What Baits & Lures Are Best for Crappie Fishing?

by Anthony Potenza
Fishing for crappie on a small pond.

Fishing for crappie on a small pond.

Crappie are a freshwater gamefish found in many lakes and ponds across North America. Related to sunfish, many people consider crappie the best-tasting freshwater fish. Because of their diverse diets, you can catch crappie in a variety of ways using baits and artificial lures with light tackle.

Night Crawlers

A tempting morsel for crappie.

Anglers often use night crawlers, the oldest standby for catching crappie with live bait. Attach a night crawler to a small hook with a line connected to a floating bobber. This is considered the "lazy man's method" because you just throw out the line, find a comfortable place to sit and wait.

Spinner Bait

Various spinner baits.

Spinner bait refers to any one of a family of underwater fishing lures that receive their name from one or more metal blades shaped to spin like a propeller when the lure is retrieved, creating varying degrees of flash and vibration that mimics small fish.

Banjo Minnow

A banjo minnow is an artificial lure made to look and swim like a real fish, mimicking its darting motion or imitating the spastic movement of a dying minnow.

Crank Baits

A typical crank bait.

A crank bait is a minnow-like lure with a plastic or metal lip that causes the lure to dive under water during the retrieve. This lure appeals to crappies because they like to attack moving prey.

Topwater Lures

A topwater lure with a slanted head.

Topwater lures are simply various lures that float on the water. Those with slanted heads are particularly effective because they make a gurgling sound when retrieved.

Lead Heads

A lead head.

A lead head is a small, weighted hook with a plastic tube body that usually has an undulating tail. The bodies come in many patterns, colors and sizes and are fished with a slow, steady retrieve.


A minnow is a natural bait that crappies are fond of.

Live minnows are a prime food for crappie. Hook the minnow through the lips and cast it out, letting it swim naturally.

When to Fish

Dawn and dusk are the best times for catching crappie.

By day, crappie tend to be less active and concentrate around weed beds or submerged objects, such as logs and boulders. They like to feed at dawn and dusk, moving in closer to shore.

About the Author

Anthony Potenza began writing in 1985 as a publicity and staff writer for 20th Century-Fox Film Corp. He has written a number of articles online, focusing on topics such as food and wine, photography, fly fishing and personal finance. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University.

Photo Credits

  • Man Fishing at a Lake image by Chuck Alexander from Fotolia.com