How to Catch Crappie on Reelfoot Lake

Another technique that works very well is to rig one, or two marabou jigs below and float, and work them in with short jerks. Best colors are usually yellow and chartreuse.Suitable spinners include, but are not limited to, the Mepps Aglias, Black Fury,Panther-Martins, Roostertails and Blue Fox spinners. Good crank-baits are the smaller sizes of the Big O, Fat Rap, Heddon’s Worm, and little Minnows. Soft plastic jigs can be deadly on Reelfoot crappie. Some of the better ones are the smaller sizes of the Sassy Shad, Cabela’s Crappie Critters, Bassasins, Little Fishies, and tube jigs.

And, Reelfoot is almost tailor-made for fly fishing. Some of the best patterns for crappie are Clouser Minnows, Green, Chartruese and yellow Streamers, the Black Dace, small Puglisi-Style shad patterns, etc…Anything that resembles a minnow will get strikes.

If the crappies decide to go on strike, one way to make them active again is to toss out a line baited with a live minnow under a float. Then, using another rod with a spinner, crank-bait or soft plastic jig, cast out beyond  the float, and reel the lure in rapidly, passing as close as possible to the minnow. This makes a predator fish think a smaller upstart is stealing its potential meal. It is an irresistible insult.

Another trick is to rig a marabou jig below a topwater lure, and work them both in. To a crappie, it appears that an unwary fish is stalking another one on the surface. It drives predators inane…You can increase your stakes with minnows by taking a pair of fingernail clippers, and clipping the lower tailfin of the minnow slightly. This makes it swim erratically, and attracts crappie like crazy.

Remember, crappie move around a lot most of the time. The best time of year for crappie fishing on Reelfoot is spring, fall, and winter. Since the lake is shallow, even in summer, suspending crappie are easier to find. The lake offers lots of structure with both open waters, and heavy cover. This also makes the lake famous for its huge snake population.

On any trip to Reelfoot Lake, be sure to check the local regulations, and have proper safety equipment. Being ill-prepared can ruin an otherwise memorable trip.

Happy fishing.

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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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