Texas offers a wonderful prospect for crappie fishing with its various reservoirs and lakes. Crappie fishing has been a big part of growing up for many Texans. Here you can fish without worrying about the water temperature or strong winds.
In Texas, you can primarily fish two kinds of crappies. The spots on white crappies are more organized. In contrast, black crappies show no pattern in their spots. Also, black crappies have more dorsal fins than white variants.
You can fish for crappies year-round in Texas. But the best time to catch crappies is in spring when the crappies swim in shallow waters. Here in Texas, you can easily catch 10 to 15 inches long crappies.
Top 9 Crappie Fishing Lakes in Texas
Owing to such abundant bodies of water, Texas is practically a crappie paradise. There are numerous lakes here where you can go crappie fishing. So much so that we can barely scratch the list. But here are 9 of the best crappie lakes in Texas.
Lake O’ the Pines
You will find this crappie lake in the Piney Woods of East Texas. Covering over 19,000 acres, Lake O’ the Pines harbors a massive number of fish. The sizes of the crappies here are impressive as well. There’s a good chance that you will get to catch crappies as long as 15 inches or more.
Lake O’ the Pines also serves as a great winter crappie lake. The best spot to fish during the winter is the Route 155 Bridge because this is where crappies gather. There are plenty of decent launch sites like Cedar Springs Launch Ramp near Route 155.
The crappies in Lake O’ The Pines spawn a little later compared to other lakes. The spawning usually ends in April or May. After that, every cove of the lake becomes full of crappies.
Spanning over 27,000 acres and providing year-round choices, very few crappie lakes in Northeast Texas can be compared with Lake Fork. It is located 65 miles east of Dallas and serves as a tributary to the Sabine River.
The most common kind of crappies found here is the black variants. But there is a decent number of white crappies here as well. The crappies here start coming to the shallow waters right between February and March. All you need to do is look out for brush piles, standing timber, and docks because that’s where all the big crappies like lurking around. Even if you have never gone crappie fishing before, there are plenty of fishing guides here who will help you.
The crappies like to stay in warm water during late winter or early spring. This is why they tend to swim closer to the surface. On some especially warm days, they can even swim as close as 5 feet from the surface or less.
Lake Arrowhead is located 15 miles southeast of Wichita Falls in North Texas and covers nearly 15,000 acres. You can find tons of white crappies in this lake. Because of that, it is considered one of the best crappie lakes in the region.
The prime time to fish in this lake is during the spring. This is when the fishes float to shallow waters in great numbers. You fish around docks, shorelines, and even under a few bridges. You can even find a great fishing cover in the old oil derricks. When fishing, statewide regulations are to be followed to manage the fish population.
Owing to its popularity, you will a lot of competition when going fishing in the lake. Finding a good fishing hole can be hard to come by.
This white crappie paradise is located in northeast Austin, Texas. This lake is essentially a 4,000 acres reservoir of white crappies.
Before spawning, white crappie can be seen moving through the shallow waters as early as February. In April, you can even see the crappie in waters as shallow as one or two feet. To get the best bite, there are shallow feeder creeks. Fallen timber can be found in the upper end of the reservoir. The willows are generally flooded during this time. Numerous brush piles are placed by local anglers.
To make things easier, they even set up fish-attracting structures to attract crappie and other fishes. They can be found deposited all throughout the lake within casting distance from the shoreline.
With its shoreline decorated with pine trees, Lake Conroe is easily one of the most beautiful lakes in Texas. This 21,000-acre reservoir can be found in Southeast Texas. It is located in Houston on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River.
Both black and white crappie are abundant in this. But trophy-sized fish can rarely be seen. Along the creeks of the lake, there is some standing timber which can be a great fishing spot. Crappie fishing starts near early spring here. You will notice that the lake doesn’t provide much natural covering for the fish. This is why you consider fishing near man-made structures.
Lake Conroe has plenty of boating docks, houses, and bulkheads. The reservoir has some special fishing regulations that you should look into before fishing.
The sheer size of Toledo Bend ensures limitless opportunities for passionate anglers no matter where they are from. Located between Texas and Louisiana on the Sabine River, the vast reservoir spans over 181,000 acres. In fact, it is the largest man-made reservoir in Texas. A diverse variety of fish can be found in the lake, like bass, sunfish, catfish, and, of course, crappie.
The lake is so big that it is often intimidating to decide where to start fishing. For crappie fishing, there is a zone called the Chicken Coop. This is where the more experienced crappie fishers gather. This 2-mile stretch serves as a river channel that drops off swiftly to over 80 feet.
Venturing over such a massive area can be very difficult. Since the reservoir is popular among the locals, finding marinas and boat rentals is actually very easy.
Sam Rayburn Reservoir
Stretching over 114,000 acres, Sam Rayburn Reservoir is considered the largest lake in the state of Texas. It is a well-known fact that slab crappies are caught in great numbers in the lake. Avid anglers often come here to fish off-season.
The most favorable time to fish for crappies is during fall when they are done spawning. This time of the year, the crappies congregate near bush piles. Their depth can range from 12 to 24 feet. You have to look out for brush piles along the creek channel because that’s where all the crappies usually are. It’s always a good idea to know about the local fishing regulations before you go fishing.
In the case of Sam Rayburn Reservoir, white crappies are more easily found in the upper third part of the lake. Meanwhile, the most common kind of crappie found in the lower third of the lake is the black crappies.
Lake Limestone is one of the lesser-known crappie lakes. This means that this lake is less crowded, and anglers can work here with relatively less disturbance. The reservoir takes over about 12,500 acres on the Navasota River. Since the water here is stained, white crappies are more common in the area.
You can find spawning crappies in the backs of creeks and coves during the spring. They sometimes come as close as 2 to 5 feet to the surface. Patches of standing tinder can be seen throughout Lake Limestone. Fishing near isolated trees can get you a promising yield.
There are also a couple of power line crossings where the local anglers like to fish. Public access areas are located around the lake where people can go camping.
Twin Buttes Reservoir
Unlike other parts of Texas, West Texas doesn’t have many crappie lakes. But Twin Buttes Reservoir is sure to be worth your notice. The 9,000-acre reservoir is situated around San Angelo. In recent years, anglers have found impressive yields from the lake.
The reservoir contains numerous amounts of keeper crappies. A lot of which are up to 14 inches long. It is thought that Twin Buttes Reservoir shows excellent prospects for fishing. The lake doesn’t provide much cover, but structures like creeks and humps can be seen. You can also try looking near shoreline vegetation if the water level is up.
The lake is engulfed by a public hunting ground. These public access facilities are maintained by Texas Parks & Wildlife.
FAQ for Crappie Fishing
What time of the year is the best for crappie fishing in Texas?
Crappie can be caught all year long, but the prime time to fish is definitely late winter to mid-spring.
When does crappie spawn in Texas?
In Texas, the crappies generally spawn right around the middle of March and April. This is when the water temperature exceeds 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
What is the best bait for crappie fishing?
The best baits for crappie fishing are minnows and jigs. Crappie fish has a very diverse diet. Because of that anglers can bait them in numerous ways.
The lakes mentioned here are just some of the many reservoirs where crappie can be found in abundance. Though the sizes and variants of the fish can differ from reservoir to reservoir, the experience is exciting all the same.
Even though bass gets most of the spotlight, crappie fishing is still a very fun activity. Crappie can be found all around Texas. They can be found not just in lakes and reservoirs but also in ponds and slow rivers. Crappie fishing is not very dramatic. But once you catch one, you are sure to catch a pile of them.