Ice is finally off the lakes, and the Crappies are staging up for the spawn, but most importantly, they are there to fatten up and feed. My name is Goose Gutzman, and I am a Professional Crappie Guide in Minnesota. 

Fishing Equipment Choices

In this article, we are going to talk about catching Prespawn Crappies. The equipment you will need for catching them isn’t complicated; I love a super smooth reel and my favorite is a Viper X 1000 from Piscifun. I like using the Hi-Vis line because it’s easier to see, and when it’s windy, you can see if you have a big loop between your rod and bobber. Next, you need a bobber, and there are many options, but I personally like an “Adjusta Bubble Bobber” and a small jig head, and that can be a CrystalEyes 5mm tungsten or a 1/100 Northland Bro bug.

Piscifun Viper X spinning reel

The reason I start out with a smaller presentation is that the water temperature is very cold, yet at around 37 to 42 degrees, so you have to keep your bait size under 2 inches. The types of plastics can be overwhelming, but in my experience, anything that mimics a small minnow, a freshwater shrimp, or a bloodworm. As the water temperature increases to over 52 degrees, it’s time to up the size of your bait; I’ll go up to a 2.5-inch shad style bait curly tail or even a longer style bloodworm. 

How to Find Pre-Spawn Crappies

Now that we covered the presentation of finding the Crappies, you can find them over a basin adjacent to a spawn area or in shallow mud bays like a man-made channel or marina, or mud flat. They can also be found on weed flats with the greenest weeds you can find, preferably close to deep basins. I’ll use my trolling motor to enter these areas in order not to spook them out, and I’ll cast long distances all over the flat to make contact with them; you can find them with electronics, but not always, so I tend to fan cast. Once you locate them, make sure not to move in on them. Believe it or not, they are very spooky, and it’s important to cast them from a distance. My Viper X casts a country mile, and to me, when reeling my bobber back, it’s very important to have a smooth retrieve, and the Viper X has that. 

Reasons Why Crappies Stop Biting

Okay, you located them, and you’re catching them, and all of a sudden, they stop biting. There are two things that typically happen. One is a northern pike moved in or a Loon, and if the wind dies down and if that happens you have to switch to a plain hook and minnow that’s another important thing to remember is to grab a half scoop of minnows just in case they don’t want plastic, or it’s flat calm out.

So your choice of rods is something you have to consider as well. I like a long pole, but it’s your preference, and my suggestion is to use at least a 7-foot or longer pole because it helps to get the slack out of your line, especially on windy days. I like a rod that’s a little stiffer for casting a bobber, lets you sling it farther, and remember to always stay back away from the Crappies. You will find this will definitely help you put more fish topside and also always practice selective Harvesting; a 12-inch and under Crappie is a good size fish for eating; letting the big fish over 12 inches helps keep the good genetics in the lake.

Goose Gutzman catches pre-spawn crappies

So Pre-Spawn crappies can be found in the areas mentioned, and don’t forget to introduce a kid to fishing and Have fun on the Water!


Goose Gutzman

Goose Gutzman

My name is Goose Gutzman, and I am a Professional Crappie Guide in Minnesota.



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April 08, 2024 — Service Piscifun
Tags: Fishing Tips

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