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Lakes country panfish guru Tony Mariotti monitors water temperatures closely each year to dial in exactly when crappie begin to push shallow and spawn as those temps hit the 60-degree mark. Since the fish are up shallow this time of the year, you can easily spot crappies with your eyes and a pair of polarized sunglasses. A good place to start looking is any patch of emergent vegetation or sand/weed transition.

Once you’ve located crappie from a distance by seeing either the fish or their shadowy figures, cast to them from afar. It’s crucial to avoid spooking them and blowing the fish out into deeper water. To further reduce the odds of spooking, use your bow-mounted trolling motor’s spot lock feature to hold your position and fish silently. Spot-locking is generally quieter than dropping a conventional anchor and reduces the amount of moving around that it takes to get set in position.

Mariotti relies on a slip bobber for quick and easy depth adjustment during this often transitional period that moves crappie between multiple depths. Below the bobber is a 1/16-ounce Northland Tungsten Crappie King jig tipped with a crappie minnow.

When it comes to shallow spring crappie fishing, especially in clear water, remember to use stealth and spot them before they see you. Stay versatile by employing a slip bobber and practice catch and release during this vulnerable, but fun time, to catch crappie.

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