Manufacturers sell lures that attract fisherman. Sure, you can catch fish with them too. Some folks seem to think color comes into play . . . and it does. However, I am beginning to think that color may be just another advantage to land something that very well may tag your fly at most anytime.
I am sure that structure helps when targeting crappie. I do also believe that those tubes and jigs help attract panfish. BUT, I also believe that . . . and this is obvious, you can catch crappie anytime you want . . . GIVEN THE PROPER SETTING . . . structure, water temps, etc.
Spring time is as good as any to hit these puppies . . . and I always do well on Clousers. Chartruese and white. Pink and chartruese and brown and yellow . . . tied to sinking line. I was landing some today on a Bett's Popper using sinking line - the fly was below water and fish were still hitting it.
I was foul hooking them and catching them as I repositioned my kayak . . . ahhh, today was awesome. If you are looking to be successful when fly fishing for crappie, I would suggest early Spring. Use minnow patterns and strip your line in slow to medium pace. They do tend to soft strike but they can also hammer the heck out of the fly too.
They are a good fight on a 3 wgt. and 5 wgt. And as today, they fought well on an 8 wgt. I hooked my biggest slab ever but did not boat it. I figured it for a large bass. I would say it was at least 3 lbs. YUMMY! It was pretty.
I fished some structure but did better along one side of the bank - picking up singles, not really hitting a school. If it wasn't for the wind picking up, I figure instead of landing 10 crappie, it may have been 20.
One of my best outings for crappie . . . and large bream. Just a thought - here I am tying all these flies and I am still mosty using store bought flies, lol.