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Crappie Fishing in Muddy Water (Best Lures, Baits, and Colors)

Crappie Fishing in Muddy Water (Best Lures, Baits, and Colors)

Catching crappie in muddy water can be a lot of fun and highly productive, but you will have to apply the right techniques and use suitable lures and colors to be successful.

Knowing how to catch crappie in muddy water mostly comes down to lure and bait selection. Going with minnows on the natural side and black or chartreuse colors when going artificial will put you in the best possible position to catch stained water crappie. 

Read on if you want to find out more about the best lures, baits, and colors for crappie fishing in muddy water.

PRO TIP: Need to gear up for your next crappie trip? Then check out this quality equipment on Amazon.

It’s very decently priced, extremely durable, and will catch you a ton of slabs!

Where to Find Crappie in Muddy Water? 

a fisherman on his boat holding two nice crappie caught in murky water
Courtesy of Randy Reese

How you find crappie in muddy water instead of clear water does not differ in a super difficult or debilitating way. 

First, you need to figure out if the muddy water is constant or because of a specific event. If the body of water is always muddy, you can use the same tactics time after time.

If immense flooding or a different factor is muddying the water, you will need to look at the body with a fresh set of eyes and go accordingly.

The most significant change is that you cannot sight fish. When you cannot see through the water, you obviously cannot see the crappie.

So, you have to rely on the tips below to find the crappie and cater a presentation that works best for hooking up. 

Especially in muddy water, you can find crappie near wood structures and other types of heavy cover.

When this is the case, they feel most comfortable with staying close or hiding in thick cover.

Find that, and you’ll find the fish!

Best Lure Colors for Crappie in Muddy Water?

When it comes to chocolate milk or tea-colored water, the color of your presentation is crucial. If visibility is low for you, it’s low for crappie as well! Natural colors will blend right in and become invisible. So, you need to use contrasting colors to stand out. 

The best three lure colors for crappie in muddy water are:

  • Chartreuse

Chartreuse is a popular fishing color that is similar to neon green. The bright color strikes well with crappie and other species. Chartreuse is best paired with white as they complement each other very well. 

  • Blue
  • Black 

Blue and black is a go-to combination with any stained water. The black provides contrast from the muddy water and allows the dark blue to pop.

Although you may think black does not work because of its dark color, you would be surprised at how well it works when paired with another color. 

These colors provide an excellent contrast to the muddy, brown water. If you love using natural greens, yellows, and oranges, be wary, as they will blend right in. 

What Are the Best Baits for Crappie in Muddy Water?

a crappie angler on his boat holding a slab that he caught on a bladed jighead
Courtesy of Craig Nichols

Because vision is restricted in muddy water, your lure choice could not be more critical. Here are a couple of the best lures for crappie in dirty water. 

Bladed Jig Heads

Jigs are universally good crappie lures, no matter the water condition or visibility. In dirty water, using a bladed jig head in combination with a small soft plastic jig is a deadly weapon for crappie!

They both give off a lot of vibration and, with the right colors, have great visibility in such conditions. With a lure like that, you’ve already won the battle!

When you can throw a jig down in the colors mentioned above, there is an excellent chance that it’ll produce plenty of bites. 

You can find an incredibly effective bladed jig head for crappie on Amazon here


One of the best dirty water lures is the spinnerbait. Spinnerbaits have an outstanding amount of flash and vibration. These are two aspects that can really up the ante in muddy water.

The combination of spinner blade and jig makes this lure a top pick for muddy water fishing, as you’ll most certainly get a lot of sound and movement out of it!

Check out the perfect micro spinnerbait for crappie in muddy water on Amazon here


One of the larger lures for crappie is a crankbait. I much prefer cranks with large lips and rattles, as they’ll give off so much more vibration and sound, which is perfect for low visibility conditions underwater.

No matter if you cast or troll them, crappie love this type of lure and will often hit it extremely aggressively. So, if sight is limited, this is a great option, as they combine intense action with a lot of noise.

If you want to take a closer look at one of the best crappie crankbaits on the market, you can find it on Amazon here

Live minnows

If you can produce some live bait, minnows are definitely the way to go.

Minnows are a natural food source for crappie, so you’ll match the hatch in the most perfect of ways.

Plus, their scent is very strong, which is precisely what you need in muddy water.

Additionally, live baits move around a lot and produce lots of vibration underwater. Perfect for muddy water slabs! 

So, to sum up: the keys are scent, visibility, and vibration for any lure or bait used in muddy water. 

Can Crappie See in Muddy Water?

a happy angler on a lake with a very big stained water crappie
Courtesy of Dale Dodson

When water visibility is low, crappie won’t rely much on sight but rather on their other senses to navigate around and find food. They will both smell and feel their way around much more intensely than they would in clear water conditions.

So, fish attractants can be a smart way to grab the crappie’s attention. When that sense of smell is heightened, be sure to take advantage and draw crappie toward your presentation.

Some artificial lures come scented, but you can buy a spray or jar of liquid to apply more scent to your lures if they do not. 

The other sense that is relied upon when sight is not in the equation is feel. More specifically, all types of vibrations are picked up by the crappie’s lateral line, so using lures that sound and vibrate a lot allows for increased hookups and more bites. 

You know when the water is muddy because you can easily see it. Using the tactics and lures mentioned above can make all the difference! 

RELATED ARTICLE: What Is the Best Fishing Line for Crappie?

Closing Thoughts

No matter if the water you’re targeting is clear or stained, the fish will always have to eat! Just be sure to shift your focus to lures and colors that work in muddy water. It’s all about adapting to the conditions at hand.

When you can make that transition to vibrations, strong scents, and fitting colors, the chances of you hooking up will increase tremendously. So, use the tips above to learn how to catch crappie in muddy water!

Good luck and tight lines! 

Essential Gear Tips

If you’re looking for solid and reliable crappie fishing gear, these tips might be useful for you.

This gear and tackle is of top quality and sells at a very decent price on Amazon:

Fenwick Eagle 7′ Light Crappie Spinning Rod

A solid and popular all-around spinning rod! This Fenwick rod is lightweight, has great sensitivity, and phenomenal action. Fits both beginners and seasoned anglers. A 6’6” or 7′ light rod is your best pick for crappies.

Pflueger President 10 Spinning Reel

An affordable high-performance spinning reel that’s perfect for crappie. Pflueger spells high quality and awesome durability! Makes for a great combo together with the Fenwick spinning rod. A size 10 is a solid choice for crappie!

Power Pro Braid

One of the best braids available today! Zero stretch, great feel, and immense strength make this line the perfect pick for crappie! Use a 6-8lb test in open water and a 10-15lb test when fishing near or in heavy cover.

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Featured image courtesy of Craig Nichols