Crappies are a popular target for anglers in many states in the U.S. These panfish are found in rivers, lakes, reservoirs and ponds and can be caught in the spring and summer months from shore or from a boat and through the ice in the cold winter months. Crappies have an excellent sweet tasting flesh and they can be caught through a variety of methods using different types of bait.
Offer a variety of baits to a crappie. Crappies are fond of live minnows which are hooked about 18 inches below a bobber, but they will also go after jigs, tubes, crankbaits and grubs. Catch crappie by suspending baits a foot off the bottom while in a boat or by casting from shore and retrieving the lure slowly.
Set the hook lightly when targeting crappie. Remember that crappies are nicknamed "papermouths" because they have an extremely soft membrane around their jaws. Avoid setting the hook with so much force that it rips this tissue and allows the injured fish to escape.
Fish shallow coves and near inlets and adjacent swamps for crappie in the spring time. During this time crappies are looking for warmer water and the shallow water is heated by the sun to a higher temperature than the deeper water is. Crappies are breeding and spawning in the early spring and the males are very aggressive defending their territory, making them likely to attack any bait that comes into their area. Fish the same places in the fall as you did in the spring as crappies will once again be looking for water that is a bit warmer.
Go to the deeper waters in the hot summer months as the crappie move there to avoid the heat. Fish near shade and docks since crappie may be there to get out of the heat of the day. Fishing for crappies in the summer is more difficult but if you have a fish finder you can locate large schools of them from your boat and catch large numbers of them.
Move around while ice fishing until you find a school of crappies. Again, a fish finder makes this task much easier but without one it becomes necessary to stay on the move, drilling many holes until the crappies start to bite. Use small to medium shiners set just off the bottom on your tip-ups or once the crappies have been located drill a hole with your auger and use small jigs tipped with bits of shiners to catch crappie with your ice-fishing rod.