Crappie are fun to catch and an incredible-tasting freshwater fish. Many fisherman try to filet crappie, only to be frustrated (especially on the smaller ones), as they typically do not have as large of a filet as a largemouth bass or striped bass, for example.
In this article, I’m going to show you step-by-step how to filet a crappie. I’m going to show you two different ways on the same fish.
Below are two different ways to clean crappie like a pro!
How To Clean Crappie Step-By-Step
Time needed: 3 minutes.
How to Filet crappie (2 ways)
Cut down backbone with filet knife
Make an incision at the head, turn the knife and follow the bones of the spine with the tip of the knife. Cut all the way down past the tail.
Cut the underside of the crappie.
Make another incision, this time from the bottom of the fish between tail and anal fin. Run the tip of your filet knife all the way to the pelvic fin.
Filet meat away from the spine.
Working again from the top of the fish, pull the meat away from the spine, as you use the knife to get meat away from the rib bones.
Once you have exposed the ribs, you can insert your filet knife at the back of the ribcage and cut through it, cutting toward the head. Once you finish cutting at the head, cut the filet off right at the gil.
Remove skin from back of filet.
Cut down into meat at the tail, holding the end of the tail against the cutting board. Begin cutting between meat and skin, cutting away from you. As you cut, you can move the tail back and forth, which will move the knife further down the filet, until it exits at the other end of the filet.
Cut out the ribcage.
Once you have removed the skin, cut out the ribcage from the filet. Done!
Do other side of fish (second method)
Now that you’ve fileted one side of the fish, let’s do the other side, but in a slightly different manner. This time, instead of cutting through the ribcage, cut the filet off the fish right at the top of it.
Remove skin and compare two filets.
Once you have cut the filet off the fish near the top of the ribcage, it will look like you left a lot of meat on the fish. However, once you remove the skin as you did before and lay them side by side, you will see they are nearly identical. The only difference is that you didn’t have to cut through the ribcage (dulling your knife) and then remove it.
In the bodies of water where walleye are found, this fish is a very popular and sought-after species among anglers.
In fact, many anglers fish solely for walleye and very rarely fish for anything else.
There are guide, charter and tackle services that focus exclusively on walleye. Read on for tips about how you can catch this predatory fish!
This has spawned a niche in the fishing industry in which many guide and charter services, along with tackle businesses, focusing solely on the walleye species.
So, let’s take a look at some great tips and tricks to find and catch walleye. If you are new to walleye fishing, these tips will undoubtedly help you put a hook N1 the next time you are on the water.
Location, Location, Location
When it comes to real estate, property values and businesses, location is one of the most important aspects.
Walleye fishing is no exception!
Fish not only in areas where walleye are known to be (like points, reefs and humps), but also fish for them their at the right times (read more below!)
It may seem obvious, but you can’t consistently catch walleye if you aren’t fishing in areas where walleye visit or feed on a regular basis. And, you should always be fishing in spots where they can be found based on the time of the season or current conditions.
If you are fishing in a new lake, you should be studying it in detail before you even touch a fishing rod.
You should key in on areas like rocky points, mudflats, sandbars, islands, reefs, and mid-lake structures like humps.
Weed lines and the drop-offs adjacent to them can also hold large numbers of walleye under the right conditions.
In rivers, you should search out deep holes, eddies, troughs along banks, flats, and timber.
Prime Walleye Fishing Conditions
Fishing for walleye in the early morning and at dusk are typically the best times of day, as walleye like to feed in the lower light.
Early mornings and dusk are the prime times to fish for walleye as they normally feed in these low light conditions as well as at night, thanks to their eyes being perfectly suited for the task.
If fishing after dark, target shallow areas. The walleye will typically push up in the shallows to feed on schools of minnows.
This doesn’t mean walleye don’t feed in the daylight hours, though, and a great time to fish for them during the day is when there is an overcast sky.
The cloud cover during overcast conditions will diffuse the light, and the low barometric pressure you are likely to have at this time is a great trigger to get the walleye into a positive feeding mood.
Inclement weather can cause the perfect conditions for a walleye’s instinct to feed and can be a great time to be out on the water, providing conditions are safe enough to do so.
Heavy waves and windy conditions diffuse the light and stimulate the walleye’s instinct to feed, and this can be a great time to be on the water. Just do so safely. (The term “walleye chop” is something you will frequently hear among the walleye angling crowd, and this is nothing more than wave action in the form of “choppy waves.”)
You can also catch walleye in sunny conditions during the day, although it may be significantly harder, and the fish are probably in deeper water out from the structure or suspended in the basin of the lake.
Crankbaits, jigs and soft paddle tail lures are some great options for catching walleye.
There are a plethora of lures out there made specifically for walleye, and they react positively to most of the common lure types on the market.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of tackle used in walleye fishing.
Crankbaits can be used both by casting and trolling to entice the walleye bite (photo credit: fishusa.com)
Crankbaits can work great for catching walleye, both casting and trolling.
In river fishing situations, fishing after dark, and in many other situations, crankbaits can help you catch fish and cover water quickly.
Trolling crankbaits can be the most effective way to catch walleye when fishing large bodies of water, and is the primary tactic in places like the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair in Michigan, The St. Lawrence River, and Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin, and other large bodies of water where you have to cover miles of structure or the basin for suspended fish.
Used with soft plastics or live bait, you can fish a jig pretty much anywhere. Timber, weeds, flats, down a drop-off, rip rap and rock, you name it, are all areas where you can effectively use a jig, though you may lose a few to snags; that’s the nature of the game when it comes to jigging.
Jigging works great if you have specific spots that are likely to hold large numbers of fish but are incredibly large, like holes in rivers, points, humps, and other areas. This is due to the slow nature of jig fishing, and it shouldn’t be used as a search bait in most instances.
Lure size and color is a critical component to catching walleye.
Contrary to what some believe, it’s not true that walleye only eat small bait, so don’t shy away from larger lures for trophy walleye. (photo credit: Amazon)
While there are no rules laid in stone, we can look at some general tips to follow when it comes to lure size.
During tough fishing conditions, it might be a good idea to downsize if you are struggling to get strikes.
And, while there is a common perception that walleye only eat small prey and look past larger prey, this isn’t necessarily true.
Soft-paddle tail lures can be an effective bait to use for catching walleye. (photo credit: fishusa.com)
Larger, soft paddle tail lures in the 5 to 6-inch range have been very effective for anglers.
In fact, musky anglers sometimes accidentally catch trophy walleye on lures ranging from 8 to 10 inches. And, while I don’t recommend using musky lures to catch walleye, it just goes to show that the tiny lure-only school of thought isn’t necessarily true.
Color can sometimes make the difference in getting that finicky walleye bit. Don’t be afraid to mix it up!
While color doesn’t necessarily matter as it pertains to triggering most predatory species of fish to strike, in most cases, it definitely seems like walleye prefer certain colors at any given time.
I have seen days where lime green was the color that was most productive, and days later, the only thing walleye would touch was a combination of purple and chartreuse on the same sized jig as the lime green jig.
When walleye fishing, be sure to try different colors to see if the fish are keen on something particular.
Although fishing for walleye can be tough at times, you have to get started sometime!We hope you put a hook N1!
Walleye fishing can intimidate beginners, and they have a reputation among many as being an incredibly challenging fish to catch. However, the difficulty in catching them is blown out of proportion a bit.
While there are times when catching walleye can be incredibly tough, that can be said of any fish.
At the end of the day, just get out and fish. There’s no better way to learn than by experience and time on the water.
Worms, and more specifically nightcrawlers, are a great live bait option for largemouth. (photo credit: Farm and Dairy)
The imitation of worms make up a huge sect of the artificial lure market, so going right to the original source can be beneficial. Specifically, nightcrawlers are great for largemouth due to the size and scent.
To enhance the look, you may need to use a Texas rig or some sort of jig setup. This will get the worm down in the water column quickly and into the strike zone.
Bluegill are a favorite of largemouth bass. Be sure to check your local game laws regarding the use of bluegill as bait (photo credit: Wisconsin Dept of Natural Resources)
Especially in the northern United States, largemouth feast on bluegill.
Stick with smaller bluegill and hook them through the mouth or back fin to let the fish move around naturally.
The more coloration the better, as this is what grabs attention.
The most interesting of the four is the peacock bass. These are only found in Hawaii, South Florida, and the Amazon River. So, the fishing opportunities are a bit limited for most people. However, if you can target peacock bass, here are the best live bait options.
As with many other subspecies of bass, peacock bass will eat minnows (as well as other native small fish). Due to the availability of minnows at most bait shops, these can be a great live bait option as well.