Texas is an incredible state for crappie fishing, even though bass are always at the pinnacle of fishing discussions in Texas’ freshwater fishing circles. While almost all Texas anglers are interested in bass, there are quite a few that are interested in crappie as well.
Under Texas law, you can bag up to 25 crappie per day, and there is a minimum length of 10”. Outside of those two stipulations, you can target crappie all year long, assuming you understand their seasonal behavior patterns. February and April are the best months to specifically go after crappie in Texas.
While crappie will never eclipse bass as one of the most exciting and appetizing fish to catch, the fact that you can catch so many makes for a huge supper and then some. Crappie fishing Texas style isn’t much different than anywhere else, it’s just that Texas is a huge state, with many places and opportunities.
Crappie Fishing in Texas
Best Crappie Fishing Lakes in Texas
Naming the nine best fishing lakes in Texas is akin to choosing the nine shiniest diamonds in a bag full of very shiny diamonds. There are a lot of lakes in Texas, and although some are better for certain types of fishing than others, the best ones offer a wide range of fishing opportunities, especially for crappie.
1. Lake O’ the Pines
If you’re in East Texas, this is one of the best places to go if you want to rake in 15+ crappie in the first quarter of a Spring morning. This lake is also known for producing some monster fish. Nothing like Loch Ness mind you, but plenty to brag about.
Springtime is the best part of the year to fish for crappie on Lake O’ the Pines. The lake covers 19,000 acres of territory and is known as a crappie-producing machine. The best time to go is in late April into early May.
2. Lake Arrowhead
This 15,000-acre lake is located in North Texas and is known for being packed to the brim with white crappie. February through April is prime time for crappie in Lake Arrowhead, and you need to be up early to lessen the chances that you will have to fight for the best spots.
Lake Arrowhead water isn’t as clear as you might like, but flashy lures will overcome the drawback.
3. Lake Limestone
This lake is not very well known for its incredible crappie population, which is to your advantage because now you know. The little inlets and streams that branch off of Lake Limestone are the best places to target during the Springtime.
4. Sam Rayburn Reservoir
This gigantic lake in East Texas encompasses 114,000 acres of prime, crappie-fishing paradise. Sam Rayburn is really known for its bass, especially when it comes to really large bass. However, its crappie population is pretty special too.
From the moment after spawning until the Fall months, brush piles are the places to be. Just make sure your rig is set for some depth (up to 24’) before you head out.
5. Granger Lake
This is the second lake on our list that is well-known for white crappie. This is one of the smaller lakes at 4,000 acres, but Texas Parks and Wildlife crews have placed structures throughout the lake that attract fish, specifically white crappie for your purposes.
As an additional tip, white bass are incredible in Granger Lake as well, so you get the best of both worlds in a single trip.
6. White Rock Lake
Dallas, Texas, is home to White Rock Lake. It’s another small lake on the list of lakes here, but it is well known for its incredible population. Don’t take your fastest boat out there, however, since there is a horsepower limitation (less than 10 mph).
In fact, the best way to crappie fishing is from the shoreline, so don’t even bring your boat out there, and if you do, make it a fishing kayak.
7. Coleto Creek Reservoir
Coleto Creek Reservoir sports some of the best harvest rates in the state. Once again, it’s Springtime when the crappie are at their best, especially in the shallows, next to submerged trees and submerged brush.
8. Lake Fork
For such a mundane cutlery-utensil name, Lake Fork boasts an excellent crappie population. Not only is Lake Fork one of the best crappie spots in the state of Texas, but it’s also ranked in the top 5 crappie lakes in the country on an annual basis.
9. Daniel Reservoir
If you are looking for quality over quantity, you can hardly pick better than Daniel Reservoir, which boasts some of the largest crappie in the state. The legal, minimum limit in Texas is 10”, but you have to work to find something smaller than 15” in Daniel Reservoir.
Crappie fishing, in terms of the best season, is just like most other fishing. You’re going to have the highest level of success when they’re spawning. Of course, North Texas and South Texas are two drastically different places in terms of climate.
That makes a difference in when crappie spawns in one place and when they spawn in another. Texas is not a small state, so some factors affect the different crappie seasons.
For the most part, the spawning season for crappie in Texas takes place between March and May, specifically in the middle of the two months. When it comes to the climate thing, you can catch crappie spawning as early as February, if the water is warm enough in the South.
Crappie Spawning Temp Texas
Crappie spawning takes place once the water exceeds 60°F. Now, if it touches 60°F right before a cold snap, that will probably delay things. So it’s more of a consistent thing, reaching 60°F or higher and remaining there.
Warm creek, rivers, and lake temperatures in North Texas aren’t likely to be the same as they are in South Texas, even though one may catch up to the other rapidly. Spawning season for crappie will often get staggered that way, especially when it comes to large bodies of water versus small streams and smaller lakes.
These small areas also force the crappie to spawn in small groups at a time. Because there simply isn’t enough room in certain areas, and it limits the number of crappie spawning at one time.
Best crappie fishing line to use
This is likely to elicit intense arguments in fishing circles. Some anglers insist that crappie can see nylon monofilament lines while other anglers will insist that they can’t. In places like Lake Arrowhead, where the water isn’t as clear, monofilament or fluorocarbon is fine.
Either way, you’re dealing with a 4 to 6lb test, and if you feel like line visibility is something that will spook the crappie, then grab yourself some fluorocarbon, by all means. If you’re of the opinion that it doesn’t matter, monofilament is an excellent choice, especially in the shallows.
When it comes to shallow or deep water, the type of line matters more since fluorocarbon sinks while monofilament will float.
When it comes to fishing for crappie in Texas, it’s like living in a chocolate factory when it’s your favorite dessert flavor. There is certainly no lack of choices, whether you live in North Texas, East, West, South, or bullseye center.
If you’re getting out there on the water for the first time, Texas requires that residents and non-residents purchase a fishing license, but that’s really the only obstacle between you and a cooler full of crappie. It’s a good idea to do your homework at the best time to get out there, but crappie are known for being a year-round catch.
Your best bet is to aim for spawning season if you want to pack your cooler unless you’re perfectly fine with hooking the occasional crappie while fishing for something else.
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