Crappie Fishing In California For 2024
Guide to fishing for black and white crappie.
How To Fish For Crappie In California
Crappie, esteemed for their delectable flesh and spirited fights, present an enticing challenge for anglers of all experience levels. These schooling fish offer an array of opportunities for catching crappie throughout the year. Understanding their habits and preferred environments is key to success. Many California lakes offer both black crappie and white crappie.
Best Way To Catch Crappie
Use light tackle, with 4 to 6-pound line and small hooks (#2 or #4) for live bait. Small crappie jigs are also productive and come in a wide range of colors to work in varied water clarity. Experiment with colors until you find the one that works best that day. For drifting or trolling, 1.2 miles per hour seems to be an ideal starting point. For jigging, experiment with very slow, to aggressive action.
2024 Crappie Fishing Options
Black crappie, also known as specks, are typically found in deeper, cooler waters. They are known for their distinctive black mottled patterns and their preference for submerged vegetation or woody cover. Anglers targeting black crappie often use techniques such as vertical jigging, casting with small jigs or minnow imitations, or fishing with live bait near structures. The current California state record for black crappie stands at over 4 pounds
White crappie, also known as silver perch, are known for their silvery coloration and vertical stripes. They are more tolerant of warm water and can be found in shallower areas with less cover. White crappie are often found near submerged brush, fallen trees, or rocky shorelines. Anglers targeting white crappie in California lakes often use similar techniques as with black crappie, such as jigging or using live bait. The current California state record for white crappie is well over 4 pounds.
Locating Schools Of Crappie In California
Generally speaking, warm-water lakes with submerged brush create the ideal environment for crappie. In California, New Melones Lake, Lake Berryessa and Clear Lake are among the best opportunities for finding great crappie holes this year. Other lakes in the state also have nice populations of crappie. Using a fish finder is the best way to locate crappie. They tend to be school up near brush (or other cover), and tend to stack vertically on the fish finder screen. Without a fish finder, use the old-fashion method of trial and error in areas with submerged brush.
Spring emerges as the prime season for crappie enthusiasts in California, as these cunning fish engage in their annual spawning runs. During this time, they exhibit heightened activity levels, making them more susceptible to angling efforts. Crappies are particularly fond of cover, seeking refuge among submerged brush, stumps, or artificial structures. These structures provide shelter and ambush points, making them ideal hunting grounds for crappie anglers.
Top Crappie Fishing Techniques
Still-fishing, casting, trolling, and drifting are all viable methods for enticing these elusive fish. Each approach requires careful consideration of factors such as water depth, structure, and prevailing weather conditions. Anglers must adapt their tactics accordingly.
In the early hours of dawn, crappies often venture closer to the surface in search of prey. As the sun ascends in the sky, they gradually descend to depths of 5 to 10 feet or more, depending on water clarity and environmental variables. Midday finds them seeking refuge in deeper waters, often retreating to depths of 25 feet or beyond. However, as dusk approaches, crappies may once again ascend towards shallower water depths, drawn by the fading light and the promise of nocturnal feeding opportunities.
Night Fishing For Crappie
Fishing for crappie at night presents a particularly enticing prospect for crappie enthusiasts, with the cover of darkness often enhancing their feeding instincts. Warm-water lakes, in particular, offer fertile grounds for nocturnal angling excursions year round. Crappie fishing lights, strategically positioned to attract insects and smaller baitfish, can serve as beacons of opportunity for opportunistic crappies prowling in the darkness. Live minnows or crappie jigs are the top producers at night. At night, anchor over deeper water nearby brushy shorelines and allow the crappie lights to draw the fish to you.
Ice Fishing For Crappie
When the cold winter weather sets in and the lakes in California freeze over, it's time to dig out the ice fishing gear. Crappie fishing through the ice can make a fun day for anglers of all ages. Visit the California Ice Fishing page for details.
Bait For Crappie
When it comes to bait selection, crappies exhibit a voracious appetite for a variety of offerings. Live bait, especially minnows, are often the best bait for crappie. In addition, worms and crickets are perennial favorites among many anglers, enticing bites with their natural movements and scents. Artificial lures, including jigs, spinners, and soft plastics, also hold considerable appeal, mimicking the appearance and behavior of crappie's preferred prey.
Where To Find Crappie
As for the question of where to catch crappie, the answer lies in their penchant for structure and cover. California lakes, ponds, rivers, and reservoirs all provide potential habitats for these versatile fish. Anglers should focus their efforts on areas with ample cover, such as submerged vegetation, fallen trees, and rocky outcrops. By carefully assessing the aquatic landscape and employing effective fishing techniques, anglers can unlock the secrets of crappie fishing and enjoy bountiful harvests year-round.
Crappie Fishing Video
2024 Best Crappie Fishing Lakes In The State
Crappie Lakes In Northern California
You'll find good schools of crappie at major lakes in Northern CA like Bucks Lake, Clear Lake, Folsom Lake, Lake Berryessa, Lake Combie, Lake Mendocino, Lake Oroville, New Bullards Bar Reservoir, New Hogan Lake, Lake Shasta, Trinity Lake and Whiskeytown Lake. Crappie populate many other smaller waters. It's always worth a few casts to see if crappie inhabit the water you're on. Clear Lake holds the state record for white crappie while New Hogan Lake holds the state record for black crappie.
Crappie Lakes In Central California
Bass Lake, Eastman Lake, Hensley Lake, Lake Don Pedro, Lake Cachuma, Lake Camanche, Lake Del Valle, Lake Kaweah, Lake McClure, Lake Sonoma, Lake Tulloch, Lake Nacimiento, Millerton Lake, New Hogan Lake, New Melones Lake, Pine Flat Lake, San Luis Reservoir, San Pablo Reservoir, Shaver Lake, Success Lake and The California Delta all have nice populations of crappie as do some of the smaller bodies of water in Central CA.
Crappie Lakes In Southern California
The warmer waters of the lower elevation lakes in Southern CA like Barrett Lake, Big Bear Lake, Canyon Lake, Castaic Lake, Diamond Valley Lake, El Capitan Lake, Lake Cahuilla, Lake Elsinore, Lake Hemet, Lake Hodges, Lake Perris, Lake Piru, Lake Sutherland, Littlerock Reservoir, Lower Otay Lake, Pyramid Lake, San Vicente Reservoir, Silverwood Lake and Skinner Reservoir have healthy populations of crappie.
World record: 6 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 4 lbs 1 oz
World record: 5 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 4 lbs 8 oz
Click the images and links above for species details.
Top 5 crappie fishing lures for California this year
Crappie jigs work well in water from 2' to 40' deep, and are the most popular artificial lure for crappie ever. When crappie are shallow, spinners, small crankbaits and underspins are the often very productive. As they move deeper, spoons are among the top producers if the crappie are active. Review details for the best crappie rig options. Understanding the seasonal movements of crappie can enhance your chances of using these lures in the ideal locations.
The state record black crappie came from New Hogan Lake.
Clear Lake produced the state record white crappie.
Check out crappie information, by state.
The life cycle of crappie.
The more you know about crappie, the easier it will be to locate and catch them in California lakes and rivers. Visit the crappie fishing page for details about their seasonal migrations.