Okeechobee Crappie Fishing Lake Okeechobee is a freshwater fisherman’s paradise. Not only is it world famous for its trophy bass fishing, but Lake Okeechobee is also home to fish like catfish, bluegill, redear sunfish, and crappie. In fact, crappie is the most sought-after pan fish on the lake. Crappie are also known by many other names including speckled perch, speck, and papermouths. They get the name papermouth because the skin around their mouths are so thin, you can practically see right through it. Lake Okeechobee With Lake Okeechobee being the second largest freshwater lake in the continental United States, next to Lake Michigan, it is home to millions of freshwater fish- a dream for fishermen of every kind. Lake Okeechobee is actually so large that it is half the size of Rhode Island. It spans an area of 720 square miles and holds over 1 trillion gallons of water. The lake was named for its size from the Seminole Indian words “oki,” which means big, and “chubi,” which means water. So, its name literally means “Big Water.” Lake Okeechobee makes such a wonderful home for fish like crappie because of the rich plant life below its surface, even though it hasn’t been as plentiful as it once was. In 2004, hurricanes Frances and Jeanne tore through Lake Okeechobee and took a large toll on the plant life that support crappie. After many years, the plant life is finally recovering, and the black crappie population has rebounded. According to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) biologists, the population of black crappie in Lake Okeechobee has been stable since 2011. In fact, studies show that, since 2010, fishermen have regularly been catching over 3 crappie per hour on the lake. How to Find the Crappie Crappie are known for hanging out near large schools of shad. They can easily be spotted on a depth finder and in water as deep as 25 feet. Since Lake Okeechobee has an average depth of 9 feet, crappie in the lake can be slightly easier to find. Areas such as the canals along the lake is where the water deepens, and the depth finder comes in handier. While crappie can be caught year-round in Lake Okeechobee, the late fall to early spring is the best time of year for crappie fishing. And the best crappie fishing is early or late in the day. Once the water temperature reaches 65 degrees, the crappie will move from deeper, open waters to shallow waters closer to the shore. The best fishing on the lake is along the southeastern, western, and northern areas of the lake. Try to stick within a mile of the shore for the most success. Crappie like to spend time along the marsh edge and in and around vegetation and plants such as hyacinths and hydrilla. To save you time searching for the perfect spot to catch crappie, our guided tours can point you to the perfect spot to keep reeling them in on the day you head out there. How to Catch the Crappie Over 40 years of experience leading guided fishing tours on Lake Okeechobee has taught us many things about fishing for crappie. For starters, crappie will pounce on frogs, crickets, worms, grasshoppers, and most any fish smaller than itself. Using plastic imitations of any of these creatures for bait will surely get the crappie’s attention. Another fantastic bait that works really well is a minnow. Also, when choosing a jig, the weight matters. The weight you need depends on the weather and conditions of the water on the day you go out on the lake. You will definitely need a heavier jig, such as 1/4-ounce head, for windy days with tumultuous waters and on calmer days, you can go with a lighter jig, such as a 1/64-ounce head. Some anglers have even noted that certain colored jigs work better in certain areas than others including a yellow and green jig combination in the north part of the lake and a red and gray combination in the west. Our guides keep a close eye on the conditions of the lake and would be happy to help you choose the right equipment for your excursion. One thing to keep in mind when fishing for crappie is the thin skin around their mouth which gives them the name papermouth. This translucent skin is so thin that it can tear pretty easily when reeling it in. It can happen before you know it, so, we recommend carrying a landing net for scooping your catch into the boat before the skin tears, releasing the fish from the hook. We want all of our visitors to be successful and experience the thrill of reeling in that large catch! There are several crappie fishing regulations in place on Lake Okeechobee to help the crappie population continue to thrive. The bag limit for crappie is 25 crappies per person per day. The possession limit is two days bag limit per each licensed angler. Any crappie caught under 10 inches must be released back into the water. Follow these regulations to ensure that everyone can enjoy the experience of fishing on Lake Okeechobee for many years to come. We love giving guided fishing excursions just as much as you like going on them, so let’s protect the crappie population! More Than Just Fishing Just venturing out on Lake Okeechobee is a wonderful experience. The lake is home to so many species of animals and plants, you’d be surprised just what you’d see on a fishing excursion! Visitors love learning about the wildlife and nature in and around the lake, and out guides love sharing it. Crappie fishing on Lake Okeechobee provides you with more than just fish. You will have a great appreciation for this great lake and the nature that surrounds it after spending a few hours out on its water. After a few hours out on the lake, we know you will love Lake Okeechobee just as much as we do!