How to Fish for Crappie in Ontario
Spring (Start of Season)
Crappie are a rite of spring for many anglers, and for good reason – they are scrappy on light line, are relatively easy to catch and they taste delicious in the pan. Look for shallow cover for pre and post-spawn fish. Things to keep an eye out for are old wooden docks, cane beds, stumps and trees and thick weed beds.
Suspending a small micro tube jig under a float is your best bet to entice these fish, and tipping your jig with a small piece of worm or minnow can bring better results if the fish are extremely finicky. A tip to keep in mind – a crappies’ eyes are on the top of its head so a short length of line between float and bait will keep the lure in the fishes strike zone.
After the spawn, the crappie will seek out deeper water and the schools of fish that occurred during the spring will disperse throughout the lake. Summer fish will now relate to structure in water from six to 20 feet deep. The one variable to keep an eye out for is healthy green weed beds and feeding shelves on the lake bottom. Schools of baitfish will also congregate hungry crappie, so keeping an eye on your fishfinder will often be the trick to locating fish.
There are a number of lures that work well during the summer, namely small, deep-diving crankbaits, micro jigs on slip float setups, and small spoons that can be vertically jigged. Once you catch a fish, throwing out a marker buoy will help you stay in the area that is holding fish.
Crappies movements in the fall are much like in the summer. Fish will continue to hold deep, yet they will begin to suspend off of prime structure areas in the general vicinity of baitfish schools. Summer presentations are your best lure options, but the general rule in the fall is to fish slower.
Tossing a crankbait while barely turning the reel handle or jigging a spoon with 10 to 20 second pauses in between will entice these semi-active fish to hit. Cloudy, windy days seem to bring fish higher up in the water column, while sunny, bright days will push the finicky crappie deeper.