Homemade Structures and Placement

Author: Matt Foster

As most of you already know, as it’s no secret, crappie relate to cover. This can be anything from rocks, stumps, brush piles, or even homemade cover. If you haven’t ever made yourself a homemade crappie condo then I highly suggest it for several reasons. One reason I prefer to make my own crappie structure is I can put it where I want it and I know exactly where it is. If I’m fishing a tournament and don’t want to fish on the same stump that all the other anglers are fishing on then I don’t have to. If you have that one “honey hole” that you want to make sure crappie stay in longer throughout the year, then homemade crappie structures are exactly what you need. The main reason I prefer to make my own structures is, although it may be a lot of work, the reward of catching a crappie off structure you made is very gratifying.

What makes a good homemade crappie structure? It doesn’t have to be some elaborate conglomeration. In this paragraph I will tell you how I make my homemade structures on the cheap. I start with a five gallon bucket. I will cut the bucket in half, so I then have two. Buckets can be obtained on the cheap if you know where to look. I get mine from a local cake maker who buys 5 gallons of icing at a time. You can also get them from your local drywall contractor as well. I will purchase a sixty pound bag of Quikrete from the hardware store. The one bag will made about fifteen crappie structures if mixed properly. Next I go to the woods with a chainsaw or pair of limb cutters. I try to find fairly straight tree limbs that are between 2” and 4” in diameter. I cut the limbs approximately five foot in length. Once you have your limbs cut, the hard part is over. I put roughly five to eight inches of concrete into one bucket half. While the concrete is still wet, I put five to six limbs inside, and push all the way to the bottom. After a day or two of warm weather, the concrete has set and the structure is ready to be placed into your favorite spot.

That is the cheap way to make a crappie structure. There are manufactured structures that you can buy online such as Moss Back Fish Habitat, Porcupine Fish Attractors, and Pond King Honey Hole Grass Fish Habitat to name a few.

No matter which crappie structures you decide to do, placement is key. I have put some structures out three years ago that have not and will not hold fish to this day. I’m still not 100% sure why some spots are like this. I had an older gentleman tell me once that after putting his structures out, he would break a salt block up in baseball size chunks and throw into the water. He said the salt attracted the bait fish, which in turn attracted the crappie. I have yet to try this to see if it works or not. I have placed crappie structures in just about every depth of water. My best and most consistent crappie structures are in less than six foot of water. As a rule of thumb, I place five to six structures in one area.

I know several great crappie fishermen that have great success with structures in deeper water too, so it really all depends on what lake you are fishing. If putting them out for the first time, put them in several different depths to ensure success.

Also check with your lake manager to see if putting crappie structures in your lake is legal as some lakes prohibit them.