during the first months of the year.
Lake Bisteneau is home to more cypress stumps and blowdowns than any other fishing spot I have ever fished. It’s a paradise for crappie, despite the dangers it presents for boaters.
As you would expect, spring and fall are great times to catch slabs. However, winter can be quite good. You should dress warmly and be ready to travel further afield to reach less-pressured parts of the lake.
Caddo Lake’s 26800 acres are home to a lot of shallow brush piles, and aquatic vegetation, particularly on the Texas side.
Pre-spawn fishing in cold waters is possible with slabs. Once you find the staging areas, the hardwood and cypress trees will provide the ideal habitat.
The basin covers 260,000 acres, which is a scary amount of land. They are afraid they won’t find the fish so they leave this sprawling cypress swamp to head for smaller water.
Crappie is usually found in clean bayous and canals, particularly up in the shallows on either side of the main channel. You should look for thick covers and find the areas where hungry crappie are looking for food.
Poverty Point Reservoir
Poverty Point, which covers just 2,700 acres, produces incredible numbers of crappie between 2- and 3-pounds. However, fishing pressure can be high.
State record: 3 lbs., 9 oz. Quinn Warren, Messalonskee Lake, 2016
In 1921, black crappie was introduced to Maine’s waters. However, freezing winters and short summers did not help them much.
Black crappie can be found on 8,239 acres. However, cold water slows their growth and reduces survival rates in winter. Outside of spring spawn, ice fishing is a good option.
Sebasticook Lake is home to black crappie and other panfish such as sunfish. Crappie isn’t very sought-after in Maine. Largemouth and smallmouth bass prefer Sebasticook.
Black crappie will therefore be under less pressure to fish.
Sebago doesn’t have many warm-water species such as crappie, so it is best to look for them in the spring.
State record 4 lbs., 4 oz. Sid Stollings of Indian Acres in 1987
Although Maryland is not as southern as Mississippi, the crappie population in Maryland’s many lakes and rivers are doing well.
Loch Raven Reservoir
The 2,400-acre Loch Raven is well-known by bass fishermen. However, they also hold plenty of bluegills, black crappie, and white and Yellow perch.
As the summer heats up, thick hydrilla begins to grow. It provides excellent cover for crappie and prey items alike.
Prettyboy’s water is some of the clearest in Maryland. This means that you will need to dig a little deeper to find crappie.
Wheatley is best known for its catch-and-release bass fishing but it also produces decent amounts of black crappie.
State record: 4 lbs., 10 oz. James Crowley, Jakespond, 1980
Black crappie, also known locally as the “calico bass”, seems to be doing well in Massachusetts despite the cold winters. True trophies can be as rare as warm winters but there are still plenty of places where you can catch decent crappie.
The fishing pressure for bass will rise to near intolerable levels as the weather warms. However, most anglers avoid the many bluegills and crappies.
Manchaug’s 380-acres of clear water are managed carefully to keep invasive animals and plants out.
Crappie loves large numbers of shad, which makes them attractive to walleye and bass. But don’t forget the slabs!
Bare Hill Pond
Bare Hill Pond is just 320 acres and its shallow water holds lots of bluegills, black crappie, and pumpkinseed.
Boating pressure can get really high on warm weekends so it is important to hit the water early in the week or during the week.
State record: 4 lbs., 1.92 oz. Frank Lee, Lincoln Lake in 1947
Although pike, bass, and walleye are the most important fish in Michigan, crappie fishing is still very good. However, slab fishing is less intense than farther south.
Tippy Dam Pond
Tippy Dam Pond’s 1,540 acres are almost ideal habitat for large crappie. Slabs are full of stumps, brush piles, and other irregular structures, so there are plenty of hiding places and hunting spots.
Hamlin is undoubtedly the best spot to catch bluegills in the state. It also has a healthy crappie population that includes some large slabs.
Mark Tonello, Department of Natural Resources, notes that “During the most recent survey on fisheries in 2004, biologists collected and measured 104 crappies. They averaged 10 inches and could have reached 13 inches.” This was in comparison to the over 900 bluegills netted during this survey.
Pere Marquette Lake
Pere Marquette is the dynamite crappie territory.
This lake is home to monster slabs, but most anglers are looking for steelhead and salmon. There’s not much pressure for crappie.
State record: 5 lbs. Tom Christenson Vermillion River, 1940
Minnesota’s anglers are fond of slabs. The walleye is the most popular fish on Minnesota’s thousands of lakes.
This number is not exaggerated. With so many bodies of water within proximity, it’s safe to say that Minnesota might be the best place in the north to fish for slabs.
Remember, however, that the growth rates of crappies are limited by cold water and freezing winters. Minnesota limits the population of crappies year to year.
Red Lake is large, sprawling, and deep. It’s home to nearly all species of fish that are found in Minnesota’s freshwater.
Red Lake is ideal for ice fishing and also produces black crappie during the spring spawn.
Sand Lake’s 4,300-acres offer shallow water adjacent to steep dropoffs. This creates a unique environment that is ideal for crappie and panfish.
You can find crappie cover almost anywhere near the shore. The water is only 5 feet deep.
Steiger Lake is only 165 acres but still has plenty of black crappies, pumpkinseed, and other fish.
There’s plenty of covers for slabs to be attracted by the vegetation and weeds around the edges.
State record: 4 lbs., 4 oz. Gerald Conlee, Arkabutla Reservoir, 1991
Mississippi is the ideal place for slab hunters. The climate is ideal for rapid growth, predictable reproduction, and the best places to catch crappie are here.
Arkabutla and Sardis are the Enid Lakes
These are the premier slab sites in northern Mississippi. Arkabutla is famous for its big crappie, while Sardis or Enid can fill your cooler with 10- to 12-inch crappie within a matter of hours.
However, be aware that the fishing pressure can be very high.
Lake Washington is the most popular place to catch crappie in Mississippi. It produces large numbers as well as large fish.
Crappie smaller than 11 inches are not allowed to be released by anglers, but it is quite common to fill the limit of 30!
Granada Lake is a paradise for slab hunters. It produces monsters every day as many states produce 10-inches.
Crappie less than 12 inches are not allowed to be released by anglers. The limit is 15.
Think about it the weekend after weekend and you will see why Mississippi is so popular among slab fans.
State record: 4 lbs., 9 oz. Ray Babcock, Private Pond 1967
Crappie can be found almost anywhere in Missouri. Walleye fever is a common problem in Show-Me, but anglers are finding the joys associated with crappie one slab at a time.
Lake of the Ozarks
Lake of the Ozarks, which covers 54,000 acres of prime crappie habitat is quickly becoming a world-famous crappie fishing spot. This is due in large part to the efforts of dock owners who place brush piles along the shoreline.
Missouri’s Department of Conservation surveyed the Lake of the Ozarks and found that “63% of the white crappie, 52 percent of the black pike measured were equal or greater than the lake’s minimum 9-inch limit.”
Truman Lake is fed by predictable flood waters each year. It has a healthy ecosystem with plenty of prey and renewed cover every year.
What did you get? Missouri has few better places to catch crappie between 10 and 11 inches.
Table Rock Lake
Table Rock is a well-respected destination for bass fishing. Every spring, crappie over 12 inches are caught at Table Rock.
Stockton covers 24,900 acres and is surrounded by trees which provide ample cover for slabs.
Unfortunately, the majority of white crappie currently exceed the legal limit. The MDC reports that recent crappie trap netting surveys revealed the second highest white crappie catch rate in 24 years. This is due to the large year class of white crappie between 7.5-9 inches.
You’ll catch plenty of crappies but not enough to keep them all. Stockton is the best choice if you want to have non-stop catch and release fun.
State record 3.68 lbs. Gene Bassett, Tongue River Reservoir, 1996
Montana’s climate is not ideal for crappie. The norm is cold winters and cold waters, while slow growth and low replacement rates are the exceptions.
Tongue River Reservoir
Tongue River Reservoir, a popular destination for crappie fishing on long weekends and holidays is surrounded by juniper which can provide good cover for slabs.
The reservoir is a popular spot for ice fishing. With good electronics, crappie hauls are regular events all winter.
Fort Peck Lake
Fort Peck Lake’s pike and walleye combine with the cold temperatures to keep the crappie population under control. However, they are still possible to catch if you have a good fish finder and look deep.
The reservoir was originally introduced to black crappie, who struggle through winter. They also tend to keep in deep water that is inaccessible from shore.
State record: 4 lbs., 8 oz. Allen Paap, Jr., Farm Pond, 2003
Crappie fishing in Nebraska is difficult due to its cold winters and freezing temperatures. Slab hunters need to be prepared and willing and able to search for their fish. Gene Hornbeck says that the state doesn’t have a lot of crappie water. Private farm ponds, sandpit lakes, and private farms account for the largest number of fish.
Sherman County Reservoir
Sherman County Reservoir is home to a decent population of crappie on approximately 3,000 acres of water, surrounded by marsh grasses and willows.
Larry Placzek is a local crappie angler and offers some tips:
The crappie season starts in March. We find the best fishing along trails 3, 6, 8, and at the inlet as well as the dam’s face. They will stage in deeper water near the cover they will be spawning in. As the water temperature rises, the fish will move shallower and you may catch them in as much as a foot of water under the willows or weed patches.
Red Willow Reservoir
Red Willow’s 1,630 acres produce large crappie but not in large numbers. Steve Lytle is a local guide to fishing and has caught crappies up to 19 inches here. However, the average crappie size is closer to 11 inches.
After a period of low water, Tuttle creek now produces crappie that weighs more than 2 pounds regularly. The abundance of aquatic vegetation along the edges provides great cover and Tuttle Creek is a great choice for crappie anglers who are looking for great fishing pre-spawn.
State record: 3 lbs., 5 oz. Lake A. Pressey, Weber Reservoir, 2017
Nevada and warm water are not often mentioned together. Crappie can be caught in Nevada but largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass are more popular and more common.
Echo Canyon Reservoir
Echo Canyon is home to 8-inch white crappie, at least in the better years. However, the population is kept small by fluctuating water levels and cold winters.
Nesbitt is not suitable for warm water species, as even largemouths feel the cold. Although white crappie is not common, they can be found in spring during the spawn.
The southern part of Nevada is home to Lake Mead, which has the largest crappie population. It’s also the most popular crappie destination in the state.
State record: 2 lbs., 15 oz. Brian O’Day Great East Lake, 2016,
The black crappie isn’t a well-known species in New Hampshire’s lakes. This is likely due to the harsh winters and low prospects for this warm-water species. Crappie was introduced to New Hampshire in the early 120th century. However, they have not thrived in the state. Wildlife biologists wouldn’t use the term “thriving” to describe their success.
Although this small reservoir is great for black crappie fishing, lax creel limits and no-size limits can have an impact on fish quality year after year.
Pawtuckaway Lake’s edges are lined with trees that create great brush piles. This habitat is ideal for black crappie and can support large numbers of panfish.
Canobie Lake, surrounded by homes and an amusement park is perhaps the most popular crappie spot in New Hampshire. It covers just 375 acres and is home to a respectable number of black crappie.
State record: 4 lbs., 8 oz. Andy Tintle, Pompton Lake 1996
New Jersey waters are home to both black and white crappie. Anything over 8 inches is considered a keeper. The climate doesn’t allow for rapid growth.
Although the lake is small, its many trees provide plenty of brush for crappie habitat. Panfish of all types are abundant and there is little fishing pressure.
Swartswood lake, located in New Jersey’s mountains, is home to a large population of black crappie. It covers 550 acres. It is a largely undeveloped area, so it’s easy to find good spots for bank fishing.
A boat launch is also available and can be rented for anglers who wish to access prime spots.
This lake is more popular for its black crappie population than it is for slabs. You will find brush piles and shallows that attract spawning slabs.
Mosquito Lake, which covers 6,550 acres and is relatively shallow in water, offers easy access to its entire shoreline.
Mosquito Lake has excellent crappie reproduction rates due to its ample cover, warm water, and steady water levels.
State record: 4 lbs., 9 oz. Oscar W. Buck. Black River, 1983
Although New Mexico is not mentioned as often as Mississippi, Texas, or Florida, slab enthusiasts will find plenty to do in New Mexico.
Elephant Butte Lake
Elephant Butte, New Mexico’s largest lake, is home to a healthy population. However, white bass is more common than crappie.
Brantley lake, once ravaged by low water levels and algal blooms, has been rediscovered as a great spot to catch crappie in New Mexico. It’s home to crappie and other species. However, it is not recommended that you eat any fish caught.
Caballo Lake, which covers approximately 11,500 acres, is the favorite destination for New Mexican anglers. It’s well-known for its large populations of small- and largemouth bass, striped bass, and panfish.
This lake is home to a healthy population of crappie. They are easy to catch and find, especially during spawn.
State record: 4 lbs., 1 oz. William Wightman Lake Flavia 2018, 2018
Although crappie doesn’t need harsh winters, New York provides them with long, cold winters. Both species of crappie can be found in New York, but true slabs are rare due to slow growth and low replacement.
New York currently has a minimum 9-inch keeper size and creel limits of 25. This should make it easier to increase the average size over the next few years.
Whitney Point Reservoir
Whitney Point is the state’s most popular crappie spot thanks to its careful water management and cultivation of aquatic plants.
Whitney Point Sportsman’s Association hosts a crappie tournament when the ice is clear. Slab hunting in spring is a right of passage.
Eelgrass and pondweed as well as Eurasian milfoil and water stargrass are found around Honeoye Lake’s edges, which provide excellent cover for black crappie.
Honeoye, the shallowest finger lake, is a great spot to visit every spring to find pre-spawning and spawning slabs.
Waneta is home to many crappies despite the presence of muskies and other predators.
They can be found in the shallow bays of the spring and on the main channel in the summer.
State record: 4 lbs., 15 oz. Dean Dixon, Asheboro City Lake 1980
Crappie enthusiasts are a common sight in North Carolina, where slabs are the most popular fish. Crappie growth is rapid in North Carolina’s mild winters and long summers, which makes it an ideal location for replacements.
Freddie Sinclair, a local guide explains that winter doesn’t cool Jordan Lake hot slab fishing.
January is a predictable month. You can predict that the fish will be stacked up along the creek channels and ledges at the main lake. They will rarely be scattered. The crappie is usually found with the baitfish and will often be gathered together in large numbers.
Harris Lake’s 4,100-acre lake is now considered one of the best places to fish for crappie in NC. Harris is a great place to fish for crappie, with its abundance of brush piles and near-perfect habitat.
However, fishing pressure can be very high around the spawn.
Pros like Rod King and Bud Haynes recommend that you visit Falls Lake in January or February, contrary to popular belief that spring is the best time for slabs.
The water is cold, but the crappie are already moving and feeding, ready for their spawn. Nature will then separate the trophy-worthy from the keepers.
Tar River Reservoir
Tar River Reservoir, which has been rehabilitated from excess agricultural run-off enjoys clearer waters and a growing reputation for being a monster slab destination.
Jimmy Duke, an old hand on Tar River, will tell you that light mono and very lightweight jigs are key to success.
State record: 3 lbs., 4 oz. Don Newcomb, Lake Oahe 1998
North Dakota has a lot of cold weather and cold water. Winter crappie is a great choice, though walleye reign supreme. However, unlike other states to the south, winter is prime season. Ice fishing is the preferred method for crappie.
“We have tried crappies from all over Devils Lake System, including Lake Irvine and Stump Lake. But Six-Mile Bay and Pelican Lake seem like the best places to find crappies,” said Todd Caspers (Devil’s Lake fisheries biologist, North Dakota Game and Fish Department).
Winter transforms the lake’s 170,000 acres of land into a thick layer of ice. While most people chase walleye and perch, skilled slab hunters can hunt crappie.
Devil’s Lake is also a great place to spawn since crappie pressure is very low or non-existent (at least until word gets out).
Black crappie has not been stocked in Lake Ashtabula for over a decade. With healthy predatory fish populations like pike, walleye, and muskie, slabs are hard hit.
However, slab fishing is difficult and there are plenty of ice fishing options.
Despite predators’ pressure, bluegill and black crappie thrive on lake Tschida. True slabs are very rare, but crappies of 2 pounds are quite common.
State record: 4 lbs., 5 oz. Private Pond, 1981 Ronald Stone
Ohio anglers chase both species of crappie, and slab hunting is a passion in the state.
The average crappie quality has increased dramatically since 2009 when a minimum of 9 inches was established and a creel limit for 30 fish was set. This was followed by further refinements lake-by-lake to make Ohio a great place in which to fish.
Lower water levels have enabled shoreline vegetation to grow back, creating a better habitat for slabs. Since then, Sandusky Bay has been a top destination for crappie anglers and outshines almost any other lake in the area.
Ray Petaling is the administrator of the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Inland Fisheries Division. He is an avid angler who loves Sandusky. He says that you can catch up to 150 fish per day and not see one below 10 inches. “Crappies between 15 and 17 inches are not uncommon.”
The 1,200-acre reservoir has shown the benefits of stricter restrictions. Now, true slabs are just waiting for their owners.
Delaware Reservoir is accessible along its entire shoreline and maybe the best spot to hunt slabs if you don’t have a boat.
Mosquito Lake offers both predictability and abundant cover, making it an excellent place to raise trophy slabs.
Pay attention to the water clarity and level. Important to remember that crappie bites here don’t take off until the water reaches the low 50s.
The spawning areas are located north of Route 88 on 6,550 acres of relatively shallow waters.
State record: 4 lbs., 15 oz. Frank Robinson, Kingfisher Co. Pond 1991
Oklahoma is another state that slab hunters love. It has warm weather and plenty of water, which makes it a great place to fish for crappie. Both species can grow fast and reproduce here.
Crappie requires space to grow and predators to maintain their numbers. Lake Eufaula offers plenty of both. Eufaula’s 102,000-acres contain a healthy population of slabs. Trophy slabs are not in short supply.
This can cause extreme pressure during peak seasons such as they spawn. Anglers will travel from all over the country to fish in this prime location.
The slabs have been managed well and produce impressive strings of fish that weigh in at least a pound each.
Wes Watkins Reservoir
The 1,142 acres of Wes Watkins are best known for the virus that killed its bass population. However, this disease did not affect the crappie.
The reservoir is thickened by a lot of submerged timber. Mary Fowler, a lake office worker, has seen crappie weighing in at between 3 and 4 pounds from Wes Watkins. This suggests that the reservoir could be a trophy fishery.
However, fluctuations in water levels can be a problem, so keep an eye out for high water levels in spring. This is a sign that crappie fishing will be great.
Longmire’s remaining timber covers only 935 acres. It produces more slabs per acre than any other standing timber, and true slabs are not uncommon.
Bob Myers, a Longmire local guide, has attested to the high quality of the slabs. “Several years ago, the lake produced crappie of between 2 and 3 pounds… I’ve seen crappies that weighed in at 4 pounds.”
Oologah has 29,460 acres of clear, abundant white crappie. While catfish and bass are the most popular species in this lake, the white crappie is a great choice.
A creel limit of 37, and no minimum length for the keeper won’t make a difference to Oologah’s crappie population.
State record: 4 lbs., 12 oz. Jim Duckett, Gerber Reservoir, 1967
Oregon is not a hotspot for crappie fishing, but it does have them. Most crappie anglers in Oregon catch them by accident, but there are still some good lakes to take slabs.
Brownlee’s 15,000-acres are fed by the Snake River. If water levels haven’t dropped dramatically in the past few weeks, crappie bites can still be very good.
Boat access is easy and there is very little shade.
Prineville is a lake with a healthy population of rainbow trout.
However, crappie can be caught here once the sun has set.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife submerged juniper brush piles at the mouth of Bear Creek and along the south shoreline above Sanford Creek. These are the best areas to search for slabs.
Henry Hagg Lake
Hagg may not be the best choice for huge crappie, rapid growth, or high replacement rates but they are definitely here.
It’s important to know how to find submerged cover.
State record: 4 lbs., 3 oz. Richard A. Pino Hammond Lake 2000
Crappie fishing in Pennsylvania is not a haven. Cold winters can lead to slower growth and replacement. Pennsylvania crappie fishing is, therefore, more about quantity than quality. On most outings, the goal is to fill the cooler up with perfectly sized fillets.
This is changing as the state improves its panfish management. However, dedicated efforts are resulting in bigger and better fish.
Blue Marsh Lake
Blue Marsh Lake’s 1,150 acres of crappie habitat are well managed. There is a limit of 9 inches and 20 fish per day creels on the lake.
According to Pennsylvania’s Fish and Boat Commission, crappie populations, and Blue Marsh’s in particular, fluctuate naturally. There are strong and weak years followed by strong year classes. Blue Marsh Lake’s crappie population is currently being managed by biologists who aim to reduce the extremes in the crappie population’s peaks and valleys.
The results so far have been encouraging, with really nice slabs being a more frequent catch than in previous years.
Cross Creek Lake
Cross Creek is home to a steady population of fish of average size, with plenty of cover and prey. Blue Marsh has implemented enhanced management to increase the size and quality of the slabs. The results have been spectacular.
Cross Creek has seen a lot of crappie fish in recent years that exceed the legal limit of 9 inches. With continued care, Cross Creek could be the best crappie fishing area in Pennsylvania.
This tiny lake is home to a healthy population of crappie.
Recent state surveys revealed a surprising amount of giant slabs. Mike Depew, the biologist, reports that the fish was measuring 16 inches. “And there were lots of those desirable-size fish, including 10-, 11- and 12-inch crappies.”
State record: 3 lbs. R. Sevigny, Watchaug Pond, 1976
Calico bass isn’t a very popular fish in Rhode Island and most anglers tend to ignore them.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t capture them. They are certainly present in state waters.
Crappie can be found in the weedy northern end of Georgiaville Pond. This is where you should target them during the short ice fishing season.
You can almost guarantee crappie or two if you work the shallows and shoreline in spring.
The tiny Chapman Pond, which is shallow and surrounded by trees and stumps, is the best place to find good crappie.
Watching Pond has plenty of cover and prey. The largemouth bass is more popular than crappie.
Do not let this stop you.
Watching is the home of the state record slabs. They are almost ignored and, especially at the spawn area, easy to target.
State record: 5 lbs., 1 oz. Mrs. H.P. Owens, Lake Murray 1949
South Carolina is a state that rivals any other for its abundance of slabs. There are many great spots to catch crappie.
Ross Self, the Chief of Fisheries at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources reports that crappies are cyclic and that lakes will experience natural fluctuations but the species overall is doing well statewide. Many lakes are offering outstanding opportunities for crappie fishing.
Lake Moultrie’s 60,000-acres are lined with cypress, creating a vertical structure that crappie cannot resist.
And the state has upped the ante on Moultrie by sinking fish attractors at sites with known GPS coordinates, available at https://www.dnr.sc.gov/fish/fishattract/fishattr.html.
High winds can make the lake almost impassable due to its shallowness.
Marion’s 110,000-acre parcel is part of the Santee Cooper, and it is just as fast-paced with giant slabs.
You’ll also find fish attractors here, as well as cypress knees, stumps, and legions of crappie.
The creek mouths of Lake Marion are abundant and a great place to hunt crappie.
Lake Murray, like Moultrie, can be rough in the wind but it’s just as full of crappie and, despite what you might have heard, they grow very large here.
Kit Carson, a veteran slab hunter believes that the best places for crappie are in the mid-lake area, starting at Hollow Creek, Billy Dreher/Crystal Lake, and moving up to the river arms of the Little Saluda as well as the Big Saluda Rivers. The crappie can be found most of the year in open water. They will be found either in or along the old river channel bends or brake lines. The majority migrate to shallow water for their spawning in late March and April.
Lake Secession, which warms well earlier than most, is a great place to get slabs in the early spring, especially at its upper end.
State record: 3 lbs., 9 oz. Gary Ernst, Private Pond 1974
South Dakota’s anglers love crappie but they are far less popular than cold-water fish like pike and walleye.
It is easy to see why: cold winters. Mark Ermer, the state’s fisheries manager, says that crappie populations are “really sporadic” in this region. Sometimes, we wait five or ten years. These big year classes are strong and fishing is excellent for five years. Then we fall back to small populations of big fish. We wait. “We are in a huge dip.”
Marindahl’s 2016 survey revealed that there was plenty of crappie between 8 and 10 inches in Marindahl. This tiny lake, which covers just 139 acres, is ripe for slab hunting as the species is under almost no pressure.
Pickerel Lake is a great place to ice fish for slabs.
Expect heavy pressure, but dedicated crappie anglers will be rare.
State record: 5 lbs., 7 oz. Lionel Ferguson, Loudon County, 2018
Tennessee’s anglers have a special place for crappie in their hearts. I don’t think there is a single angler that doesn’t have a jigging rod ready for each spring’s spawn.
The state’s perennial problem has been the fluctuating water level in its reservoirs. Drawdowns can sometimes destroy crappie habitat. Crappie above 16 inches have become a common sight.
Reelfoot’s shallow waters are a haven to monster slabs due to the abundance of cypresses and stumps.
As the weather warms up, you can expect the general pressure to rise and spider rigging will become the dominant technique.
Barkley is home to many keepers of small size, but true slabs require high water and long reproductive years.
These aren’t very common in recent years, and it’s a problem that affects all of Tennessee.
Center Hill Reservoir
Center Hill’s crappie population is maintained vital through continuous restocking. This is necessary because of habitat loss due to low water levels and drawdowns.
This intervention has made hybrid black-nosed crappie abundant, but they tend to be quite deep due to the clear water. The key to success is good electronics. But, when you find the slabs, they can be real monsters.
State record: 4 lbs., 8 oz. G. G. Wooderson, Navarro Mills, 1968
Texas is unquestionably the best state for slab hunting.
Texas crappie anglers have it all. Nearly everybody of water has thriving populations that are hungry and can be found in Texas.
Lake Fork, a popular spot for tournaments is also one of the best spots for crappie in the state. It’s consistently in the top 5 in the nation!
Tournament anglers can collect dozens of 2-pound slabs per day, which is almost impossible to grow. There is also larger crappie out there that just need dedicated fishermen.
Toledo Bend is shared with Louisiana. Its Texas side has cover and structures that attract crappie-like magnets.
There are so many big slabs here that it seems almost impossible to count them all. Pros and amateurs agree that a trip on its 185,000 acres is worth it.
Lake O’ The Pines
This lake is a great place to fish for slabs, thanks to its careful management and unusual culling program in winter.
Texas regulations state that “for black and white crappie, the minimum length limit is not set and all crappie caught between DEC. 1 and FEB. 31 must be retained.” This is subject to the usual creel limit, 25 fish.
This step removes a lot of poor crappie from Lake O’the Pines and prevents overcrowding, which results in some true monsters.
However, fishing pressure will be high during peak seasons.
Sam Rayburn Reservoir
Sam Rayburn, unlike other reservoirs in Tennessee, is so large and holds so much water that drawdowns or lean years don’t even make a difference.
This results in stable spawning and reproduction rates over the long term, which means that crappie populations are large and healthy.
Sam Rayburn’s 114.500 acres may feel a little crowded in spring, however, there is plenty of shoreline for slabs.
Daniel Reservoir, a 950-acre reservoir of water located near Abilene is truly amazing.
According to a 2017 survey, white crappie was abundant in the reservoir and anglers could catch legal-size fish of up to 15 inches. Crappie usually reaches legal size in one to two years.
Be aware of the water level, as it can be affected by drought.
Texas Parks and Wildlife have been placing brush piles at Granger’s edges with care and excellent crappie habitat.
These locations are listed here.
Granger is home to natural brush piles, as well as other types of cover, which makes it easy for crappies to be found in spring. Good electronics are essential as the summer heat rises.
State record: 3 lbs., 2 oz. Mike Flickinger, Quail Creek Reservoir, 1993
Utah’s waters may not be ideal for rapid growth. However, there are happy slab populations all over the state. There is also low pressure due to the popularity of other species. There are both white and black varieties, and stocking is done by the state. However, Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources still uses “extremely uncommon” to describe slabs with walleye, catfish and white bass, and other common species.
The DMAD reservoir is surrounded by desert and contains thriving schools of white crappie that migrate to deeper water in the summer.
Electronics are essential for finding fish once the heat turns on. Their numbers can be extremely high once they are found.
Gunnison Bend Reservoir
Gunnison Bend Reservoir, Utah’s only stocking spot for crappie, is your best bet for a slab.
Only 706 acres of warm weather means that water skiers and recreational boaters crowd the lake.
The best time to search for slabs is in winter and spring when you will likely have the reservoir to yourself.
Lake Powell offers places where there is little water and cover, and crappie is often found in these areas.
State record: 3 lbs., 8.5 oz. Francis T. Geoffroy Lake Hortonia 2005
Although Vermont is not the best state for crappie fishing it is a good place to get a cooler filled with fish-fry material. You can expect slow growth and low replacement rates, which require careful conservation.
This results in a closed season that is open from the second Saturday of April through October 31. Keepers can keep their birds for 8 inches, and there is a limit of 25 creels per season.
Lake Dunmore’s 985-acres are home to black crappie. However, this species is not “common.”
Lake Bomoseen is 2,400 acres of clear, wood-ringed water. It does produce crappie. However, anything more than 2 pounds is considered a trophy.
Lake Champlain is home to both black and white crappie. The shallows of Lake Champlain can be great places to catch slabs during and before they spawn.
The best place to launch is at the south end of the lake.
State record: 4 lbs., 14 oz. E. L. Blackstock Lake Conner 1967
Virginia has a warm climate and long summers that provide excellent crappie fishing. It is also home to plenty of water, making it a great place to fish for trophy slabs. Crappie thrives in Virginia, from the Chick River tidal areas to the inland lakes or rivers.
Buggs Island Lake (Kerr Reservoir).
Kerr Reservoir, 48,900 acres of crappie paradise, is possibly the best spot in the state for crappie fishing.
The reservoir is a great habitat, with friendly weather. It produces countless 1 to 2-pound fish. 4-pound monsters are not uncommon in this area.
Smith Mountain Lake
Clear, uncluttered, and free from brush and downed trees, Smith Mountain Lake’s key to success is a good fish finder.
It will hold crappie if you can find a cover or brush pile that is suitable. This has been the case for some incredible slabs in the past.
Chickahominy Lake, surrounded by cypresses and aquatic vegetation is a great spot to get spring slabs.
Chick Lake, covering 1,230 acres, is an excellent source for fat crappie year after year.
State record: 4 lbs., 8 oz. John W. Smart Lake Washington 1956
Washington is home to black crappie. Many lakes in Washington have stable populations of what is locally called calico and strawberry bass.
The 22,138 acres of deepwater Lake Washington have required solid electronics. Finding the black crappie in this area is not an easy task!
Once they do, they are more likely to attend school in large numbers and it is easy for them to pull slab after slab out of the water.
Remember that summer fishing pressure can be very high and Gene Coulon park can become very crowded as a launch point.
Silver Lake is better known for crappie than bass, so I prefer it for early-season slabs.
It is uniformly shallow and heats up quickly in spring. This gives you a spawn that’s quite early than what you will find elsewhere in Washington.
Although crappie quality may vary from year to year a little, Potholes Reservoir is an irreplaceable spot for most of the year.
The minimum size of 9 inches and the creel limit to 25 fish keep the population healthy even in low water levels. This reservoir is a top-notch general fishery.
State record: 4 lb., 5 oz. Leonard Edgell, Meathouse Fork 1972
James Walker, West Virginia’s Central Fisheries biologist, should know if you find any water body that does not contain crappie from the Mountain State.
However, crappie harvests are not consistent year-to-year due to cooler winters and colder water. He explains that many anglers target crappie and are very successful… However, this requires getting out in the spring. Early spring temperatures are not always steady so anglers must be able to recognize the opportunities for crappie. It is important to be flexible to adapt to the changing conditions to catch crappie in lakes.
Bluestone Lake is steady in a state that slab hunting can be difficult due to fluctuations in water quality and temperature.
Bluestone is often one of the first to see the spawning in West Virginia. It’s usually reached as soon as the water reaches the mid-50s.
Stonecoal is kayak- and canoe-friendly due to its horsepower limitations and wave rider ban.
Stonecoal is a great place to hunt crappie using a paddle. It’s also much less pressured than Stonewall Jackson Lake.
Stonewall Jackson Lake
Stonewall Jackson has plenty of shallows and standing timbers and stumps. There is also plenty of crappie in the spring.
Be aware, however, that water temperatures can vary dramatically around the spawn and even in different parts of the lake.
State record: 4 lbs., 8 oz. Gile Flowage, 1967
Both white and black crappie are native to Wisconsin, but the latter prefer Wisconsin’s lower temperatures and longer winters. Although pike and walleye may be the main focus, crappie is under pressure and easy to catch in the hard water.
Namakagon’s spring season is when the lake’s clear waters begin to heat up and the fishing on the north side heats. This brings out the big slabs, some measuring over 15 inches.
If the ice is thick enough to allow for winter crappie, keep your eyes open for them.
Shawano Lake has shallows filled with a brush that attracts crappie predictable. This is a great spot to get the edges of slabs.
Crappie is usually between 10 and 12 inches in size, but there are bigger fish out there for those who angle with care.
Troy Peterson, a local guide will tell you that Roberts Lake is crucial to know.
“Straight from the Wild Rose is the reed bed…Right there’s a steep falloff. The dropoff is from cabbage to reeds and up to 20 feet. You can fish the edges of the reeds at night, and then you can go deeper when it gets brighter. You won’t see them move during the day so make sure you search 9-12 feet of water to find the school.
State record: 2 lbs., 7 oz., Troy Schnepper, Boysen Reservoir, 2012
Wyoming has harsh winters almost every year. This makes it difficult for crappie to grow as well in Wyoming’s more temperate climates. However, crappie is a great choice for ice fishing and they’re always on the menu during the winter.
It’s well worth the trip to the ice because of the generous creel limit (50 fish) and the trophy lengths of 12 inches and more.
Lake Absarraca, as you might expect from the presence of trout in it, has water that is a little too cool to be suitable for large crappie.
Black crappie can still survive in this area, but it’s difficult to catch them unless you can time the spawn perfectly.
Although Sloan’s Lake is not a hot spot for crappie, it can produce slabs if the water temperature is right.
Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department says that the state is the best place in Wyoming to catch crappie. They report that the white crappie range from 9 to 11 inches.
The average length of slabs in Glendo is 8.6 inches for white crappie or 8.8 inches for black crappie. However, these numbers depend on water levels and winters as well as the amount of shad each spring.
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