Who doesn’t love getting into a mess of crappie and just tearing them up? Usually, you know from the second your line hits the water whether or not you’re in them, and when you’re in them, you can practically sit there all day. Whether you’re in it for a trophy slab for the wall or just a big mess of fish to take back home and fry up, there are places around the country that offer some of the best crappie fishing you’ll ever experience.
Grenada Lake, Mississippi
|Crappie is one of the most sought after panfish in North America.
You’ll find Grenada Lake at the top of just about any list of top crappie places. It’s not uncommon at all for people to pull two- to three-pounders out just about all day. With over 36,000 acres of water and a bunch of feeder creeks, you’ll be hard pressed to find a place where you won’t catch your limit. The town of Grenada has plenty of places nearby to sleep or to park your RV, and if you want some guidance, you can find a number of chartered guides to really get you where the fish are biting.
Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee
|Crappie Maxx Camo Fishing Line
Reelfoot Lake is overall a pretty shallow lake, and it’s got a good history of crappie fishing. Up until 2003, it was the only legal lake that allowed commercial crappie fishing. Commercial fishers would catch crappie for local restaurants. The crappie really come on in the first week of April. You’ll find a good number of locals who like to troll the lake, but there are plenty of options for those who like to sit in one place, too. With lots of stumps, you may snag some, and that’s why many of the locals recommend 10-pound test fishing line, but the heavier-pound test can help you land some of the larger crappie, too. The lake is loaded with fishing (and hunting) resorts, and you can choose from any number of chartered guides to get you around the lake.
Lake Talquin, Florida
|Lake Talquin Quincy Florida from a Kayak. photo credit:Attribution: #KenFL74
Florida is more than just saltwater fishing. With freshwater lakes scattered all throughout the state, you’ll find plenty of hungry crappie, too. It’s technically a reservoir, but it’s well known for its crappie fishing. In fact, the state’s record black crappie (3-pound, 13 ¼-ounce) was pulled from Lake Talquin. Because the water generally stays pretty warm in Florida, the crappie fishing is good most of the winter, from January until April, when the crappie start spawning. Lake Talquin has a 10-inch minimum on its crappie, which helps ensure that you’ll catch a few slabs while you’re there. Just west of Tallahassee, there’s plenty of nearby lodging and camping.
Patoka Lake, Indiana
In southern Indiana, Patoka Lake is one of Indiana’s largest at 8,800 acres. Because it’s a reservoir and was made by damming off the Patoka River, you’ll find lots of submerged stumps and other brush, which the crappie love, and which locals say makes fishing for crappie year-round a breeze. If you’re more into the warm weather, April is a great time to get on the water. There are dozens of creek arms throughout Patoka, and you’ll find that each one has plenty of crappie. Patoka is a popular location in southern Indiana, so you’ll find any number of guides and boat rentals that will be happy to take you to some hot spots.
Oologah Lake, Oklahoma
Oologah Lake is popular for a lot of things—sailing, boating, swimming, hunting—but it’s also one of the top crappie lakes in the country. Like the others, it’s a reservoir, so you’ll find plenty of submerged brush and lots of creek arms where the water gets a little shallower. Crappie tend to love minnows here (although they usually do anywhere), and especially around those brush piles. In the early part of the year, you’ll find them at about 10 or 15 feet, before they move a little closer. Bank fishing is actually really popular here, especially once they’re done spawning.
Learn more about crappie fishing at Bass Pro 1Source.