When the dogwoods bloom, the crappie are biting. There is a lot of truth in this saying, as dogwood blossoming usually coincides with the spring crappie spawn. It is usually a little earlier in the southern half of the USA. Since the northern half warms later, it delays crappie migration to the shallows by three to four weeks.
While they reside in many bodies of water, certain reservoirs containing thriving populations of these tasty panfish. Various tactics will produce crappie when fish move to the banks to spawn.
Where Do the Fish Go?
Our local waters in Ontario don't lack natural cover. However, those who have this problem should still find artificial fish attractors that are ideal for spawning. Sunken human-made brush piles and boat docks replace the deficiency of natural habitat. This is where a good locator comes in handy.
What Should You Be Looking For?
When the water temperature climbs above 60 degrees, male crappie start sweeping nests. Then the first wave of females arrive to lay eggs at about 62 degrees. This process continues with males guarding the nests as the water climbs to 70 degrees. Party is usually over once the water reaches the temperature of 72 degrees.
Nesting sites are usually along pea gravel banks protected from wind and waves. On lowland lakes with standing timber crappie spawn along the mud or gravel banks with lots of wood cover.
Best Baits For The Spawn
Depending on how clear the water is crappie can spawn anywhere from 6 inches to 20 feet. So having a good variety of baits and sinkers is essential for a successful fishing trip.
Swimbaits like Lady Bandit and Classic in smaller sizes will catch you plenty of spawning crappie, but I love throwing Demountable Diamond Jigs. I can cover more water and find a retrieve I need faster while using pretty much any soft plastic bait. My favorite lure for crappie spawn is 2.5" Larva Lux in Purple Nebula color on red jigs with a red hook.
We also got lots of positive reviews about bright color combinations like green mutant bait and red or orange jig. Any bright color will do. You just need to provoke them to bite.