Classic lake-run crappie hotspots like fast-warming bays and canals attract plenty of spring slabs when the rush to the shallows is on, but they draw plenty of attention from fish-hungry anglers as well.

One way to avoid a mob scene is by targeting overlooked hotspots in rivers and streams.

Across Lindy Land, crappies are found in waterways of all sizes, from the mighty Mississippi River to small creeks you can wade across in spots.

The trick to connecting with spring crappies in these systems is finding the right combination of water temperature, food and current (or lack thereof).

Since crappies don’t care for strong currents, you typically find them behind current breaks, tucked tight to shoreline cover and structure, or in connected slack-water areas. Depending on the size of the river or stream, this can be a marina, side channel, slough, oxbow or simply a small cut where fish find refuge from the flow.

Such safe havens are especially important when spring rains raise the river and boost the current. Conversely, where current is light, crappies may slide into the main channel, resting and feeding below woody cover and other breaks.

When fishing lakes and reservoirs, remember incoming streams and rivers can concentrate crappies, too. The fish may move upstream a short distance or gather around outflows.

Locating fish often hinges on pitching 1/16- to 1/8-ounce jigs such as Lindy Fuzz-E-Grubs, Little Nippers and Watsit Spins into likely areas. Slowly fish your jig as close to cover and structure as possible. Where conditions allow, you can also suspend your jigs under small Thill floats.

Many times, such tactics are just the ticket to epic catches of feisty crappies other anglers miss. Keep them ready in your bag of tricks to make this your best spring yet.