Crappie fishing can be excellent in Utah if you know where to look. Several lakes offer anglers the chance to fill a bucket with tasty slabs. We’ll show you the best.
You can target crappie from Lake Powell in the south to Pineview Reservoir in the north, and several stops in between.
The average size of larger crappie in Utah is typically between 10 to 12 inches, though bigger fish can be found.
Crappie have been introduced in several lakes as a forage fish for bigger, toothier predators. In most cases, it’s been successful and now provides great crappie fishing.
Crappie Fishing Techniques
Crappie love cover. Find willows, submerged branches and trees, and taller weeds near shore.
The best time for them in Northern Utah is mid-May through June. They are the most active as the water warms up to 57° or so. That happens earlier in Southern Utah, where you can find them active as soon as mid- to late March.
Target crappie with the aptly names crappie jigs in green, white or yellow color patterns. Add three to four feet of light leader and a bobber. Toss the jig next to the structure, and the waves take care of the rest.
Watch the bobber for the strike and lift the rod firmly in one movement. Because of their famously soft mouths, a hard hookset will just catch you a pair of fish lips.
Deeper crappie can be caught by vertical jigging from a boat or dock, and casting or trolling small crank baits, spinners or other minnow-imitating baits can be a good way to find them.
Once you catch one crappie, give that spot a thorough try. Crappie are schooling fish, so veteran crappie anglers know they often can fill their bucket more quickly by working over an area where the are congregating.
Target crappie early or late in the day. They tend to feed in the mornings and late afternoons. Go after them until just past sunset.
If fly fishing, use a small streamer and a weight forward (WF) fly line with a 4-5 wt fly rod. Early spring can be successful with nymphs, though they want minnows and larger insects as the water warms, so adjust your fly patterns accordingly.
For many more simple tips and techniques, check out our crappie fishing how-to guide.
6 Top Crappie Fishing Lakes in Utah
The following are our favorite half dozen crappie fishing lakes across Utah.
Willard Bay Reservoir
One of the best crappie lakes is close to home at Willard Bay, just off I-15 by Brigham City, just 20 minutes north of Ogden.
Willard has a good crappie population, and they can be super active at times. If you get on the right spot, you can fill a bucket with slabs in no time.
The marinas are the best locations for crappie. Test out the rocky jetties if nothing’s biting in the marinas, though you shouldn’t have issues finding them.
Bring the kids along. Crappie fishing is a great way to learn how to fish.
Try fishing for the channel catfish, walleye, and lots of wipers cruising around the reservoir if the crappie aren’t biting or you’ve simply caught enough and are looking for a new adventure.
Pineview is just north of Ogden and a 45-minute drive north of SLC. It’s worth the trip for the crappie, bluegill and smallmouth bass fishing.
Pineview has a lot of submerged timber that gives crappie the perfect habitat.
The best spots from shore are on Cemetery Point and along the west side near the reeds.
Boats do well along those points and have more access to the lake’s southern end, where the shoreline is too steep for bank fishing.
Tip the same green, white or yellow crappie jig with a bit of worm, and you’ll be in business.
The bluegill might become bothersome in spots; just move down the shore a few yards to get away from them.
DMAD is an excellent little crappie fishery just outside of Delta. It’s under two hours to drive from Salt Lake City and gets less pressure than other reservoirs in Utah.
This warm-water fishery has white crappie, which aren’t found in many places in Utah.
The lake is shallow, so the best technique is to tie a chartreuse curly tail or a marabou jig on a 1/32oz to 1/8oz jig head. Use two feet of leader and a bobber. Let the line drift in the breeze or do a slow retrieve.
Fly fishing for crappie can be very effective here. Small streamers retrieved very slowly work. Poppers can be fun if the fish are near the surface.
Yellow perch and white bass are everywhere in DMAD. Largemouth bass, pike, and catfish round out the list, so try your luck chasing some of Utah’s more fearsome game fish!
Utah Lake is easily accessed off I-15 from Lehi to Provo.
Any boat harbors and reed-covered areas along the shore hold black crappie along with white bass and yellow perch. Largemouth bass are ready to tear up a crappie jig or anything that imitates bluegill.
Crappie can school up in the marinas. Most marinas allow fishing from the docks and have added structure to attract panfish.
Standard crappie tactics work well, and the number of crappie in the lake can make for some fast action.
You’ll find cover and opportunities for crappie along the eastern shoreline outside the marinas. Most of the shoreline is accessible by boat, though the water gets pretty shallow.
Utah Lake offers quite a bit of warm water angling, including the species mentioned as well as some of Utah’s best walleye fishing.
Lake Powell is a 5 ½ hour drive from SLC and is the perfect getaway for a serious crappie enthusiast. The lake has too many bays and coves to count, and crappie love all of them.
Find an area with brush and submerged timber. There are several close to the Wahweep Marina that are perfect for crappie. Check with the tackle shop at Wahweep and get the latest info.
Crappie can grow to very nice slabs here, including the Utah state record of 3 pounds, 5 ounces.
Crappie are active starting in late March and remain so through mid-May. Standard crappie techniques will work, though the chances of catching bluegill here are just as high as crappie.
If you’re marking fish on your finder and keep being overrun by bluegill, move 15 yards in either direction, and you should be okay.
Fish the docks when allowed, and you’ll pull in a bucket full in no time.
Newton Reservoir is a short drive north of Logan, about two hours north of Salt Lake City. The lake is relatively shallow and has plenty of cover for crappie, bluegill and yellow perch. Largemouth bass are everywhere.
Crappie are stacked up along the reeds, and around any structure you can find.
Fish a worm below a bobber and drift it in the breeze. Once you’re on a school, the action is quick.
Catfish, bass and lots of bluegill love this lake and can grow to larger sizes than most reservoirs in Utah.