Top 7 DEADLY Crappie Lures & Best Baits for Spring Fishing (Complete Guide 2021)


Ah, the weather is warming up, and things are starting to move. Now might be the prime time to dust off that crappie fishing gear that has been sat over winter?

Things can still be a little slow in the early stages of spring, so you will want a bait that gives the best chance of success.

The best crappie lures for spring will magic up a bite when all else fails… But you’ve got to know what to look for.

In this guide, I will show you some great suggestions and talk you through what works.

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Best Early Spring Crappie Lures – A Quick Overview

Crappie is a variant of the bass family, and just like a bass, they are absolutely voracious predators who’ll tear into anything given half a chance. The bulk of their diet is living creatures that swim.

Why’s this important?

To tempt them, you will want to make them an offer that is too good to miss.

Want to know why Crappie fishing is great in the spring?

crappie hooked and being reeled in with bait in it's mouth

Why Spring Crappie Fishing?

You will have the lake to yourself!

Summer is traditionally the best time to fish… That also means the water is busier. Who wants to be shoulder to shoulder with other anglers?

Go early, and you will be able to get a bite or two in relative peace.

You might be more likely to catch!

By the end of the summer, Crappie have seen it all! Due to a full season of angling pressure, they may be more reluctant to go for anything artificial.

By going early in the season, you can present something new and exciting

Those crappies… They’re hungry!

Most Crappie you catch in the spring will have been overwintered. This slow period means they have been drifting along in a sort of hibernation, in cold water, eating little.

As soon as the water warms and things start coming to life, they will begin to feed to build their energy ready for spawning. And you will be there ready to take full advantage of that fact!

Here are three more early spring crappie tips. They are really useful if you have a small boat and a fish finder.

To take advantage of all of the above, here’s what you want in your lures:

Movement

So, depending on where you fish, the water is going to still be a little cold. When the water is on the chilly side, cold-blooded animals (like Crappie) slow down a little and expend energy only when they need to.

Here’s why this matters…

You will want to use a lure capable of producing quite a bit of movement, even at slow speeds. It’s this movement that will trigger a bite, so make sure that your lure is full of action.

Things that encourage this are thin paddle tails, plenty of maribous, and perhaps a spinner blade or two.

Size

Minnows are a Crappies favorite food.

Ever seen a huge minnow in the spring?

Nope, me neither.

You should find that smaller lures tend to get more bites than something big and juicy.

man holding Crappie fish

Color

This is a little dependant on location, but generally, you’ll need a lure that is easy to see.

Spring can be a little rainy, with a large amount of freshwater flushed into lakes and ponds. As a result, the water may take on quite a lot of color.

It would be a shame if the crappy can’t see your lure.

For Crappie, I find a splash of bright color, like chartreuse, is a great addition to any lure!

Weight

When the water is cold, the fish move down.

And here’s what I always say…

If you can’t reach them, you can’t catch them!

Make sure that your lure has sufficient weighting to allow you to reach the fish quickly and easily.

If it’s still a little cold where you are, I’ve still got you covered… Check out my article here on crappie ice fishing lures.

Alright, bearing in mind all of the above, let’s take a look at some of the best crappie baits for spring.

Top 7 Best Lures and Baits for Spring Crappie Fishing

XFishman Crappie Baits 40 Piece Kit

Ok, let’s start big…

No, I don’t mean the lures. If you are a little stuck on which baits will work well for Crappie in the spring, it might make sense to take a selection. That way, you can try a few things out.

The best way to do that?

Buy a kit with plenty of lures.

For the price, I think this crappie lure set offers amazing value. You’ll get a total of 40 lures in 6 different colors. They are all shaped like minnows, which, as I said above, is high up on the list of Crappie favorite foods.

And that’s not all…

Remember, I talked about generating movement. The jigheads in this lure set also have a tiny spinner blade attached. This is perfect for creating a movement and flash that could provoke a take.

This is also useful if you are fishing in cloudy conditions as it creates a little bit of vibration that the Crappie can ‘lock on’ to.

Pros

  • Amazing value with 40 lures in each set.
  • Variety and color.
  • Included jig heads.

Cons

  • While I like the spinner blade, if you are jigging up and down, this can get caught in the line.

Takeaway

This set will see you through the spring and all the way up into the summer. I think, for the money, this offers superb value. With a range of options under your belt, you can put yourself in the best position to catch!

Crappie Magnet Best of the Best Kit

If you are an experienced crappie fisherman, you’ll already know about ‘Crappie magnets’. They are one of the most recognized lure types for Crappie.

Here’s the reason I love this kit…

You’ll get everything you need in one box to catch spring crappie. A range of chartreuse worms, with different colors, included jigheads. And also some crappie floats.

Remember how I talked about baits being presented a little slower? Float fishing is a great way to achieve this. It’s also super exciting to see that bite indicator disappear under the surface!

You’ll still get plenty of movement. The jig tails are quite thin, perfect for bobbing up and down in the ripples.

Pros

  • Another great value set.
  • Proven colors for catching Crappie.
  • Floats included.

Cons

  • Honestly? I can’t see much wrong with this.

Takeaway

If you were going to buy one set of spring crappie lures, go for this. It’s great value, gives you plenty of options, and you can even use the floats and jig heads with other lures too.

What’s not to love? Pair this up with a really decent telescopic rod, and you’ve got the ideal on-the-go setup!

XFishman Crappie-Jig-Heads

If you are anything like me, you’ve undoubtedly got a tackle bag full of random jelly worms and soft plastics.

Well, as spring has arrived, it’s time to get organized.

This jig-head set will allow you to mix and match your favorite lures with the added attraction of a small spinner blade.

Its best feature?

Some jig heads can be a little boring. This features a large, super realistic fish eye – a proven way of getting more fish to strike.

Pros

  • Super realistic eyes to induce a bite.
  • Included blade for generating vibration.
  • Good quality hooks.

Cons

  • As with my previous suggestion, the spinner can get caught in the line when jigging up and down.
  • It’s great value, but you’ll still need to buy the soft plastics.

Takeaway

I hate when I can’t find the right jig head. With this kit, it’s never going to happen again. I really like the variable weights too. They are perfect for getting a lure down deep to those cold spring crappie.

Strike King Mr. Crappie Shadpole Bait

Do you know what else spring brings?

Tadpoles, and lots of them.

Why not combine shape with proven crappie lure colors and tick two boxes at once.

You’ll get 15 in a pack which I think is great for the money. And with 14 different color options available, you’ll be able to mix and match to find what works.

The lures are small and easily mounted on a jighead. I love that the paddle tail is really thin. You get plenty of movement with very little effort.

Pros

  • A super mobile lure.
  • Great variety of colors.
  • Shaped like a fish and a tadpole all in one!

Cons

  • I wish these were available in several colors in one pack. 15 of each color may be slight overkill.

Takeaway

These work a treat for catching a few slabs. They match what the crappies eat in spring too, and are really mobile and bright in color. That’s quite a few key features checked off the list. Give them a try. You won’t regret it. One of my best crappie lures for spring!

Strike King Mr. Crappie Thunder Bait

What do you get if you cross a worm and a minnow?

A crappie’s dream meal!

These lures are hands down, one of the best for spring crappie. They can be fished in various styles, from static under a float to stripped and twitched on a jig head.

The chartreuse skirt is full of life and is also a great color for tearing into Crappie.

If you are fishing down among the weeds, you want something a little bulkier. This fits the bill. Because of the body material, you can even rig these as a ‘weed-free setup.

You’ll get 15 in each pack, and there are plenty of color options to choose from.

Pros

  • Chartreuse skirts are a proven crappie attractor.
  • The bulky body is great for fishing among cover.
  • Lots of movement.

Cons

  • As with my previous suggestion, 15 of the same color might be a lot.

Takeaway

Open my tackle bag, and you’ll always find a few of these (or even 15). If buying so many of the same color doesn’t appeal, why not team up with a buddy and get a pack each, then mix and match? These are an absolutely deadly lure for spring crappy.

Strike King Mr. Crappie Sausage Heads

On first seeing this lure, I thought we’d been invaded by aliens.

Do you know what Crappie think when they spot it?

Lunch!

They’ll go mad for this. The rear tail is made up of superfine ‘tentacles’ that flutter enticingly.

It’s also got another neat feature.

The body shape prevents the hook from rolling when you get a bite. This means that all fish caught will be hooked neatly, making for quicker unhooking. Allowing you to get out there and fishing again quickly.

As with all of Strike King’s lures, they come in a range of sizes. They are also available in smaller packs of three, which I really like.

Pros

  • Lots of action and movement in the tail.
  • Unique body shape for clean hooking.
  • Jigheads included.

Cons

  • Again, another lure that I’d be pleased to have in my box any day. I can’t fault it.

Takeaway

Provided you choose the right color, these high-quality lures for crappie fishing will work a treat. They can be fished in many styles and are pretty durable – another of my favorites.

Berkley PowerBait Crappie Nibbles

Now, this is something a little different.

Want to bring your lures to life and give them an extra ‘boost’?

Check this out.

Crappie nibbles can be added to your lure or even used as hook bait on their own. The bright yellow color attracts the fish.

And there’s more…

Once it gets wet, it begins to dissolve into the water, creating a scent trail for the Crappie to follow. All the way to your hook!

It’s available in a range of colors, so you’ll be able to accessorize your lure to match the color that you find best.

They are absolutely perfect for fishing in murky spring conditions.

Pros

  • Great for poor water visibility.
  • It can be used for any fishing style, both lure, and float.
  • Fish attracting scent.

Cons

  • The only downside is that they are finite and dissolve, meaning you’ll need more!

Takeaway

I love finding ‘secret’ additions that give me the edge. This is one of them for sure. If the bites have slowed, or the fish can’t find your lure, stick a lump of this on and see what happens… Thank me later.

Summary

Most of the best spring crappie lures will be a great investment, as you can continue to use them all year round. Go for lures with a lot of movement, great color, and the ability to be fished in a few different ways, and you should catch.

While you are here, why not check the rest of my blog? I cover all things fishing, from the best fly fishing rod and reel combos to the best ice fishing lures for walleye and even trout!

What color and lure combo works best for you? Let me know in the comments.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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