Crappie are a great springtime target, but to reliably catch them in good numbers, you’ll want to use each and every one of the best spring crappie fishing tips you can learn. Check out these five top tips we learned from a real crappie pro, Brad Hawthorne of Hawthorne’s Guide Service, who launches his Lund boat to start targeting crappie just as soon as the ice melts away.
Fish right after ice out
Right after ice out in deeper lakes, start by crappie fishing in the same areas of the basin where they were holding through the winter, and use your electronics to spot schools of fish. “I love that you can spot schools of all sizes suspended in different depths right after ice out,” Hawthorne says, “and 90-percent of the time those fish will bite.”
Keep it light
In deep waters, nothing beats a good old slip bobber rig. Hawthorne suggests using a quarter-ounce bullet sinker over a #12 or #14 ant swivel, then two to four feet of four-pound fluorocarbon leader. That may sound light, but Hawthorne notes that early spring fish can get “very touchy” and may avoid biting on heavier leaders.
Follow the sun
In shallow lakes, prospect in sun-warmed coves. The crappie will often move into very shallow areas just one to five feet deep long before they spawn, just to warm up.
Use a water bobber
When crappie get spooky, you have to get very stealthy. Even your bobber can make a difference, and using a clear “water bobber” that’s half-full of water can help.
Reuse your winter lures
Consider using the very same lures you did during ice season. A tinsel jig or a sixteenth-ounce spoon chandeliered with maggots or wax worms can be very effective when spring crappie fishing.
Along with those tips, Hawthorne points out that being on the right boat is another key to success. “I have the 2025 Impact XS Lund fishing boat,” he explains. “It gives me a ton of deck space and three pedestal seat bases up front, clean power to my Mega 360 Imaging, and the ability to control everything from the bow. I can sit right next to my clients, watch the electronics, and put them right on the fish. It makes a big difference.”