The good thing about crappie is you can catch them as far north as Michigan, or as far south as the state of Florida. Crappie is resilient and flourishing fish, no matter what lake and in what environment they inhabit.
They also happen to be some of the most delicious freshwater fish you can catch. They may not be the biggest of fish, but most states and local municipalities will let you catch more than enough to feed a family of five or six.
Plus, the limitations are almost always per day and per person, so bringing your family or friends along might result in a pretty good haul, especially if you know a lot about crappie fishing and where to go to find them. Crappie fishing in Michigan is extremely popular and the potential results are more than worth the effort.
9 Best Crappie Fishing Lakes in Michigan
In many ways, Michigan is like Florida, where crappie fishing is also a well-known commodity. Both states are peninsulas, though Michigan is known for being a dual peninsula state. Surrounded by water, both states offer for an angler to take advantage of. Michigan is also full of lakes, many of which are popular crappie hotspots.
1. Whitmore Lake
While not a large lake, at 677 acres, Whitmore Lake sits next to Anne Arbor and is a popular spot for crappie fishing. It’s also one of the few lakes in Michigan that has a lot of very sizeable crappie. It’s a good place to go if you’re seeking the state record.
Even if you fail, you will still go home with plenty of crappie over 2 lbs and some that even reach 3lbs. Besides, if you get your feelings hurt out on the lake, you can always retire to the Whitmore Lake Tavern to try their incredible ‘wet burrito,’
2. Hamlin Lake
While Hamlin Lake is better known for its abundant population of bass, perch, and bluegill, it’s also full of crappie. Since the park is open all year round, 24 hours a day, you won’t find it difficult to strategize your approach based on time. So long as you’re disciplined with your alarm clock.
It’s also a good spot if you prefer to catch crappie through the ice. During the earliest part of winter, crappie will navigate to the weeds, wherever they are. However, they go deeper in the heart of a Michigan winter and you will have more luck through the ice, in the middle of the lake.
3. Union Lake
Union Lake is another good spot for crappie fishing through the ice. It’s not a very big lake at only 460 acres, but it offers plenty of crappies so it’s well appreciated by the locals. Speaking of locals, check with them before you head out, as some parts of the lake are closed at times.
4. King Lake
Another small, 500-acre lake, King Lake is also relatively shallow at no more than 25’. Weed beds are the place to find crappie on King Lake and this lake is known for having a lot of them. Shoreline fishing is perfect for that but you’re more than welcome to hit the water in a boat if that’s your preference.
5. Randall Lake
Randall Lake is almost exactly the same size as King Lake, though it’s shaped a little differently. This is one of the more popular small lakes in Michigan, mostly because of its abundant crappie. Apparently, the crappie in Randall lake are obsessed with tube and jig setups, for what it’s worth.
6. Lake St. Clair
Lake St. Clair is a little farther down the list because, while the crappie are abundant here, they tend to proliferate all over the lake. Knowing Lake St. Clair is essential for bringing in a good haul of crappie. Your best bet is to pick the local angler’s brains on this one.
7. Belleville Lake
Fishing on Belleville Lake, especially for crappie, is a matter of beating everyone out in the morning and being the first near the fallen trees. There are a lot of them out there but anglers know to go to them first. Crappie schools flourish underneath these fallen trees during the spring months.
There is a question of water quality. Blue-green algae frequent the lake, so check with the local game and wildlife authorities before you stroll down to the lake.
8. Kent Lake
Kent Lake is a little larger than some of the others on this list, at 1,000 acres of prime fishing space. The crappie are abundant here but if you’re hoping to set a state record, you’re in for a disappointment. If you just want to bring home a full haul of crappie, this is the lake for you.
9. Cass Lake
This 1,300-acre reservoir is popular for its bass population but that doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t catch crappie here because you certainly will. The lake drops off in the middle to about 120’ deep but there are shallows everywhere and the crappie congregate there.
When Do Crappie Spawn in Michigan
Although Michigan is far north of some of the crappie fishing bastions like Florida, the crappie tend to follow the same patterns. In the spring, crappie congregate in the shallows, and it’s easily the best time of the year to catch them.
Being in the shallows makes it easier as well since you can catch them from your boat, on the shoreline, or in a kayak. As the water temp increase, crappie move out of the shallows, removing shoreline fishing from the equation.
Crappie fishing in Michigan is just as abundant and fruitful as it is in the south and they follow the same spawning patterns in the north that they do in the south. The only difference is that springtime and the warmer months come a little later in Michigan than down south.
Out of all the lakes, Belleville is often listed as one of the top crappie fishing spots in Michigan. If you are planning a trip there or you’re considering fishing for crappie for the first time, you should start there.
Some of the smaller lakes in Michigan (and there are many of them), require some strategic timing, so you can beat other anglers to the punch and find the best spots out on the water.
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