Crappie is a plentiful species of fish in most areas of the United States, and there are thousands of lakes and rivers in the country where crappie can be found. As in many states, Iowa crappie fishing is best in spring but can be done in most months of the year. Where are the best locations, and what tips and tactics should be used to produce the most crappie?
Crappie Fishing in Iowa is good throughout the state and although these plentiful panfish prefer standing waters with brushpiles and other heavy cover, you can also find them in many interior streams, as well as the backwaters and oxbows of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. However, the best places to look in Iowa are the man-made lakes, oxbow lakes, reservoirs, and small ponds that litter the state. You'll find consistent catches in the early and mid spring, though fishing in many of the natural lakes provide an abundant crop of crappie year round.
In the spring, Iowa crappie fishing is most productive, but the characteristics of the lakes vary widely from one to the next. You'll find your best opportunities in waters that have warmed to about 58 degrees or more. Here, spawning can occur, and you'll find large schools of crappie hanging around. This temperature can be hard to find, depending on your location within the state, at least until May, when spring actually starts to take off in Iowa. The length of the day can also affect the ability to find crappie, with the panfish more likely to appear when there is more daylight keeping the waters more consistently warm throughout the day. Look for conditions to be best in inlets, marshes, canals, and marinas in natural lakes.
As summer begins, the crappie shift from shallow waters back to the deeper, cooler waters that range anywhere from eight to twenty-five feet. You may have trouble fishing during these months without the assistance of a depth finder that will locate the large schools of fish. Drift fishing will produce the best catch for you during these months, with trial and error being the only "scientific" way to determine the locations. However, determining the level at which water in the lake no longer carries adequate oxygen for the fish to breathe will help you find the depth at which you can expect to find the crappie. Try fishing under structures during the summer, where you can find some of the best Iowa crappie fishing all year long.
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