The 9 Best Crappie Lures of 2022

Reel in the slabs using our list of lures for every crappie fishing situation

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Best Crappie Lures

TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong

Fun to catch and good to eat, both crappie species are much sought-after by freshwater fishermen in the US. However, these attractive and aggressive panfish are known for their picky habits when it comes to the type of artificial lures they’ll attack. This is because crappie has a varied diet, and behave quite differently depending on the season and other factors including water temperature and clarity. So, lures that work well one day may not necessarily get picked up the next; with slight variations in size, shape, color, or action making all the difference. Soft plastic jigs, swimbaits, crankbaits, and spinners can all work in the right conditions.

With this in mind, here are the best crappie lures for covering all bases.

Best Overall: Strike King Mr. Crappie Slabalicious Bait

Strike King Mr. Crappie Slabalicious Bait

Strike King

What We Like
  • Great paddle-tail swimming action

  • Suitable for different fishing styles and scenarios

  • Available in a wide range of colors

What We Don't Like
  • Not the most durable option on this list

  • Multi-packs are only available in a single color

Designed in collaboration with the legendary Wally Marshall, the 2-inch Strike King Mr. Crappie Slabalicious Bait is a firm favorite in the much-loved Mr. Crappie range. It stands out for its tapered profile and large paddle tail, which together create an aggressive swimming action that crappie can’t resist. Intended for use with a wide range of techniques—including casting, trolling, flipping, and pitching—it can be rigged in different ways to suit most crappie-fishing seasons and settings. 

Hooks sit firmly in the tough plastic head, while the tail is made of more flexible plastic for maximum vibration. Sold in packs of 15, this lure comes in a choice of colors, from all-rounders like Chartreuse Shiner to the more natural Glimmer Blue (great for clear water), or the vibrant Pink Tuxedo (for dark or stained water). Many variations use contrasting colors on the head and tail to catch the fish’s attention and trigger their predatory instincts.

Best Feathered Jig: Lindy Little Nipper Jig

Lindy Little Nipper Jig

Fish USA

What We Like
  • Hand-tied and glued for superior durability

  • Glow options available for low visibility conditions

  • Two lures included in each pack

What We Don't Like
  • Subtle action may not be as effective on certain days

  • Some reviewers say paint chips easily

Feathered jigs have a more subtle action than other lure choices, resulting in a continuous, natural movement that often proves irresistible to crappie even when they’re otherwise reluctant to bite. For this reason, they’re especially effective when the water temperature drops and the fish are less active. The Lindy Little Nipper Jig is praised by reviewers for its effectiveness and durability, featuring a high-quality hand-tied and glued feather tail in two contrasting colors. 

The use of contrasting colors mimics the counter-shaded appearance of many baitfish species—an illusion reinforced by the jig’s painted eye. The lure comes in a range of colors to suit different fishing conditions, from muted clear-water choices such as white or pink to bolder colors ideal for stained water, including black and chartreuse/lime. Glow-in-the-dark options work particularly well in low light conditions, i.e., when ice fishing. Choose from three different sizes: 1/16 ounce, 1/32 ounce, and 1/64 ounce.

Best Soft Plastic: Bobby Garland Stroll’R Soft Plastic Crappie Lure

Bobby Garland Stroll’R Soft Plastic Crappie Lure

Bass Pro

What We Like
  • Delivers great action even on slow retrieves

  • 28 different color combinations to choose from

  • A dozen lures included in each pack

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other soft plastic lures on this list

  • Action may be too aggressive on certain days

The 2.5-inch Bobby Garland Stroll’R Soft Plastic Crappie Lure is specifically designed to provide maximum action when strolling or slow trolling, for crappie. In fact, it claims to deliver more action from head to tail than any other crappie bait—a declaration supported by a host of satisfied reviewers. The lure’s over-the-top movement is caused by the clever corkscrew design of its soft plastic paddle tail and can trigger a feeding frenzy when crappie are at their most aggressive in spring and fall. 

The impact of this vibration is enhanced by the use of contrasting colors on the head and tail (although there are some single-color options available for a more subtle approach). Others feature glitter flecks for added shine and visibility. Whatever conditions you’re likely to face on your next crappie fishing adventure, a choice of 28 different colors ensure that there’s an option for every scenario imaginable. Each pack includes 12 lures.

Best Plastic Tube: Strike King Mr. Crappie Joker Bait

Strike King Mr. Crappie Joker Bait

Dick's Sporting Goods

What We Like
  • Designed for maximum movement with minimum effort

  • 21 different single and double color choices

  • Affordable price for a pack of 15 lures

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers report some colors are often out of stock

  • Better for vertical jigging than horizontal

This list’s second offering from the tackle box of Strike King crappie expert, Wally Marshall, the Mr. Crappie Joker Bait is another top choice when shopping for plastic tube lures. Measuring 2 inches in length, the lure features a corrugated body made from solid plastic capable of withstanding repeated bites. Then, instead of a single tail, it has three vibrating appendages, each tipped with a small ball for increased action. 

This lure is especially effective at drawing crappie out of hiding, making it a great choice when jigging vertically around stumps and brush. Even the slightest twitch of your rod tip causes an exaggerated movement that these natural predators find difficult to ignore. There are 21 colors to choose from, most of them with a contrasting head and tail and some with glitter pieces for increased visibility in stained or dark water. Order your favorites in packs of 15.

Best Swimbait: Berkley PowerBait Pre-Rigged Swim Shad

Berkley PowerBait Pre-Rigged Swim Shad

Berkely Fishing

What We Like
  • Pre-rigged for ultimate out-of-the-pack convenience

  • Lifelike design featuring 3D eyes and foil inserts

  • Attracts multiple species

What We Don't Like
  • More expensive than other options with fewer lures per pack

  • Not as visible in dark or stained water

The Berkley Powerbait Pre-Rigged Swim Shad comes in three sizes: 2, 3, and 4 inches. The two smaller sizes tend to be best for crappie fishing, although reviewers report that they can be deadly for several other species, too—especially bass. Each one is pre-rigged with a premium hook and features a paddle tail for realistic, high-action movement. What makes these lures stand out, though, is the incredibly lifelike design. 

There are 16 variations to choose from. Each one perfectly replicates the juvenile of a common crappie prey species such as shad, bass, perch, or bluegill. The HD Tru Color design is made even more effective by holographic foil inserts (to mimic scale flash) and a 3D eye. Although the lure’s lifelike design and relatively muted color choices work best in clear water, each one is infused with Berkley’s trademark PowerBait attractant for results in any situation.

Best Shallow-Water Crankbait: Rebel Super Teeny Wee-R Lure

Rebel Super Teeny Wee-R Lure

Dick's Sporting Good

What We Like
  • Shallow diving depth of up to three feet

  • Small size is perfect for fishing around structure

  • Four realistic baitfish designs to choose from

What We Don't Like
  • Only available in one, very small size

  • Costly for a single-lure product

If you’re looking for the ideal shallow-water crankbait for probing niftily around rocks, stumps, and brush without getting caught, the Rebel Super Teeny Wee-R Lure is a great option. Designed for walking just under the surface or cranking up to three feet deep in streams, ponds, and lakes, it’s small enough for intricate work with a length of 1.5 inches and a weight of just 1/8 ounce. And, its fat profile creates a wiggling action that’s difficult for crappie (and several other species) to resist. 

The lure comes in four realistic, iridescent designs meant to mimic a range of prey species including bass, brown crawfish, and Tennessee shad. As such, it’s a must-have in your tackle box for whenever the crappie are feeding on small baitfish. Once they commit to a bite, a double set of treble hooks makes it almost impossible for them to spit the hook. The only downside? This is a relatively expensive purchase for a single lure.

Best Deep-Diving Crankbait: Band-It Series 200 Crankbait

 Band-It Series 200 Crankbait

Bass Pro

What We Like
  • Different series offer different max depths

  • Internal rattles for maximum vibration

  • Vast array of colors and patterns to choose from

What We Don't Like
  • Pack includes one lure only

  • Expensive compared to other lure choices

There are three series of Bandit Crankbait; of them, the 2-inch, quarter-ounce Series 200 option is probably the most effective for targeting crappies with a maximum diving depth of 8 feet. If you want to go even deeper, the heavier, longer-billed Series 300 can get you to 12 feet—which is the better choice depending on the specifics of your local fishing spot. Either way, this lure is a great option when targeting crappie during the summer, when they tend to seek refuge from the heat in deeper water. 

Highlights include a wide, wobbling action and a compact, baitfish-mimicking profile enhanced by internal rattles for added sound and vibration. There are a whole host of colors to choose from, ranging from realistic Silver Minnow to the extra high-vis Taco Salad. According to reviewers, these crankbaits can be depended upon to run true straight out of the box. And, if you get entangled in submerged structures and have to cut them loose, they often float to the surface for easy retrieval. The Series 300 can be found here.

Best In-Line Spinner: Mepps Aglia Spinner

Mepps Aglia Spinner

Dick's Sporting Goods

What We Like
  • Iconic design renowned for catching trophy fish

  • Available in plain or dressed styles

  • Multiple blade colors to choose from

What We Don't Like
  • May need to buy several due to highly specialized design

  • Expensive for a single lure

The Mepps Aglia Spinner is somewhat legendary among freshwater fishermen for its ability to catch almost any species depending on the size and style you use. For crappie, the best choices are the plain or Dressed Mepps Aglias in sizes #0 or #1. Dressed lures feature a skirt of natural squirrel tail or bucktail that presents a larger profile for targeting trophy fish; although plain lures often produce greater numbers. If you opt for a dressed spinner, you can choose from a variety of different colors including black, chartreuse, white, and red. 

Blade color also varies, for maximum visibility in any water condition. Finally, you can opt to switch out the lure’s standard treble hook for a single hook—useful if you plan on fishing in locations where the use of treble hooks is banned or you're practicing catch-and-release. Dressed and plain Mepps Aglia Spinners in these same sizes also work well for other sought-after species, including white bass, perch, and bluegill.

Best for Ice Fishing: VMC Tingler Spoon

VMC Tingler Spoon

Rapala

What We Like
  • Vertical wobbling action

  • Large, holographic eye for added realism

  • Great for targeting other ice species, including walleye

What We Don't Like
  • Not as versatile as some of the other lures on this list

  • Only one lure included in each pack

Ice fishing for crappie is a completely different ball game. For the best results, we love the VMC Tingler Spoon. Available in three sizes ranging from 1 inch (1/16 ounce) to 2 inches (3/16 ounce), the spoon features a special curved, V-shaped design that allows for a wide, wobbling action on the descent. This movement replicates a wounded baitfish, and serves to attract opportunistic predators into the strike zone beneath your hole. 

The spoon comes in an impressive choice of colors, from Gold Shiner to Perch. Some are intended to closely mimic baitfish species, while others are attention-grabbing, glittering holographic attractors. The brand’s signature UV Bright Finish reflects extra light for unparalleled visibility even in dark, stained waters; while Ultra Glow models glow underwater for up to 15 minutes. Once the crappie bite, the top-quality VMC treble hook keeps them on the line while you reel in.

Final Verdict

The best crappie lure is a subjective choice that depends on where, when, and how you prefer to fish. However, for an inexpensive all-rounder that consistently delivers in a variety of different scenarios, we recommend the versatile Strike King Mr. Crappie Slabalicious Bait (view at Amazon). 

What to Look for in Crappie Lures

Size

Crappie are fickle fish to target, with different lures yielding different results depending on the season, your location, and the specific conditions on the day. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all rule when choosing a lure size. Anything from a tiny 1/32-ounce lure to those weighing a quarter ounce or heavier can work; while the optimum length range is usually between 1.5 and 3 inches. Generally speaking, the larger the fish, the larger the lure—but because you may not know the size of the crappie that will be biting, it’s best to have a range of lure sizes in your tackle box

Buoyancy 

The buoyancy of a lure defines its action, sink rate, and position in the water column—all hugely important factors when considering which will work best on any given day. Buoyancy is affected by lure material, density, and design. For example, streamlined lures made of metal or hard plastic will sink faster than those made of soft plastic or with a large surface area. Buoyancy also depends on how you rig the lure. A soft plastic jig that rises quickly through the strike zone can be given a slower action with the right weighting; while knot and hook position can make a lure that naturally suspends in a vertical position flatten out for a more realistic baitfish action. 

Max Diving Depth 

The correct max diving depth depends on several different factors but most importantly, season and water temperature. In spring, crappie spawn in shallow water (usually within 10 feet of the surface); in fall, they hunt aggressively at similar depths. In summer, crappie seek cooler depths near the thermocline; while winter also drives them down away from surface ice. In these seasons, you’ll want to focus on the 20- to 40-foot range. How deep your lure can go depends mostly on how you rig it, the weights you use, and the size and type of fishing line. When fishing with a crankbait, lip size determines the depth it dives to upon retrieval. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are there crappie-specific jigs?

    Some lures, like those in Strike King’s Mr. Crappie range, were designed specifically with crappie fishing in mind. However, as user reviews testify, that’s not to say they aren’t just as effective for other species that have a similar diet or are attracted by the same action. The majority of lures on this list are meant for many different species—it’s the size and color you choose that make them most effective for crappies.

  • Will crappie jigs work with other fish?

    Absolutely. Crappie jigs are designed to entice a bite by mimicking the species’ natural prey—usually small baitfish like minnows or shad, but sometimes insects, worms, or other creatures. Crappie have a very diverse diet that overlaps with other fish found in the same habitats. Depending on the style, size, color, and action of the lure you choose, it could be just as effective at catching other fish including bass, walleye, and trout.

  • Will other jigs work for crappies?

    Depending on their design, lures purchased for targeting other species may also attract crappies. Their effectiveness will depend on a number of factors including season, water temperature, water clarity, and how the crappie are behaving on the day. As long as the lure mimics the prey crappie like to eat, is of a manageable size, and can be seen by these voracious sight feeders, it has the potential to reel them in.

Why Trust TripSavvy

As a professional scuba instructor, Jessica Macdonald spends much of her time on the water and has tried her hand at many different fishing techniques. She also comes from a family of keen fishermen, with plenty of experience that she was able to draw from for this article. With the help of opinion pieces written by several different crappie fishing experts, she created a long list of possible lures to include. These were then divided into different categories, and a winner for each was chosen according to industry reputation and countless user reviews.

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