Crappie - World Fishing Network

Crappie

Posted by on Mar 14, 2000   4:54 AM  | Fishing Tips & Techniques
White Crappie White Crappie US Army Corps of Engineers

Appearance

The black crappie is easily confused with the white crappie. The black crappie, however, is deeper bodied and silver-green in color, as opposed to the white of its counterpart. White crappies have vertical dark bars going down the sides, while black crappie have irregular black blotches. White crappie males may develop dark coloration in the throat region during spawning, while black crappie undergo no color transformation. The dorsal fin has seven or eight spines and the gill covers also have spines.

Maximum Size

Up to 5 pounds (2.26 kg).

Geographic Range

Crappie can be found in all of the 48 lower States. Black crappie can be found in parts of southern Canada, while white crappie is predominantly only found in southern Ontario.

Habitat

Crappie are usually associated with standing timber and brushy cover in lakes. In the spring they inhabit the shallow ends of coves, later moving to water 15 feet (4.5 m) or more deep.

Food

Insects, crustaceans, zooplankton, and small minnows and fish.

Spawning

crappie
Black Crappie
Eric Engbretson/FWS

Spawning habits of white crappie are similar to other sunfishes except they usually nest in deeper water. Black crappie construct their nests and deposit their eggs at even greater depths than white crappie. Females of both species deposit from 3,000 to 15,000 eggs. Spawning occurs shortly after water temperatures reach 55 to 65 degrees F (12.7-18.3° C). After spawning, males guard the eggs and fry.

Predators

Northern pike, muskie, walleye, and bass.

Information above courtesy of Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Three Crappie Fishing Tips

Crappie

1. Don’t set the hook too hard. Crappie have thin mouths and it’s easy to pull the hook right through them. Use light line and a light rod so you can properly fight the fish without pulling out the hook.

2. Go tiny! Crappie have small mouths, so you need to use small lures and hooks.

3. Consider chumming. This crappie fishing secret will bring those crappie to the surface in a heartbeat and they will take your hook a lot easier. Make sure it is legal for your area, but if it is then you definitely want to give it a shot.

How to Catch Crappie?

Those who want to learn how to catch crappie will not have a lot of complex learning to do. These are active fish and they have such a varied diet that they are easy to work with.

The best time for catching crappie is in the spring. They move shallow to spawn and readily bite small minnow imitations. The most popular crappie rig is a small grub or tube jig below a slip bobber. This allows the bait to be vertically jigged while away from the boat or shore. Keep in mind that a crappie’s eyes look up, so you better off setting the jig to be a little higher than the fish instead of being right on the bottom.

For crappie fishing during the summer time, it is best to fish in shaded areas around deeper water.

In winter, ice fishing for crappie is a cinch once you locate them. Try using small plastic grubs, jigging spoons or live minnows.

Why Do People Love Crappie?

You will find that there are a lot of people who are big on crappie fishing because it is definitely easy and convenient to do. All you really need are some local crappie fishing lakes to get started. The fish don’t require expensive gear and they can be very easy to catch if you time it right.

Since they have such a great taste, you can cook them just about any way you like. Pan frying, baking or barbecue are the most popular methods.

Children often get started with crappie fishing and once they know the thrill of catching crappie, you just might have an angler for life on your hands.

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