First of all, when river crappie fishing, remember that this breed of fish don't typically
challenge the main flow of the river like larger, heavier fish. Instead, they will use eddies, slack water, and heavy cover
to help them break the current and work their way upstream. These will be the best areas of the river in which to fish. Also,
spawning occurs outside the current in areas that warm to between 66 and 70 degrees more quickly. Especially search through
vertical cover that grows up from the river bottom above the surface, as this is a great place for crappie to stop and be
If you are in a slower moving river, crappie fishing is best in areas of brush and stumps, as these
are the best holding areas for fish passing through. The actual nomadic movement of the pre-spawning season begins as the
waters warm to about 62 degrees and becomes a bit muddy because silty water provides a quicker swim than clear waters.
One excellent way that you can take advantage of river crappie fishing is to search the tailwaters below the river dams. After
moving up river, crappie will congregate in such areas and remain still for a while, offering an excellent opportunity for
a huge turnout. The best rigs to take advantage of such waters are usually arranged from a combination of a jig and a minnow,
using a leadhead that is heavy enough to get down into the current. Look in areas of heavy cover and structures that break
the current, such as lock walls or sandbar edges.
Realize that, when river crappie fishing, you are not
likely to have a hard bite. Soft strikes are common, especially among pre-spawn crappie, and you frequently will notice only
that your line goes slack or that something doesn't feel right. Often, you may wonder if you've only snagged on a leaf or
stick, but be prepared to reel in anyway, as this is quite probably a catch. Make note of how deep that sinker was as you
bring in the line, since it is also quite likely there is an entire small school of crappie here.