Wading For Crappie : Fishing Shallow for Springtime Crappie

Crappie Fishing

Wading For Crappie

Wading for crappie has become a popular way to catch shallow water slabs in the spring. While wading for crappie is not a new phenomenon it certainly is a crappie fishing method that has been catching on through social media and YouTube. It has become a destination of choice for many crappie anglers for both the allure of a new crappie fishing method as well as the effectiveness of wading for crappie in the shallows. Jigging your favorite crappie jig around visible cover, such as brush piles and stumps, is a great way to fill the stringer. Another great way to catch crappie while wading the shallows is to use a small bobber, split-shot and a #6 Aberdeen hook with a crappie minnow. In this article you will learn the best way to catch crappie while wading and where to look for them.

Tips For Catching Crappie By Wading The Shallows

  • Stealth is key when wade fishing for crappie in the shallows. Move slowly and deliberately to keep water disturbance to a minimum 
  • Be sure to fish even the slightest bit of cover. Oftentimes a small stickup is part of a larger bush or tree 
  • Tie off or beach your boat a good ways from where you plan to wade
  • The upper part of the lake will warm earlier. Start away from the dam and move toward it as the weather warms in the spring
  • Use a long pole so you can stay away from the cover so you don’t spook the crappie
  • Many wading crappie anglers use cane poles like the B&M Black Widow
  • Some anglers use minnows for wade fishing, but a good hair jig or soft plastic will make wading a little easier not dealing with a tethered minnow bucket

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Where To Wade For Crappie

Crappie will use creek channels to migrate into shallow water to spawn. Keep this in mind when looking for a place to wade fish for crappie. Locating creeks on your mapping unit you can accurately navigate to places that look barren until you get there. Oftentimes, especially on older lakes, large areas in a bay that a creek dumps into will be silted in. That is until you reach the back side of the bay where the creek is flowing in. These areas are often littered with great cover that will hold crappie in the shallows. Stumps, stake beds and trees that grow along the creek bank when the water is low will offer the perfect crappie cover for spawning in the spring. These creeks are the best place to search for early crappie when wading.

wade fishing for crappie

Be sure to hit each and every piece of cover that you see. Make your way toward the creek channel. These channels will often be visible by the row of trees or stumps lining them. The consistent growth is usually because of the bigger trees still hanging on the longest after the lake was flooded. Ever notice how much bigger trees are that grow along the creek bank? This is because of the water that the trees have access to even during times of drought. It creek also has nutrients that help the trees stay healthy and grow faster. By using this tactic along with your mapping you can quickly locate creek channels. The trees and stumps along these creek channels can be a crappie gold mine. Slowly working your way along these creeks can be very effective for catching crappie while wading the shallows.

Tackle For Wading For Crappie

The tackle used when wade fishing for crappie can be a simple cane pole with a few feet of line attached. The can pole is a popular choice when wade fishing for crappie. The simple crappie cane pole is lightweight and it floats. Having a floating fishing pole when wade fishing for crappie comes in handy when you need to string a fish or retie a hook or crappie jig. A bobber is often used and can be a great tool for probing cover. This is especially true when the fish are being stubborn and you need to leave the bait in front of the crappies’ nose to get it to bite. The bobber will allow you to see the slightest bite and set the hook before the crappie spits out your offering.

A small tackle box comes in handy when wading the shallows for spawning crappie. You are away from the boat and if you break off then a stash of jigs, shot and hooks. Breaking off and having to retie is not as common when wading. This is because you are able to wade over to where the hang up is and work your hook loose. However, I have had to break off mainly because I would rather do that than get wet. Early spring, even when the crappie are ,moving shallow, can often be chilly. For this reason a spool of line can save you a trip back to the boat if you happen to break off in deeper water.

Waders are usually used when wading for crappie. There are some die hards, and I might have been one as a youngster, that will wade without waders. Waders are a personal preference. For those that take their wading seriously you might want to splurge for a nice gore-tex wader. For those like myself that wade for crappie a few days every few years then a low cost wader does just fine. Neoprene does not breathe and is usually the more affordable option. While the water is usually in the upper 50’s it is the air temps that will make you love or hate neoprene. If the air temps are warm then neoprene will be hot and you will sweat like crazy. Keep this in mind.

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Hair Jigs For Crappie  

About Ken McBroom 307 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.

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