The Ultimate Table Rock Lake Crappie Fishing Guide

Jun 19, 2018

The Ultimate Table Rock Lake Crappie Fishing Guide | Table Rock Lake Fishing Tips | Westgate Resorts
By Rich Weidman

Why the Crappiest Fishing in Branson is at Table Rock Lake!

Renowned deadpan stand-up comedian Steven Wright once made the astute observation, “There’s a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot.” It’s obvious that Wright doesn’t know crappie about fishing at legendary Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri! Table Rock Lake has always been known for its excellent bass fishing, but it also has developed a growing reputation as the place for anglers to go for quality black and white crappie fishing as well. In fact, crappie enthusiasts from all over the country make their way to Branson (aka “The Live Entertainment Capital of the World”) with their main goal being the singular pursuit of crappie fishing.

Looking for Table Rock Lake fishing tips for black and white crappie? By utilizing the comprehensive Table Rock Lake Crappie Fishing Guide below, you will become extremely well versed in the proper crappie fishing techniques during your angling excursion to Table Rock Lake such as discovering the very best crappie fishing spots at the lake, as well as the best time of year to cast your line for crappie.

Getting to Know Table Rock Lake

A scenic man-made lake that encompasses 43,100 acres with an impressive 745 miles of shoreline, sprawling Table Rock Lake (aka “The Rock”) lies within the beautiful Ozark Mountains in southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas. Here are some other amazing facts about Table Rock Lake:

  • Table Rock Lake was formed in 1958 after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dammed the White River and created the 252-feet-high Table Rock Dam.

  • In addition to crappie and largemouth bass, Table Rock Lakes is home to channel catfish, walleye, bullhead, spotted bass, carp, paddlefish, flat head catfish, warmouth, striped bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, long ear sunfish, bluegill and white bass, among others.

  • Although anglers of all ages head there for world-class fishing, Table Rock Lake also provides abundant boating, sailing, waterskiing, wakeboarding and hiking opportunities.

  • Portions of the 1.5-million-acre Mark Twain National Forest surround Table Rock Lake.

  • A detailed map of Table Rock Lake can be found on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website.

Classifying Crappie, And Other Fishy Fun

A very popular freshwater game fish among anglers, crappie are a member of the sunfish family and consist of two species: white crappie (Pomoxis annularis) and black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus). According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, both black and white crappie can be found at Table Rock Lake; however, “black crappie are becoming increasingly more abundant.” Here’s some more interesting crappie trivia:

  • The name “crappie” is thought to come from the French Canadian phrase “crapet-soleil,” which loosely translates to “sunfish.

  • Crappie weigh up to 5 lbs., measure up to 20 inches and live an average of 10 years in the wild.

  • Other names for crappie include papermouth, shiner, speck, grass bass, moonfish, crawpie, strawberry bass, speckled perch, crappie bass, dirty sunfish, oswego bass, speckled bass and calico bass, among others (one fishing aficionado refers to them as “slabby sunfish”).

  • Famous angler and TV host Bill Dance once remarked, “To many, crappie fishing will always be the humble sport of the masses.”

  • Today, populations of crappie can be found in all 48 contiguous states and in portions of Canada.

Crappie Cues and Fishing Forecasts

President Herbert Hoover, an avid angler, once remarked, “Fishing is the chance to wash one’s soul with pure air. It brings meekness and inspiration, reduces our egoism, soothes our troubles and shames our wickedness. It is discipline in the equality of men – for all men are equal before fish.” Indeed, fishing is quite often referred to as an art form and this definitely applies to crappie fishing. Before you head out on your crappie fishing adventure at Table Rock Lake, review the following surefire tips:

  • Although crappie can definitely be caught at Table Rock Lake year-round, spring is always the best time to go crappie fishing here (for the record, fall is the second best season for crappie fishing).

  • One of the best times to fish for crappie during the spring is in April when crappie spawn at Table Rock Lake. Crappie can often be found in shallow waters during this period, but tend to move to deeper waters after the spawn.

  • Crappie are a schooling fish that can often be found in large concentrations under submerged structures like fallen cedar trees and limbs, brush piles or weed beds, as well as under boat docks.

  • Note that three river arms of Table Rock Lake – James River, Long Creek and Kings River – hold the majority of the crappie population in the lake.

  • Crappie can be caught in a variety of ways, including small jigs, minnows, artificial lures, bobbers or spinnerbaits.

  • When crappie fishing, be sure to maintain a tight line since crappie have a soft lip and can easily shake the hook if the line is too loose.

  • Use a depth/fish finder and/or topographical map (many of which you can find for free on the Internet) to help in your quest to spot crappie.

  • Be aware that crappie restrictions for Table Rock Lake include a 10-inch minimum length limit and daily limit of 15. Note that daily limits are strictly enforced!

  • Mark your calendar for the annual “Crappie Fishing for Beginners” seminar hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation and held at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center in mid-March.

Feeling crappie? Head out to Table Rock Lake and try your luck at one of the best crappie fishing spots in the world! Don’t forget to purchase your fishing permit (required for Missouri residents 16 to 64 years old and non-residents 16 years and older), which you can do by simply visiting the Missouri Department of Conservation website. Note that fishing without a permit at Table Rock Lake is illegal and could result in a hefty fine. Looking for the ultimate lake resort experience to setup your crappie fishing extravaganza? During your crappie fishing trip, enjoy spacious accommodations, world-class amenities and first-rate hospitality at Westgate Branson Woods Resort in the heart of the scenic Ozark Mountains or Westgate Branson Lakes Resort, the premier choise of Branson resorts on the lake, perfectly positioned along the shore of Table Rock Lake. So go get them while they're biting,... and relax! It's okay (for once) to have a crappie day!