I've been trolling for Crappie for about a year now and would like to share some of what I've learned.
I do a long line/flat line troll, I use 1/32 and 1/16 oz. jigs. I also use fluorocarbon line on spinning rods of various lengths, we only have 2 lakes in this state with a limit on the # of rods you can use ad it's 3 per person... the rest of the lakes don't have a limit. I usually troll 6 rods, 2/ 10 footers, 2/ 8 footers, and 2/ 5 footers. I have 4 individual rod holders on each side of the boat starting from the middle of the boat to the transom. I set my rods out with the 10 footers furthest from the transom, then the 8 footers, the the 5's... one of each on each side of the boat.
I use my 55 lb. Motorguide Wireless trolling motor instead of the outboard. I troll at speeds from 0.8-1.2 mph.
I use 2 inch plastic curly tail grubs on my jigs, preferably Southern Pro Hot Grubs or Kalins.
Jig depth depends on size, type, and length of line out, plus the speed of the boat. I use 6# fluoro and get about 6' with a 1/32 and about 11' down with a 1/16 at 1.0 mph. You can use floats/corks/bobbers for shallower water.
Jig color is trial and error, take an assortment and keep changing until you find the one they like the best. Brighter colors usually work better on sunny days and darker colors on cloudy days. Acid Rain works in almost all conditions.
Fast forward to this past Sunday and Monday.
Had a friend up from Baton Rouge for his annual Spring Crappie fishin' trip. I had just started trolling for Crappie when he came up last year and we did ok under fairly good weather and water conditions last year, we caught about a dozen nice fish on a one day trip.
This year was completely different, we had good weather... but the water was totally screwed up from the 6' of rain we had gotten 2 days before his arrival.
Sunday the lake was 3' above flood stage with the current ripping at about mach 1 with the flood gates open at both ends of the lake, the water was chocolate milk muddy with all kinds of debris floating around. We fished anyway and were only able to scrounge up about 8 little bass and 1 catfish for a full day of trolling. The weather was sunny and warm enough to give my buddy Lester a good sun burn.
Yesterday was a little different, the sun was in and out from behind clouds and after about 11 am a stiff breeze started blowing out of the southeast. They had dropped the lake level by 2', so now it was only 1' above flood stage. The current was still ripping and the debris floating everywhere. However, when the wind picked up it blew the majority of debris to shore... this was a big plus!
We were able to get to a little cove we couldn't get to the day before because you have to go through a culvert under a road to get there and the boat wouldn't clear the top Sunday by a few inches.
The cove is usually about 8' deep at full pool and was 9' deep yesterday... perfect! We started out trolling 1/32 jigs in various colors in 6-7' of water and caught a couple of nice keeper Crappie, but the debris was terrible, mainly pine needles, leaves, and branches. You had to reel in the jig every few minutes to clear the trash from it. I decided to switch to a 1/16 jig with a float 6' above it, this helped with the trash a little because it would stop the trash from going all the way down the line to the jig and we caught a few more nice fish.
When the wind picked up I noticed it was blowing the debris to the back shore and that area was now clean, but it was very shallow... only 3-4' deep. I thought what the heck and suggested we move our floats to 3' above the jig and try that area... good call! It was tough controlling the boat in the wind, but we started whacking the Crappie!!! I mean killing them! I lost count of how many doubles we had, either we would catch one off of each side of the boat, or 2 rods would go off on one side of the boat.
After changing jig colors and keeping up with which color was getting bit the best we had it down to 2 colors, Popsicle ans Acid Rain. Popsicle outperformed Acid Rain by a fair amount... but AR took some nice fish too.
Trolling speed was best at 0.9 mph.
This a Popsicle jig and grub.
Pink on one side and dark purple on the other with a chartreuse tail
This is the Acid Rain.
Yellow on one side and white on the other with a chartreuse tail with chartreuse glitter.
And these are the fish.
43 for the day with over a dozen 14" or better.
These are the 2 biggest the best we could tell.
This is Lester with his cooler full of Crappie and no room for ice.
Trolling for Crappie is a great way to cover a lot of water to find fish and then catch them after you've found them... and it still works well even if you're only allowed to use 1 rod.