Thursday, June 20, 2024




Fun to catch and tasty to eat, crappie offers an excellent opportunity for anglers in the late summer and early fall.  There are two species of crappie found in Washington State: the white and black crappie.  Of the two, the black crappie is more commonly found in the Evergreen State.

At this time of year, crappie bite readily, and there are several ways to catch them.  Sometimes, it’s as easy as tipping a small jig with a worm and slowly reeling it three feet behind a bobber.  Other times, it’s not that easy.

One person who targets these fish for a living is Brad Chappell, a full-time guide out of Central Mississippi and the man behind the Crappie Connection channel on YouTube.  He has five specific methods he recommends to catch crappie right now anywhere they are found in the country, including:

      •     Casting to brush piles and retrieving a very small jig (1/16th or 1/32nd ounce in size).  Chappell recommends using a lure called a Bobby Garland Itty Bit jig.

      •     Fish these same small jigs under a slip bobber in front of crappie to trigger strikes.

      •     Troll a crankbait (like a 3-inch Bandit 300) over suspended schools of crappie to trigger a reactive bite. 

      •     Vertically jig two 1/16th ounce jigs from the boat for deep water crappie.

      •     Power Troll a 1/8th or ¼ ounce jig three feet below a two-ounce lead sinker anywhere from 1.2 to 2 miles per hour.  You can combine this technique by trolling another rod with a crank bait.

When people think of crappie, many think of them being anywhere from seven to eleven inches in size, but they get a lot bigger than that.  Washington State’s record white crappie was caught out of Burbank Slough in 1988.  The angler who caught the 2.8-pound fish was Don Benson.  The record black crappie has stood the test of time; a 4.5-pound monster panfish hauled out of Lake Washington by John Smart back in 1956.

One body of water known for big crappie in Eastern Washington is Potholes Reservoir.  Crappies must be at least nine inches long to keep here, and 15-inch crappie weighing well over a pound are not uncommon.  Pete Fisher at MarDon Resort loves to go after these panfish and has specific advice for anglers targeting crappie this time of year.

Pete suggests trolling a #5 Berkley Flicker Shad to locate a school of crappie.  Then, anchor up and use a slip bobber set to a depth matching the school's top. Try Bobby Garland Baby Shads or DS Fry on a 1/32nd-ounce Moon-Eyed jig under that slip bobber for success.

By the way, one great place to catch these fish without a boat is right off the docks at MarDon Resort.  Normally, you have to be a paying guest to fish at the marina, but from September 15 through the morning of September 17, the annual MarDon Marathon Dock Tournament takes place there.  For a $40 entry fee, you can fish as much as you want for crappie (and nine other species of fish) off the docks, and the anglers reeling in the heaviest two fish from any species (including crappie) will walk away with prize money.  You can register for the event at the resort office or through the MarDon Resort website.

Looking for other places to fish for crappie?  Here are some suggestions:


      •     Sprague Lake (Adams/Lincon County)

      •     Moses Lake (Grant County)

      •     Banks Lake (Grant County)

      •     Evergreen Reservoir (Grant County)

      •     Roses Lake (Chelan County)

      •     Antilon Lake (Chelan County)

      •     Coffeepot Lake (Lincoln County)

      •     Box Canyon Reservoir (Pend Oreille County)

      •     Spokane/Long Lake (Stevens County)

      •     Eloika Lake (Spokane County)

      •     Rock Lake (Whitman County)

      •     Leader Lake (Okanogan County)

      •     I-82 Ponds (Yakima County)

      •     Horsethief Lake (Klickitat County)

      •     Lake Roosevelt (multiple counties)

John Kruse – and


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