Many anglers have asked us where the top best crappie lakes in the U.S. and fishing rivers are, so it gathered data from a committee of experts to create a bucket selection of the top best crappie lakes in the U.S. and fishing rivers. It sufficiently contributed to the checklist but wanted it to be a confirmed and exact checklist, so it asked a few of the many excellent crappie anglers in the country where the best fishing is.
These fishermen have fished, directed, and contended for crappie throughout the country and have put together a well-researched crappie fishing checklist for you.
Decent numbers, great size, a balance of both, beauty, expertise, accessibility, and possibilities to fish diverse tactics were the considerations for the ranking. We all want to capture giant fish and have a good time visiting a crappie fishing area. As a result, this checklist should provide you with various options for some of America’s best crappie lakes in U.S. fishing.
There are plenty of others that were excellent mentions, as well as some secret treasures that were not included on this checklist, so stay tuned for a following essay on the lesser-known crappie hotspots. But, without any other sound and fury, here are the country’s top 25 best crappie lakes in U.S. fishing spots:
ALABAMA’S NEELY HENRY
From Weiss dam to the upriver dam, Neely Henry is around 11,000 acres in the Coosa River Chain runs through northeast Alabama. Longline trolling, fishing scrub piles, and shooting docks are all options for catching fish.
Ronnie Capps observed, “Neely Henry holds terrific measure and moderate numbers.” “Fish over 3 pounds are uncommon, but because super hybrid crappie resides in this Coosa River lake, the prospect of catching a record-breaking fish is genuine.” The water conditions at Neely Henry are reasonably consistent for the whole year.”
TENNESSEE & ALABAMA’S PICKWICK LAKE
Pickwick, the foremost of numerous TVA to make the top best crappie lakes in the U.S., provides crappie fishers with various options, including natural stream stumps, scrub piles, piers, cliffs, and grasses. Combined with an incredibly fertile system that supplies loads of baitfish, it then replenishes the best crappie lakes in U.S. numbers. These features make this a fantastic but generally overlooked TVA chain best crappie lakes in U.S. Trolling, cork fishing, standing jigging, shooting docks, and jigs are cast to bush and stumps in the fall and spring are popular options on this lake.
OKLAHOMA’S WISTER LAKE
This little lake in Eastern Oklahoma has a surface area of 7,300 acres provides the best crappie lakes in U.S. fishing for dimension and amount. The Poteau River’s shallow uncultivated brush, upright timber, cedar drifts, points, and in-depth channels provide anglers with various options throughout the year. It is a favorite of all the board of experts since it has a good population of white crappie and is of a good size.
NEOSHO RIVER, OKLAHOMA / FT. GIBSON
The Grand River Chain in Oklahoma ends with this almost 20,000-acre impoundment. The lake has good white and black best crappie lakes in U.S. populations, with a slight preference for the black best crappie population. And crappie fishing on the Neosho River is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“The Neosho River is simply one-of-a-kind,” remarked Matt Rogers. “With minimal equipment, an angler can focus laydowns, flow breaks, calm water whirlpools, and scrub piles in the river, which is loaded with black and white crappie.” The current constantly dictates the fishing. Check the USGS water documentation and charts before fishing the Neosho River or any different river around the country. When searching, use keywords such as the name of the upper lake and its location.”
The typical crappie at Neosho River and Ft. Gibson weighs 1 1/2 lbs. It has many good-sized crappies suspended in 12 to 30 feet of water. As a result, an angler may stretch out and discover large, hungry crappie throughout the lakes and rivers.
ALABAMA’S LAKE GUNTERSVILLE
Guntersville, another TVA best crappie lake in the U.S., has a beautiful balance of numbers and measures for the best crappie lakes fishing site. Three-pounders are common in this lake, which also has several huge twos. Guntersville is among the TVA chain’s more steady lakes. Many parts of the lake with grass, wood, rock, ports, and bridges have healthy populations. It’s a terrific lake for staking out your crappie hotspot.
Arkabutla, a lake with a surface area of over 11,000 acres in northwest Mississippi, is somewhat shallow significantly declines during the winter. Stake beds abound, like as large crappie with moderate numbers. However, the 3-pound school of fish causes it a popular crappie fishing spot. Trolling, jigging, spider-rigged, and pulling crankbaits minnows can all be good bets on this tiny, changeable, yet trophy-worthy lake from season to season.
MISSISSIPPI ROSS BARNETT RESERVOIR
Close Jackson, Miss., Ross Barnett has earned the nickname “The Rez” and has evolved into a popular pit point for crappie tournaments. Mainly because it has 3-lbs crappie, a large number of fish, and a variety of regions and kinds of cover, allowing guys to spread out.
Tony Sheppard stated, “It’s my fave lake, which I get to see regularly.” “It’s my local favorite because I live on Kentucky Lake, but The Rez delivers it all.” Crappie can catch using any style, and there are a lot of huge ones.”
MISSISSIPPI ENID LAKE
Enid, in north-central Mississippi, is known for its large crappie, yet the typical crappie weighs almost a pound. Spider rigging, single-pole standing jigging, searching, and dragging cranks are some fishing techniques used on the lake. Enid boasts particular mythology about crappie fishing because it was here that the 5-pound, 3 oz record holder white crappie, was captured in 1957. It’s sometimes ignored because there are numerous excellent crappie fishing spots in Mississippi.
SOUTH CAROLINA’S SANTEE COOPER LAKES
The lakes near Charleston and Columbia, in east-central South Carolina, are Marion and Moultrie, offering another distinct and diversified crappie fishing experience. These lakes include a variety of scenery, including wetlands with cypress trees and grass where crappie like to spawn in extremely shallow water.
Thousands of crappies weighing one to two pounds can see tucked in the cypress knees and Spanish moss canopies covering the fertile dark tannic water. It is one of the more picturesque crappie locations on an enthusiastic crappie angler’s bucket list.
KENTUCKY & TENNESSEE’S LAKE BARKLEY
Barkley Lake, TVA fisheries within Tennessee, and western Kentucky are one out of two that made a list often overlooked for bass fishing. Still, many anglers we spoke with preferred Barkley. Due to the apparent lack of intensity, they can find nice monochrome crappie in Kentucky and often better watercolor they find on the Cumberland River impoundment.
Anglers have plenty of choices for vertical jigging, casting, slip corking, spider rigging, trolling, pulling, and even hitting docks thanks to brush piles, stake beds, natural river stumps, chunk rock, and deep creek channels. Barkley has a lot of covers, possibly significantly further than Kentucky; that is among the reasons many anglers prefer it. The numbers are increasing, and the lake should be boiling for the following few years.
“The quantity of fish in Lake Barkley appears to be lower than in Kentucky Lake, though the moderate rate of fish appears to be higher,” stated Tony Sheppard. “Because of the lesser fishing tension, Barkley Lake is always more surface than Kentucky Lake. Most of the moment, the watercolor will be better over there. During the summer, it fishes better like a river, with indents and basins still playing a role.”
TEXAS TOLEDO BEND
Toledo Bend used to be one of the top crappie fishing spots in the countryside. While it is still excellent, locals will tell you that it is no longer as fantastic as earlier. But it’s densely forested, has a healthy fish population, and anglers in the Toledo Bend area have dumped hundreds of bush piles into the lake. Toledo Bend is still a top location for crappie, with many places and ways to capture fish enveloping grass, standing timber, touch pile, and available water.
DARDANELLE LAKE, ARKANSAS
It is another one of those “quiet” lakes. Four of the nine fishers included it on their lists. It offers decent fish, but other surrounding crappie lakes overshadow it.
Kevin Rogers commented, “Dardanelle is like one thing in my sense—FAT.” “I mean, this lake is full of fat crappie. They’re so big that you’re almost terrified to handle them since they appear to be on the verge of exploding. This lake is brimming with above-average crappie from Piney to Shoal Bay and the Illinois Bayou.”
TENNESSEE’S REELFOOT LAKE
It is one of the most well-known crappie fishing lakes. It’s not only beautiful, but it also has a lot of crappie in it. It is a must-see spot for crappie fishing in Tennessee, with stump fields, flora, lily pads, big ol’ cypress trees, and monster crappie. If shallow cover crappie fishing is your thing, you’ll have lots of opportunities at Reelfoot.
“While fish over 3 pounds are uncommon, this lake has fantastic size and quantity most of the time,” Ronnie Capps remarked. “It’s a crappie fishing nirvana for shallow water.”
CALIFORNIA’S CLEAR LAKE
Clear Lake is a popular spot to catch fish on the western coast, but it’s likewise one of the few places where you can see some fantastic panfish. Best crappie lakes in the U.S., and fishing is terrific for quantity and quality. Clear Lake has a large black crappie population, and the state register black crappie was just broken in February 2021, so it has world record potential.
Crappie can be caught with a slip bobber, available water wandering fish, and external surfaces like brush piles, weed lines, and docks. Clear Lake could be the place to go if you’re looking for 4-lbs crappie.
KENTUCKY LAKE, TENNESSEE & KENTUCKY
Kentucky Lake, which is merely beyond the best 10, is similar to Clear Lake in that it’s unique fisheries that can support outstanding bass and crappie fishing at the same time. Meanwhile, the lake has experienced a downturn in current years. It is rebounding quickly and will undoubtedly be the best ten fishery within the next two years.
On Kentucky Lake, you can stretch out or focus on one large watercourse and spend all of your time there. Because it’s so broad and diversified, it’s almost like having a bunch of little crappie lakes combined into one enormous fishery. Locals have also put forth much effort to improve the fishery’s cover.
“Kentucky Lake has terrific excellent fish, and a large number of them on Kentucky seem always to be better,” Tony Sheppard remarked. “Water clarity is improving, and the majority of fish will relocate to the river on major lake stumps throughout the summer months.” South Kentucky is a little better like Barkley, though the further south you go, the more it resembles a river. Structure fishing on both bodies of water is usually your best bet.”
“Kentucky has a lot of fish with a nice overall size,” Capps added. “Can find both light and dark crappie there.”
MISSISSIPPI’S LAKE WASHINGTON
Because there are a lot of excellent trophy best crappie lakes, they all appear to flow and ebb. One year, the lake gets hot, and the next year, another is hot. On the other hand, Washington is always constant. It has a good number of crappie, but they’re all 3-pounders, which places it in the best ten spots on lists of very well crappie anglers.
It has stable water conditions, with cypress trees abundant in swamps and sloughs, knees, stick-ups, ancient piers, and other fishing chances. Crappie can hover higher within surrounding water when foraging on pot-gut minnows. Don’t miss the trek to Washington if you’re in the west Mississippi Delta during spring.
MISSISSIPPI’S SARDIS LAKE
“No top destinations list would be complete without adding Sardis,” Jerry Hancock stated.
“Sardis has a lot of size and a lot of numbers,” Ronnie Capps noted.
“For people who just want to catch something, Both Sardis and Eufaula have a large amount of fish,” Robert Carlisle remarked.
Sardis is a lake with a surface area of 98,000 acres. On the Tallahatchie River located outside Oxford, Mississippi. Even though 3-lbs crappie is not as abundant as in a few of the best crappie lakes near Sardis, the lake is a great place to catch good-sized crappie in large numbers. Sardis is a fine choice if you like to catch fish.
Be careful that rare inches of rainfall can cause the lake to rise many feet, making it relatively volatile during spring. Though when you get it right, single rod jigging, tight-line searching, unrestricted water stalking, hitting docks, launching to brush and forest, and live decoy fishing can be a lot of fun.
ARKANSAS’ MILLWOOD LAKE
“Millwood has more fish than any other America’s lake,” Todd Huckabee remarked. “That’s because the lake as a whole is fantastic.” There isn’t just one spot, and then, you can virtually travel everywhere on the lake and find outstanding crappie fishing. Whether you’re over the grass, out on the stream, or the lakes, it’s all swampy and beautiful. It’s also among the few lakes in Arkansas where you can catch 3-pounder best crappie lakes daily.”
Millwood is a small town north of Texarkana. Crappie cover abounds, with cypress trees, button willows, standing timber, brush piles, laydowns, deep holes, creek channels, humps, and many other structural features, finding shallow and deep best crappie lake equally easy and rewarding.
Kevin Rogers noted, “This lake isn’t as well-known as other prominent crappie lakes; however, it does exist huge crappie as satisfactorily.” “Millwood has it all for crappie anglers, from more transparent water in the oxbows over the river to big flats on the major channel. Massive female chunks will immediately spawn on the hardwood throughout the major lake. It doesn’t get the same amount of tournament attention as some other lakes, though it is unquestionably a terrific crappie destination! My dad and I were the winners of a crappie competition there in 2008, and it’s remained. Since then, it’s become one of my fave lakes.”
OKLAHOMA’S EUFAULA LAKE
“In the 24 years of directing here, Eufaula Lake has been a numbers lake,” Todd Huckabee remarked. “It’s a great place to learn to fish since there are numerous access points and ramps than every lake I’ve fished. And there is everywhere you look; there are crappie the size of an eater.”
Mr. Crappie, Wally Marshall, remarked, “Eufaula Lake has a long history of producing great quantities of the best crappie lakes in U.S. for the previous 30 years.” “The crappie limit is a mind-boggling 37 per individual.” This lake appeals to me since densely forested slang has great Bodark trees for complex Osage Orange trees. It’s fantastic for catching crappie all year long.
“I primarily target the Eufaula tributaries, employing techniques such as vertical fishing and pitching to stumps and upright timber in a while in creek basins and bays.” Because Lake Eufaula is generally discolored, you can virtually walk right up to the crappie. I enjoy operating a 10-foot crappie pole when I aim for this lake all year. The location to go is Lake Eufaula if you’re looking for numbers. Oh, and if you prefer Italian food, don’t miss out on Krebs. “It’s the Bomb,” says the narrator.
Kevin Rogers said, “Can find crappie from one point of Eufaula Lake to another.” “While it may not be an ‘a once-in-a-lifetime crappie lake,’ it is unquestionably a ”load the freezer lake with ice.”” The abundance of crappie at this Oklahoma treasure is incredible!”
MISSOURI’S TRUMAN LAKE
Kevin Rogers commented, “Truman Lake is where I call home, and it is my best 10 because of the abundance of crappie.” I have never seen anywhere else in the area that comes near the number of crappies which live there in my thirty years of crappie fishing.” Truman is the country’s most exclusive summertime lake since they attack when it’s hot— the better if it’s hotter!”
Robert Carlisle noted, “Truman is among the greatest traditionalCrappie catching on lakes with tall timber.”
Jerry Hancock stated, “Consistently known for excellent with single-pole angling, and this is a must-visit lake.” “In recent years, Truman has come turning out some outstanding quality!”
“It’s incredible since you have a chance to catch fish that are over Matt Rogers stated, “2-pounds additional quantity.” “You don’t need high-tech equipment to fish the lake since it’s full of standing wood.” The lake takes a variety of approaches to catching black or white crappie. The lake has four arms, two of which are the arms of the main river. My favorite river is the Osage. Its size and abundance will provide an excellent experience for locating and chasing crappie in the woods.”
TEXAS’ LAKE OF THE PINES
“I spend more time on this lake than I do on my home lake, although it’s only 8 hours away,” Kevin Rogers explained. “I would keep giving it a better rating, but it isn’t as promising during spring as a Grenada or Lake Fork, for example.” It is said it’s at the peak of the checklist since this lake shines from October to January!
“During the months when much of the country is iced over, Lake O’ the Pines consistently produces large crappie. This lake is teeming with white and black species of international renown, and they like to congregate in the exact areas. That alone drives for a great slab swinging day!”
Jerry Hancock described it as “a few of the winter seasons locations for many crappie anglers.” “When you think about large crappie, you have to think of The Pines!”
FLORIDA’S S.T. JOHN’S RIVER
The St. John’s River, another gorgeous bucket-list destination for crappie, especially black crappie, offers unusual fishing for giant black crappie in large numbers. These are some of the most beautiful crappies you’ll ever see in that tainted water.
“These Florida fisheries have to be at the top of your list if you’re after large black crappie and lovely surroundings,” Jerry Hancock remarked.
“Man, I love this fishing,” Wally Marshall exclaimed. “It has everything, but I have a different perspective on this river than the majority.”
“I’ve always heard crappie fishing was terrible until the weather became heated in the summer. So, I went on to illustrate that crappie will strike a 2-inch Shad pole and be caught casting in the summer. Sure enough, the water temperature was 89 degrees, and the air temperature was 102 degrees. I was catching crappie on every cast, and because it was so hot, no one was there to see this fantastic day on the St. John’s River.
“From February through June, I believe St.Johns is a no-brainer when it comes to capturing big slab black crappie. Don’t forget the large shell crackers, too. There are some fantastic locations to eat and stay. I’d move to the St. Johns River if I didn’t have to live in Texas. It’s a fantastic crappie fishing spot. Troll, shoot docks, vertical jig, and cast are all options. Fishing is a lot of fun!”
LOUISIANA’S LAKE DARBONNE
This was the preferred crappie spot for several of our panelists. While most casual anglers are unlikely to visit. It’s become one of the most popular tournament stops. Because it’s a gorgeous fishery where anglers can get lost. And away from the crowds while catching crappie in a variety of ways. As a result, you can go crappie fishing the manner you want.
“For good reason, it’s one of the most popular spots on the crappie tournament circuit,” Jerry Hancock said. “It dependably produces enormous crappie stringers.”
Ronnie Capps observed, “This is a consistent fishery that delivers fantastic fisherman size and very great numbers.” “While a huge crappie over 3 pounds is uncommon, it frequently produces substantial limits.”
Kevin Rogers remarked, “Lake D’Arbonne is loaded of crappie, and they’re all over the lake.” “It’s also a great cool place to visit because the people are so nice and the cuisine is so delicious!” On this lake, I’ve seen crappie contests won on every crappie bait and technique under the sun. “You can accomplish everything right here.”
Matt Rogers remarked, “What a lovely and diverse destination Lake D’Arbonne is.” “A fisherman can go to this lake and employ any technique he wants. Open flats can be trolled, brush piles and stumps can be jigged, cypress trees can be used to catch spawning fish. And open water suspended fish can be cast utilizing forward-looking sonars.
“Unlike some other bodies of water, the lake is not a large body of water that can overwhelm a visiting angler. Whatever you want to name them: papermouths, white perch, sac-a-lait, or crappie. There are a thousand for every color of jig K & M Tackle Shop has in stock at Lake D’Arbonne. For me, it’s a top-three lake because of the lodgings and quick access to the water.”
TEXAS, LAKE FORK
“For many years, Lake Fork has produced limits of crappie,” stated Wally Marshall. “Back in the 1980s, I was the first crappie guide on Lake Fork. Lake Fork was teeming with black crappie in the early years. Fishing the bridge pilings was profitable. And the black crappie swarmed under the shadow of the bridges, making daily limits a breeze.
“Now that the tide has shifted on Lake Fork. It’s teeming with huge white crappie, with some nice black crappie thrown in for good measure. White crappie prefers to cling to exposed wood, submerged wood, and brush heaps. The grass lines, brush piles, and bridges are popular hangout spots for black crappie. Lake Fork has it all, and you can catch crappie using about any strategy you can think of. It’s simple to see why Lake Fork is at the top of my list. Whether you favor vertical jigging timber, casting to cover, shooting docks, or lazy trolling.”
“There’s a reason Lake Fork is at the top of my list,” Kevin Rogers explained. “For capturing gigantic crappie. There is no other lake like it.” They slam jigs more than any other crappie in the country. My idea about Lake Fork crappie is that they spend their entire lives hiding, running, and swimming. Away from those massive 10-pound Texas largemouth bass. As a result, they’re harsh and cruel! It’s hands down my favorite lake from February to May, and it’s still beautiful the rest of the year!”
MISS. GRENADA LAKE
It’s difficult to argue that Grenada isn’t the finest chance right now for catching. It’s not just your biggest crappie but also your most significant limit of crappie. Following the March 2021 Crappie Masters contest. During that one tournament, 46 teams caught crappie weighing more than 3 pounds. With several groups having 5-10 fish at more than 3 pounds.
The winning weight was 42.84 pounds for 14 crappies, with an average of 3.06 pounds per fish. The pressure on this fishery is immense. And yet it continues to produce monster crappie and set records year after year.
“I know it’s a broad statement, but Grenada is perhaps the nicest lake I’ve ever visited. In terms of both fish quantity and size,” Robert Carlisle stated.
“It’s crazy that you can’t see your jig in an inch of water on this body of water,” Matt Rogers said. “Yet Grenada offers a chance at a once-in-a-lifetime catch. Grenada’s fish regularly exceed 3 pounds, and there are plenty of them. On Grenada, as on many other lakes. Whatever technique you choose to utilize is a possibility depending on the time of year.
“What makes Grenada unique is the prospect of catching a 3-pound fish. The abundance of shad populations and the fact that it is a one-of-a-kind lake. It allows the fish to grow so enormous. The fish move around a lot, and the current high water levels have kept them safe. And away from angling pressure, allowing them to grow. It’s a must-visit destination!
“The top crappie trophy destination in the United States,” according to Jerry Hancock. “Grenada should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for your first 3-pound crappie.”