Crappies: Critical Target Dates

Stay ahead of the curve. Know when crappies spawn in your home waters.

Do the crappies in your home lake spawn in February? May? The key to zeroing in on these popular panfish from prespawn to the summer migration lies in understanding their spawning cycle and being ahead of the curve. This spawning map will help you.

Each zone on the map represents the approximate date (to the nearest week) when crappies, both black and white, begin spawning. Actual dates in your immediate area may vary due to local water temperatures and weather conditions. Note that the dates shown apply to large, public waters; crappie will spawn earlier in smaller or shallower water bodies. Spawning activity in rivers is highly dependent on the weather upstream, and the spawn may occur earlier or later than in nearby lakes.

How long the spawn lasts also depends on the size and form of the lake. Spawning may occur in shallow, dark-bottom bays two to three weeks earlier than in the main lake. Similarly, in rivers crappie may spawn in shallow backwaters as much as a month earlier than in large river lakes. Exactly where crappie spawn varies among lakes and reservoirs, but spawning areas are out of any flow and usually in areas of vegetation or brush near shore.

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