Trolling for crappie is easily one of the most popular methods for catching the fish and for good reason – it’s quick, easy, and very effective. You don’t need much more equipment than what you currently use to catch crappie, with just a boat, trolling motor, and few additional pieces of tackle required for a successful day trolling for crappie.
Trolling for Crappie Quick and Easy Technique
A great aspect of trolling for crappie is just how more fun you have doing so. Unlike other methods, trolling involves letting the boat doing much of the hard work for you, letting you sit back, relax and soak up the landscape as you wait for a bite.
Plus, with crappie schools often scattered across the water, trolling is an efficient method for hauling in your daily limit without much fuss. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know for a successful day trolling for crappie:
Choosing the Tackle and Equipment
The great thing about trolling for crappie is that you don’t need that much extra tackle than what you would normally use. For instance, the same rod, reels, and lines you normally use for crappie fishing are all fine when trolling.
However, you may want to use more than one pole depending on your state’s restrictions – check to see if there are any before you decide on this. Because long lining is a popular trolling method for crappie, many anglers like to use as many poles as they’re allowed to maximise results.
Obviously, you’ll need a boat, although may not need a trolling motor if the winds are high enough. That said, trolling motors are always recommended because they will let you control your speed and increase the chances of catching more crappie.
Bait and Rigs
No need to change your bait for trolling crappie – most prefer to use jigs or live minnows, so either of these will be fine or you can use both. Just stick to what you know and you should be fine! Long lining is the most popular setup when trolling but you can use rigs too!
A dropper rig is a fantastic setup for trolling crappie. Attach a sinker to end of the main line (anything between 1-6oz should suffice) and 1-4 dropper lines (approx. 1ft long) that are spaced 1ft apart.
You can attach the dropper lines using either a loop knot or swivel, then attach baits of varying colours on the dropper lines.
Simply pull the dropper rig behind the boat as you troll, using the bottom sinker to ensure baits sit at the right depth.
You can troll anywhere on the water, with the main concern being your lines getting a snag. Flats are good for year-round trolling, while ledges are suitable when crappie are moving from deeper waters into shallower areas during spawning season and using lots of bait in main channels is also a good idea.
Finding the right depth can be more challenging, so a depth finder is often a good tool for finding where the crappie are located.
Finding the right speed is the key to a quick and easy day of crappie trolling. It’s always a good idea to start at around 0.8mph, with most anglers finding this is the right speed for getting bites.
A good method if you’re struggling for bites is to start moving in a looped S-shape using the boat. This slows down lure speed on the inside of the S and increases it when outside, so if you get a bite on either side you know whether to go faster or slower – if its outside, increase your speed to up to 1.0mph.
Of course, if you’re getting nothing but snags then move on to another area and try slightly different speeds to see what works. Once you find the right speed, you’ll be laughing all day as the crappie should start rolling in.
Never rely on a single speed setting – try slight adjustments and be mindful of water clarity and the wind carrying your boat. These can all influence the optimal trolling speed, so play around with different settings to get the right speed for each day.