How can I catch bigger crappie?

I can usually pull in quite a few Crappie when I’m out but I’d really like to catch the “big one”. Is there anything that I can do to increase the size of the Crappie I catch?

First of all, what do you consider a “big one?“  Since most Crappie tend to weigh under 1 ½ pounds, anything bigger is usually considered a great catch.  If, however, you’re looking for something over 2 pounds, which for most fishermen would definitely be considered a trophy, where you’re fishing is going to be the most important factor to consider.   Depending on where you live, you just may have to do a some traveling.  There are many lakes and reservoirs that have regulations that will encourage larger (in terms of size) Crappie populations.  To find out where these are, however, you’re going to have to do a little research.  You’ll want to start by contacting the fisheries in your home state or the wherever you’re willing to travel.   The internet is also a great resource.  Try searching for information on areas where large Crappies have been caught previously.  You’ll also want to avoid overpopulated lakes and rivers.  Quite often, the largest Crappie are caught in wildlife management areas or refuges and national forests.   When you’ve found the area you want to fish, concentrate on the underwater spots that are a little isolated such as underwater logs and treetops.  Most anglers will stick to visible cover.  Larger Crappies prefer deeper water where they’re less likely to feel threatened.  If you’re pulling in a lot of smaller fish, move.  Large Crappies don’t usually hang out with the small one.  Experimenting with various lures, baits and how you’re presenting could yield a larger catch.  Fish become somewhat used to the norm and tossing in something a little different than what everyone else is using just might be the trigger that will land the big fish.  Crankbaits, for example, seem to have been proven to pull in larger Crappie than minnows or jigs.  They’re a little heavier and will allow you to stay farther away from your target eliminating the possibility of spooking a big one.  Using sinking and/or diving crank baits in the midsummer, fall and winter will work best on suspended Crappie in deep water.

Dan Eggertsen is a fellow crappie fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on crappie fishing since 2004.

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