Alabama has a wealth of warm freshwater lakes and streams, and one of the favorite fish to catch in all those places is the crappie.
This fish is one of the best-tasting freshwater species, and it is also fun and easy to catch. Many anglers start fishing for crappie in small ponds or lakes before graduating to bigger fish, but we’d recommend fishing for these scrappy panfish whenever you get the chance.
In this article, we cover the two species of crappie you will find in the state of Alabama and our top 20 locations in “The Heart of Dixie” to catch crappie.
As with many states, there are two crappie species in Alabama: Black and white. Anglers can definitively distinguish these two species by their dorsal spines and dorsal fin length.
On the water, it’s easier to see that white crappies tend to be longer in shape and have vertical bands on their side. Black crappies tend to be rounder with darker and more speckled bodies.
The black crappie state record is 4 pounds, 5 ounces. In comparison, the largest white crappie confirmed in Alabama is 4 pounds, 9 ounces.
Occasionally, hybrids that are a mix of both species can be caught, but for the most part, Alabama’s crappies are either white or black.
What Do I Need to Catch Crappie in Alabama?
At a minimum, you need a basic fishing license and a simple rod and reel. For more on how to angle for crappie, please see our crappie fishing guide linked at the bottom of this article.
Alabama’s Best Crappie Fishing
Crappie can be found in many lakes, reservoirs, ponds, or low-current backwaters of big rivers in Alabama.
Crappie often stage near structures such as fallen trees and stumps, docks and piers, weeds, and bridge supports.
In rivers, crappies tend to move into backwaters or behind structures that break the current. They aren’t as often out in the strong current.
While you indeed can catch crappie in hundreds of places around Alabama, we’ve whittled down the list for you to a still-substantial list of crappie hotspots spread out across the state. We suspect there’s one within a reasonable drive for you.
Size: 32,000 acres
Location: Northeastern Alabama
This northeastern Alabama lake is shallow but rich with both black and white crappie.
Seriously, how could you go wrong with a place that has earned the nickname “Crappie Capital of the World”?
That said, crappie are famously cyclical in their populations, so some some years will be booming, and some may lean at least a little more toward bust. But Weiss is a better bet than many to be on fire given decent water conditions.
With plenty of locations to jig in Weiss Lake, anglers can hit their stride during the spring spawning season, but summer and fall also are great times to be on the water at this Coosa River reservoir near the Georgia state line.
Spawning crappies tend to start moving into shallow water along shorelines in the late winter or early spring, and this is when they are easiest to find and catch.
At other times of the year, crappies often hold in water that is a bit deeper than average for Weiss, meaning 10-15 feet is a good range to try.
When fishing at Weiss Lake in the summer heat and into the early fall, try prospecting the flats off the main Coosa River channel in over 10 feet. The lower reservoir has plenty of mid-depth flats where crappies hold around stumps, rock piles, and artificially placed stake beds.
Remember, when you find one crappie, more are likely to follow. If not, look for similar structures and depths because that first one already showed you where they are wanting to hold.
Size: 43,000 acres
Location: Border of Northwest Alabama and Mississippi and Tennessee
This sprawling lake crosses three states’ borders and is one of the best lakes for many types of fishing between Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
An impoundment of the Tennessee River, this gigantic lake is full of shad, minnows, and crawfish, keeping the black and white crappie population well-fed.
Additionally, this lake is full of sunken trees and stumps, brush piles, and other submerged structures, making it a crappie angler heaven for those in the know.
Finding the crappie in such a huge place can have its challenges.
The easiest time to locate aggressive fish is late winter to mid-spring when larger crappies move close to the shoreline to spawn. They will be concentrated in fewer locations in this early season, making them easier to pick off.
Otherwise, make good use of your eyes and your electronics to find likely holding structures.
Size: 15,500 acres
Location: Northern Alabama
To the north of Wheeler Lake, this Tennessee River impoundment near Muscle Shoals is home to a healthy population of white crappie.
Wilson Lake features many docks, creek mouths, and coves with a steady current throughout most of the lake, hence the dense population of the white variety of crappie.
From the dam’s northern end, anglers can find excellent crappie locations such as McKiernan Creek and Indian Spring, offshoots of the main channel with heavily forested cuts that provide shelter for hungry panfish.
Farther into the lake, anglers will find Shoal Creek, a massive and winding cut that snakes its way north of the border with Tennessee.
Saint Florian Branch and Brush Creek are both angler favorites within the larger Shoal Creek area for their shallow water coves filled with structure.
Fourmile and Sixmile creeks are additional crappie hotspots, with Sixmile sneaking its way through a slew of docks and descending into a system of sandbars and shallow channels. Fourmile Creek consists of a series of shallow coves riddled with docks, making it an excellent jigging location for crappie.
Poplar Creek provides anglers a bank for everything, with the western shore housing docks, the eastern shore full of overhanging trees and brush piles, and the southern coast a series of sand bars. Anglers can usually switch shorelines if the crappies aren’t biting and find fish without leaving the creek.
Town Creek and Big Nance Creek also can yield their fair share of crappie. Keep in mind that the closer to the dam you go, the stronger the catfish and striper populations get, and both predators will eat smaller crappie.
Size: 67,070 acres
Location: Northwestern Alabama
This massive Tennessee River impoundment offers prime black crappie fishing in northwestern Alabama.
Wheeler Lake’s myriad small islands, cuts, and channels make it such a popular largemouth bass location, but that type of cover also boasts many big slabs.
This big body of water beneath Wilson Lake has several excellent crappie spots throughout its middle and lower portions.
Lucy’s Branch is the first significant crappie hotspot on Wheeler Lake. A small cutoff of the main lake features Lucy’s Branch Marina and hundreds of yards of undercut bank to the right side of the cut.
On the left side, docks provide structure for jigging, and anglers can even motor downstream to Dogwood in search of slabs.
Farther south, Mallard Creek is a series of coves that dead-end into shallow channels and sandbars. With several docks at the front of the creek and a back cove protected by the Country Road 400 bridge, the angling here is spectacular even when the main lake is rough.
Farther south, Bakers Creek and Bailey Creek offer some more easy offshoots for crappie anglers to get out of the primary current.
However, one of the biggest offshoots of the lake is Limestone Creek. This significant cove dead ends into Mooresville Spring.
With a launch at Arrowhead Boat Ramp, crappie anglers can spend all day fishing around a secluded series of small forests and islands, creek channels, and points in Limestone Creek.
The Limestone Slough is seated in the northeastern portion of this creek and is your best bet for finding big crappie.
The overhanging trees and submerged root systems that riddle this almost Amazonian maze of small waterways are unlike any location elsewhere on the lake in their ability to produce big black crappie.
Size: 6,800 acres
Location: Central Alabama
Featuring both a central lake and a diversion, Lake Jordan has some of the best crappie fishing waters near the middle of the state.
Anglers can target structures such as sandbars, bridges, creek, and docks to find black crappie throughout the lake.
This reservoir on the Coosa River may seem a little slow to the north end, where it begins below Mitchell Lake. However, the farther downstream you go, the better the crappie angling gets.
Launching straight out of the Lakeview Marina, anglers can head into Pinkston Creek or Shoal Creek searching for big crappies lurking under the copious amount of docks lining the shores.
Catching big fish doesn’t always mean a long boat ride. Plenty of anglers limit out on black crappie by jigging beneath the boat docks in front of luxurious homes on both sides of the lake.
Sofkahatchee Creek is another excellent location to target crappie on Jordan Lake. Riddled with sand bars, coves, and overhanging trees, this location is also a favorite of black bass.
Anglers can launch from Rotary Landing and follow the creek system beyond bridges carrying the new and old US Highway 231 roadways.
The Lake Jordan diversion has also yielded some decent crappie fishing at its northern end, where it branches off into a cove lined with docks and undercut banks, perfect for jigging.
West Point Lake
Size: 25,864 acres
Location: Southwestern Alabama
Though this big lake in southwestern Alabama is a spotted bass hotbed, anglers shouldn’t overlook the strong black crappie population in West Point Reservoir.
With a mean depth of 23 feet, this lake features many rocky points. The handful of submerged structures you find will be fish magnets.
Anglers should note that the portion of the lake upstream from the Highway 109 bridge is off-limits to Alabama fishing license holders due to the conservation agreement between Alabama and Georgia, which share this lake.
Veasey Creek, Caney Creek, and Hudson Lake are three excellent fishing locations.
Hudson Lake is the northernmost location, and its forked shallow cove offers grass beds, shallow points, and overhanging trees where anglers can draw out crappie.
This is the best location on the entire lake to target on rising reservoir levels. Incoming water pushes the bait fish and crappie deep into the trees at the water’s edge and makes for some excellent structures you can target.
Caney Creek is a small creek system to the east of the Hudson Lake area, across the Georgia line.
In this area, anglers can hammer the crappie along several sandy points, docks, and plenty of overhanging trees.
The very back of the creek offers a deep grass bed that consistently yields a solid crop of crappie and bass. If you like cork fishing, this location is the way to go.
Veasey Creek runs northwest, far across the Alabama state line and is full of shallow coves, undercut banks, and a handful of docks.
Up into the creek past Chambers County 266, the dock fishing is excellent. Anglers who like to jig for crappie will find few places better at West Point Lake.
While you’re here, the bass fishing also is excellent up into Finley Creek in this area.
Size: 8,300 acres
Location: Western Alabama
The Aliceville Reservoir, also known as Pickensville Lake, offers top-notch crappie fishing in the backwaters of the Tombigbee River.
Hosting white and black crappie, this lake shares a border with Mississippi and is popular with anglers from both states.
Aliceville is one of the few Alabama waters that boasts a substantial population of crappie well above the 9-inch minimum the lake maintains.
Resembling the brackish waters of Louisiana’s coastline, the marshy series of channels here harbor some excellent crappie fishing at Aliceville Lake.
While there is no wrong answer to finding crappies throughout the maze of channels here, anglers can target three excellent locations to hook into some big slabs.
The Pickensville Cutoff is marked by a small island in the midst of the channels that offer sandbars, cuts, and several small, secluded ponds where anglers will have little trouble ripping into black crappie.
Cork fishing is better than jigging here as you can reach into the back of several southward-facing cuts and draw out beautiful slabs.
The Coalfire Cutoff is another top-notch location where anglers can jig over a series of grass beds and brush piles to catch both black and white crappie.
The secret here is to fish at higher water levels, when the small ponds are accessible by boat. That’s when anglers can best access these secluded hotbeds of crappie.
The northern portion of this cutoff is also a famous fishing hole, but it can be shallow in certain places, so anglers should pay attention to the fish finder to avoid running aground.
The final location we’ll recommend at Aliceville Lake is Broken Pumpkin Creek, a relatively open series of coves for anglers to fish their way through.
Jig the northwestern cuts for the white crappie or fish the small oxbow lake on the western shoreline with corks for sizeable black slabs.
Size: 45,181 acres
Location: Northern Alabama
Also known as Walter F George Reservoir, this is simply a crappie paradise sitting on the Alabama-Georgia border.
With the steady flow of the Chattahoochee River to its north and emptying through the Walter F George Lock to the south, the constant flow of freshwater keeps this sprawling lake rich with baitfish for hungry crappie.
Crappie fishing is solid throughout most of the lake. However, there are a handful of spots that are better than others.
Cowikee Creek is a marshy madness where anglers can work over grass beds and brush piles to pull up big crappie. Heading farther into the creek, anglers will reach Hills Lake, which holds a solid population of white crappie.
Further down, Chewalla Creek is never bad for anglers targeting any species on Eufala Lake.
An extended cut into the western shoreline, there are a handful of docks to jig around. However, the best crappie angling occurs along the forested southern shoreline, where fallen trees host schools of bluegill and crappie.
To the creek’s rear, a series of small islands offer some excellent undercut bank fishing. Farther back, anglers will find several shallow-water pockets with overhanging trees to try their luck.
Finally, Sandy Creek is a dock paradise where anglers can rip lips with massive slabs jigging beneath the artificial structures.
Instead of heading into the cuts like most other locations, stick to Sandy Creek’s main body and work around the docks. Fish the docks nearest to the main lake at low water levels. When the water comes up, target the innermost docks for your best chance of success.
Lake Eufaula also is world-famous for having some of the best bass fishing around.
Size: 5,930 acres
Location: Southwest Alabama
The lowermost impoundment of the Alabama River System, this mid-sized reservoir holds a solid black and white crappie population.
With 10 public boat access areas, this is an easy choice for crappie anglers with a boat.
Claiborne is home to a variety of minnows, shad, and crawfish, a favorite of both crappie and the various bass species that inhabit these waters.
While this location is better known for catfish fishing, there certainly are a few crappie hotspots throughout Claiborne Lake where anglers can hook into big slabs.
To the north, Silver Creek is a large cove fed by a small channel that connects it to the main river. The heavily forested shoreline here features fallen trees, small coves, and sand bars where anglers can jig for big black crappie and even catch a few catfish along the way.
Particularly the eastern set of submerged trees in the cove is a prime jigging location, but anglers should also use their fish finder to get over submerged structures in this shallow feeding ground.
Isaac Creek is another location where anglers can head into narrow, forested waterways littered with submerged structures.
This location is better for kayaks as the water gets very shallow in several spots, and the submerged structure can cause damage to larger boats.
That said, anglers will have little trouble cork fishing for crappie here, and the snaking creek yields plenty of shorelines to work.
The final crappie hotspot in the Claiborne reservoir is the marsh system off of Big Flat Creek. Here anglers will take a feeder creek into an estuary-like environment that is nothing but still water on top of brush piles and bushes.
Cork fishing the marshy points has proved to be the best technique here, but if you bait up with a shad, don’t be surprised if something larger than a crappie takes the bait.
Lewis Smith Lake
Size: 21,000 acres
Location: Northern Alabama
With thousands of acres of Northern Alabama’s prime fishing real estate, Lewis Smith Lake holds some excellent black and white crappie fishing.
A sprawling lake comprised of branches connected through channels, the lake’s footprint resembles modern art in its splatter paint-esque shape. However, the crappie fishing here is anything but spotty.
There are plenty of excellent crappie fishing holes along this lake, but below are the top three slab hotspots you should target.
Doctor Harris Spring Branch is a large cove lined with miles of docks. If you enjoy jig fishing for crappie, this is your go-to spot.
Take care to keep some distance from the piers themselves, as some homeowners can be territorial here, but if you can get a jig or cork beneath a dock, the crappies won’t be far behind.
Pigeon Roost Creek is another location where anglers can target the docks for jigging. Still, its beauty shines in the back, uninhabited coves where brushy shoreline and submerged structure make up a black crappie feeding ground.
Although plenty of bass are in this area, anglers should stick to the fish finder in search of brush piles and fallen trees to get onto the crappie bite.
Brushy Creek is your final hotspot, and it’s as good as it gets for crappie fishing in Lewis Smith Lake.
Anglers will find a few docks near the mouth of the creek, but the best angling takes place along the northern shoreline past Speegle’s Campground.
The brushy shoreline has several fallen trees and a few deep points that yield excellent crappie fishing. But, in the unlikely even that doesn’t work, head back to jig the docks.
Size: 1,980 acres
Location: Central Alabama
Locals also refer to this moderately-sized reservoir as Middle Pond, though what you want to know is that it is home to some monster black crappie.
The upstream portion of this lake favors striped bass and the occasional largemouth bass, but anglers don’t have to head too far downstream before getting into some nice black crappie.
The best locations on Yates Lake for crappie are three creeks in the central and southern portions of the lake.
The northernmost area, Channahatchee Creek, shoots deep into the western shoreline. Offering a forested shoreline with undercut banks, it branches into several shallow coves at its terminus.
Jigging the banks and cork fishing the back coves is sure to yield a solid stringer of black crappie.
Further down the eastern shoreline, anglers can head into long and winding Sougahatchee Creek. This channel is lined with small coves and inlets with sunken trees and brush piles throughout, making them a haven for crappie, particularly when bad weather hits the main lake.
The final location we’ll suggest on Yates Lake is Coon Creek, just south of Sougahatchee.
This is the shortest of the three creek locations on our list. A handful of docks hold a substantial population of crappie, while the southern shoreline’s overhanging trees make for a top-notch combo of bass and crappie fishing.
Your single point of entry for boating into the lake is the launch near the Yates Dam, where anglers must take a boat ride upstream to hit these creeks.
Size: 5,850 acres
Location: Southeastern Alabama
This Chattahoochee River reservoir is a hotbed of black crappie fishing. Splitting the Georgia-Alabama border, Lake Harding is riddled with coves, cuts, islands, and docks, making it an optimal crappie fishing location.
The shad population in this lake contributes to it being a crappie gold mine, and anglers should take advantage of the large schools of these baitfish roaming near brush piles, submerged logs, and undercut banks.
This maple leaf-shaped lake has several hot spots for crappie that anglers should specifically target to limit out quickly.
To the north, Osanippa Creek snakes out west with a galore of docks for jigging. The deeper into the creek you go, the more sand bars and cuts appear, and anglers will find plenty of crappie upstream during spawning season at this location.
Anglers can head into Mountain Oak Creek to the east of Osanippa Creek on the opposite shoreline. The angling here is amazing due to the undercut banks, submerged structures, and several large sandbars.
The small pocket near the end of Helen Road may be your best bet for black crappie in the entire lake, and anglers will fair well here using a cork.
The final location on the lake that I recommend is the southwestern series of bays near Tillery Crossroad. The shallow bays to the south are ripe with crappie, and anglers can navigate the cuts to locate brush piles among the sand bars to limit out in no time.
Size: 5,885 acres
Location: West-Central Alabama
This reservoir just north of the University of Alabama is a solid choice for crappie anglers looking for an easy-to-access location.
Rich with gizzard shad and threadfin shad alongside several species of minnows, the white crappie population here is somewhat average by Alabama’s high standards. However, the lake’s main draw is its easy angle and access location.
Lake Tuscaloosa snakes its way south with various offshoot cuts that prove to be better fishing holes than the main lake itself.
Working south, Dorsey and Tierce creeks provide refuges from the main reservoir that are lined with shallow coves rich with black crappie and bluegills. Anglers looking to jig this location should target the handful of docks down the creek or the overhanging trees on many of the points.
Farther south, Hamner Creek is a cut that heads deep inland with miles of uninhabited shoreline that is nothing but undercut banks and overhanging trees.
This area is a favorite of crappie when the wind kicks up on the main lake, and anglers will find the fish at the creek’s deepest recesses near structure.
The two Yacht Club bays can offer some excellent angling, but the heavy traffic of boats can make the locations hit or miss. Target the outermost docks and work your jig away from the structure for the best results.
Cedar Creek Reservoir
Size: 4,200 acres
Location: Northwestern Alabama
This impoundment is an excellent location for anglers to hook into both black and white crappie.
Rich with gizzard shad and minnows, the variety of offshoots and cuts that line this lake provides some top-notch fishing holes in Cedar Creek Reservoir.
This lake has several excellent locations anglers can target.
The northeastern portion of the lake offers a series of coves ad cuts off of Lick Creek. Hester Branch sits deep inside Lick Creek and yields some decent white crappie angling beneath the docks on the northern shore and forested southern bank.
East Lost Fork Creek forks around a forested point and splits into two shallow water bays where anglers can catch white crappie above 9 inches.
Another hotspot for white crappie is Massey Branch to the south. A series of dueling forks offer shallow bays and forested shorelines. The western fork contains several docks anglers can jig around, while the eastern fork offers overhanging trees and sandbars.
Finally, Granny Branch to the west provides the best black crappie angling in the lake.
A series of coves and islands in Granny Branch offer grass beds and overhanging trees, both favorites of black crappie.
Jigging along the bank is a great choice, but anglers can also work a cork baited with small shad or nightcrawlers into the back of cuts.
Be prepared when bait fishing, because Cedar Creek Reservoir also has some of the best catfish fishing in Alabama.
Additional locations we recommend where anglers can target crappie throughout Alabama include Logan Martin Lake, Neely Henry Lake, and Dallas County Public Lake. Lake Martin has produced one of Alabama’s ties for state record white crappie.
Crappie are always popular for Alabama anglers, and they have plenty of places to catch these slab panfish.
From massive reservoirs to farm ponds, anglers catch crappie across the state from a boat or the shore, bringing home plenty for a delicious fish fry.
Before setting out on your next crappie fishing trip, purchase a fishing license and check all local and state regulations. As always, good luck, and stay safe out on the water.
Crappie Fishing Techniques and Tips
Learn about the equipment and methods used to catch the most slabs in our simple crappie fishing guide, including top crappie fishing baits, lures, and fishing spots.