What Is The Best Live Bait For Crappie Fishing?

Crappie isn’t the most exciting thing in the world to catch but they are fairly easy to get and they do taste great. There are a number of things you can use to get them and in this post, I’m going to be talking about the best live bait to catch crappie.

The best live bait to catch crappie is a small shad colored minnow. You can catch them on pretty much anything but this is what I’ve had the best results with throughout the year. The size you’ll want to use will be somewhere between 2 and 3 inches long. All you have to do is hook them through the bottom lip and out the top and you’re good to go.

Like I was saying, you can use worms, insects, and artificial lures to catch crappie but I like a small minnow because it’ll give the most realistic action in the water. It’s what the fish are used to eating and it’s also one of the easier ways to fish because you don’t really need to do much to give the bait action. Continue reading or watch the video below for the full details on how to catch live bait and the setup you’ll want to use to catch crappie.


How To Easily Catch Live Bait

The simple solution would be to go down to your local bait shop and pick up some live minnows. I’ll do that every so often but the majority of the time I’ll just go out and get some myself. You’ll need three things to catch minnows:

  1. A net.
  2. The right spot.
  3. Some bread.

Obviously, you’re going to need a net to scoop up the fish. You can try using your hands but good luck. Any fishing net with small holes will do but you can also make a homemade net that can work better. You’ll just need to get any sort of net that has small holes and attach them to two sticks. It’ll be much bigger than a normal net and give you a better shot at catching them. You can see what I mean in this video here:


You’ll then want to find the right area where they’ll actually be. The best spot is going to be where they could be trapped. If it’s just open water they’ll have places to go but it’ll be way easier if you can find a spot where they’re all pooled up and can’t go anywhere. Look for spots where rocks, trees, or roads are blocking them from getting past.

The final thing to do is toss them a bit of bait and start scooping. Any sort of bread will work fine and you’ll want to use it to attract them to a single spot. When they start to feed on the bread you’ll want to slowly walk towards them with your net in the water so you don’t spook them. Give it some time, let them get used to the net, and slowly scoop them up.

What Gear You Should Use

This isn’t an exact science but the ideal fishing rod/reel you’d want to use would be a light spinning rod. They aren’t big fish and they don’t fight a whole lot so you’ll want a light rod so you can feel something bite your hook. I like using a spinning rod because they’re so simple to use and nothing ever goes wrong with them.

The fishing line you’ll want to use would be something like a 4 lb test fluorocarbon. You’ll want fluorocarbon because it sinks (braid/mono float) and will give you the most realistic action through the water. You don’t need a heavy line either because they’re pretty small and they don’t fight super hard.

You’ll then want to put a size #6 circle hook on the end of your line, use a small float, and toss on a small split shot weight. I like using a circle hook because it normally hooks the fish in the side of the mouth so it’s easier to take out. The distance you put the float from your hook will all depend on the depth you’re fishing. The little weight will be around 6-8 inches above the hook and will help the bait sink down and give it a bit better action.

How To Fish For Crappie

Crappie is ambush predators so they’re most likely going to be hiding out and waiting for something to swim by. You’ll want to look for areas of cover (fallen trees, rocks, points) that are out of the current. They’re probably going to be sitting in the calmer water waiting for the current to bring them some food.

Figuring out where they are is the most important thing. If you can do that, catching them will be fairly easy. That’s pretty much the same for any type of fish but once you can do that then they’ll eat whatever you throw them.

All you have to do now is cast around the areas of cover, let your minnow swim around, and give it a light hookset when you see your bobber move. That’s the nice thing about using live bait. It’ll do all the work for you so you can sit back, relax, and wait for something to bite.

It might take a little while to locate them (area and depth) but once you do you’ll have no trouble landing a bunch. Have a little patience, experiment, and then keep doing what works.

Until next time, happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

Want to enter into our fishing gear giveaway? We’ll be doing giveaways on our YouTube channel and all you have to do to enter is click here to subscribe to our channel, like a video, and comment giveaway. More comments = more chances to win.

Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

Recent Posts