Whenever spring is upon us, that means crappie will start to head into the warmer shallows and be intent on filling up after a slower winter season.
Spring is the easiest time to catch crappie because of those two things, plus their need to spawn around mid-season. You must, however, have a plan and the right gear. Fortunately, those two work hand in hand.
Crappie is moving to shallower water, so you want to use shallow diving lures. The fish are looking for easy cover to hunt, hide and spawn, so you need to make sure the lures you use can take a beating, and you must know the cover your lure will encounter.
Finally, there is the issue of visibility, which in many cases is only a few feet on a good day. That means your lures must attract attention. Here are the best spring crappie lures.
Blakemore Road Runner
The Road Runner is the basis for one of the best crappie baits. The Bulk Head Hook with a blade is also one of the most versatile crappie rigs you will ever use.
Available in multiple colors and sizes, you can buy them individually or as part of a set or kit. With Road Runner Kits, you usually get grubs, the other key part of the lure.
To fish the Road Runner with grub, you can use a drop and flutter technique, jig it off a dock or boat or retrieve it at a moderate speed and let the crappie catch it.
Every type of fishing has its mainstays. The Mepps Aglia is one of the core fishing lures that guarantee you will hook crappie if you find one.
The metallic body and blade create both motion and noise that attract fish. Add multiple colors that you can match to water conditions, and you have a spinner most crappie cannot resist.
Reel the Aglia spinner in slowly or buzz it over cover. If there are crappie lurking, they will give the lure a serious once over. The Aglia spinner can also be used for jigging if fishing from a boat.
Southern Pro Lil Hustler
As far as Lil Hustlers go, the best deal is the kit, which comes with multiple grub bodies and the jigs to fish them. The Lil Hustler as bait is one of the most effective if you can position yourself on top of or near schooling crappie.
In terms of technique, drop and flutter and jigging work well, as does an intermittent retrieval, including bringing it in at various speeds.
You will have to experiment and see what colors work best at your fishing hole, and you should also be prepared for the most effective color-changing, especially when crappie get into spawning mode.
Rapala Fat Rap
The Rapala Fat Rap has everything crappie could want in terms of looks and motion. Many anglers will choose a Fat Rap as their “go-to” if they can only bring one lure for crappie fishing. A multi-level diver, it is easy to position and retrieve a Fat Rap above cover and vegetation, increasing the odds the crappie will notice.
The most effective color seems to be silver. The Fat Rap comes in different colors and color schemes, but silver with a crimson throat seems to be what crappie like best. Retrieve it fast if the water is warm or slower if it is spawning time.
The Rat-L-Trap is another key player with spring crappie fishing. Its motion is tight and slightly erratic, and the noise it produces is guaranteed to grab the attention of anything in the vicinity.
Another benefit is that you can control the depth it dives by how fast or slow you retrieve it.
Rat-L-Traps can are fished in several different ways. Retrieving it quickly and letting it drop to the bottom is effective.
So is retrieving it fast and then letting it drop for a few feet before starting it again. The key with this lure is to use its natural noise making and motion to attract attention.
Cotton Cordell Gay Blade
The Cotton Cordell Gay Blade is a very effective spinnerbait that uses erratic diving, a tight motion, and a rattle to attract attention.
The most effective size for crappie is usually a quarter ounce, and it comes in multiple colors.
The retrieval strategy is the same as the Rat-L-Trap. Bring it in at different depths and speeds, let it hover and dive or let it flutter to the bottom before hauling it up a few feet.
No matter how you present this lure, if the crappie is the least interested in feeding, they will repeatedly attack it.
Luhr Jensen Hot Shot
To master the Hot Shot, you need to practice and experiment. Its motion is slightly erratic, which means you have to get to know the lure before you can accurately predict where it will go or how it will look.
Available in multiple colors and sizes, you can mix and match to suit the fishing environment you find yourself in.
As a lure, it can do a deep dive or, if retrieved slowly and steadily, be lowered to the desired depth and held at that depth by a consistent retrieval. Its drop-back treble hook ensures that if a fish strikes, you will likely hook it.
Z-Man Grubz is unique in that no matter how you fish them, you get a different look. Put them on a shaky head jig, and you have a tail that will be in constant motion.
Reel it in at any speed, and the tail is unpredictable, except that it will move quickly and constantly.
Crappie love them because of its tail motion, whether you are jigging them, bringing them in with a steady retrieval, or letting them flutter to the bottom.
Available in multiple colors and sizes ranging from less than an inch to more than 3 inches, the Grubz ensures you can entice crappie no matter their mood.
Strike King Mini King
Spinnerbaits work on the concept of fast action, and flashes of colors will provoke most fish into a reaction strike.
The fact this lure works with bass, pike, sunfish, perch, walleye, etc., tells the story. If you bring it in through a school of crappie, it has virtually no chance of being left alone.
Retrieval speeds vary. Early on, a slower retrieval is smarter. As the water warms, increasing the speed will provoke that reaction strike.
One truism about the Mini King: When you fish it, you need to be prepared to have it attacked by any fish in the vicinity.
The best crappie lures for spring all do the same thing: They attract attention and provide motion for the crappie to key on quickly.
If you use any of the lures on this list, you will gain an immense advantage. You still have to fish it correctly, but these lures are so good that they can cover a multitude of sins and still be effective.