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Crappie - Black and White

Updated on October 10, 2014

Black Crappie and White Crappie

This page discusses 2 favorite North American freshwater fish - black crappie (calico bass) and white crappie.

The white crappie is deep-bodied and silvery and green in color. Its dorsal fin has a maximum of six spines.

The black crappie is deeper bodied than the white crappie and darker in color. The dorsal fin has seven or eight spines.

Both species are members of the sunfish family of freshwater fish, all of which are native to North America.


Black - White Crappie Identification

The black crappie (pictured) is easily confused with the white crappie. However, it is deeper bodied than the white crappie, and silvery-green in color. The dorsal fin has seven or eight spines.

In Florida, the species is known as speckled perch or specks. Lake Okeechobee is often referred to as the speckled perch capital of the world due to its abundance of black crappie.

The white crappie is deep-bodied and silvery in color, ranging from silvery-white on the belly to a silvery-green or even dark green on the back. There are several vertical bars on the sides. The dorsal fin has a maximum of six spines.

Both species of crappie are favorite freshwater fish among anglers of all ages. They are strong fighters, beautiful fish and delicious as well.

Crappie jigs are perfect for catching crappie, sunfish and other panfish.

Live Baits for Crappie

How to catch live bait for crappie.

Live baits for crappie, include crickets, nightcrawlers, minnows and other baits. These vary with season and location. Crappie fishermen choose live baits depending on availability and personal preference. Some anglers will find live baits in local tackle shops while others need to catch their own.

A small cast net or seine can be a great asset for anglers that need live minnows or other small fish. Another possibility is a minnow trap, which is baited and left overnight. This is a good option for campers or people that are staying in a lakeside cabin for a few days.

Land dwelling baits such as grubs, worms, grasshoppers and crickets can be caught just before the trip and sometimes right on the spot. Experience and experimentation are essential as well as sharing information with other local anglers.

How To Clean Crappie

1. Scale the fish with a fish scaler or dull knife. While holding the fish with one hand, use the tool to remove all scales. You must run the scaler or knife from tail to head in order to get the scales off. The skin should be smooth when all scales are gone.

2.Cut the fish's head off. make the cut at the back of the fish's gills. Cut through at this point.

3. Cut from the belly back to the vent, avoiding all organs. Remove all organs, saving the fish roe if any is found.

4. Cut off the tail and fins.

5. Rinse the fish and place on ice immediately.

Men's and Women's Crappie Shirts

These t shirts allow shoppers to add custom text. Create your own crappie t-shirt for fun or to advertise your business. Pre-titled crappie logo t shirts and other gifts are also available at the Fish Fishing Seafood online store.

Magnolia Crappie

The magnolia crappie is a cross between the female white crappie and the male blackstriped black crappie. The magnolia crappie is the result of a cooperative effort by the University of Mississippi and Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks to create a sterile strain of crappie for stocking in small impoundments.

Crappie Poles

A specialized setup is the crappie pole, a long rod made of fiberglass. Crappie poles are made in sections which are assembled in the field.

These unique rods are 10-18 feet in length, with the line tied directly to the tip. Anglers fish with live bait under a bobber, dropping baits into heavy cover where crappie and other panfish are hiding.

When a fish bites, the unique design of these rods allows anglers to lift it straight up out of the water, avoiding entanglements and break offs. Fishermen must react quickly, snatching panfish before they can retreat into cover.

In some bodies of water, this is the only possible fishing technique, due to the habitat.

Video - How to Fillet Crappie

This video shows an angler filleting crappie from start to finish.

Stocking Crappie

Stocking efforts have greatly expanded the range of white crappie, with the present day the range extending eastward to the Atlantic coast, and westward including California and portions of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Montana, Colorado, Utah, and North Dakota.

The native range of white crappie included the area west of the Appalachian Mountains from Ontario Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The range extended west to Minnesota and South Dakota in the north, and to northeastern Mexico in the south.

Crappie are prolific spawners; a typical female crappie can produce 60,000-100,000 eggs.

Crappie Feedback

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    • benny77 profile image

      benny77 5 years ago

      Nice lens...thanks for sharing

    • stephen777 profile image

      stephen777 6 years ago

      Thanks for the great info. Crappie is one of my favorite fresh water fish. It's just about time to get those ice-out crappies here in Ohio. I'm going to put a link to your lens on my lens

    • profile image

      ideadesigns 7 years ago

      I love crappie and bass, pretty much all we eat for fish.

    • profile image

      indian-paintbrush 9 years ago

      Oklahoma Crappie are yummy!

    • JennieHarris1 profile image

      JennieHarris1 9 years ago

      I love crappie! It's my favorite-after mahi-mahi!