Identification & Features
The White Crappie and Black Crappie are essentially the same color; a silvery olive to bronze with dark spots, although the White Crappie is somewhat paler; in the White Crappie the spots are arranged in seven or eight vertical bands on its sides, whereas in the Black Crappie the spots are scattered. Deep-bodied and laterally compressed (hence the common name, “Panfish”), Crappie have a large mouth, an upper jaw that extends under the eye and a lower jaw that seems to protrude. It also has distinct depressions in its forehead, and large dorsal and anal fins of almost identical size. The best way to differentiate these fish is by counting dorsal fin spines, as the White Crappie has six, and the Black Crappie usually has seven or eight.

Widespread in North America, Crappie are found in the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, the Mississippi River basins from New York and Ontario west to Minnesota and South Dakota and south to the Gulf of Mexico; they have been widely introduced elsewhere. Crappie can be found in creek backwaters, slow-flowing streams, sand- and mud-bottomed pools, small to large rivers and lakes and ponds. They are usually found near drop-offs, standing timber, brushy cover or other artificial cover. Many Crappie are caught in 10-15 feet of water among tree limbs in standing timber. During the hottest part of the day, they hold on the cool, shaded side of such structures (including bridges, piers, docks and bases of old tree stumps). Because crappie school in loose groups, when an angler catches one, others are likely to be around. They are especially active in the evening and early morning, and remain active throughout the winter.

Occurs in early spring and summer in water temperatures between 62-68 F, and during that time the male grows dark on the sides of its head, lower jaw and breast. Spawning takes place in sandy, muddy and weedy areas, and the fish nest in colonies. In moderately deep water, males brush away sediment to form a shallow nest and guard the 27,000 to more than 68,000 eggs. The eggs incubate for 2-4 days, and the young mature in 2-4 years.

Crappie feed on small crustaceans, zooplankton, insects and insect larvae, minnows, young shad, small sunfish and other small fish. Small minnows of many species are probably the most common food item for adults.

With lengths of up to 13″, the black crappie can weigh up to 5 pounds, but usually weighs less than 2 pounds and is commonly caught at a pound or less. 

Angling Tips
Crappie are usually caught using small, live minnows more than on any other baits; other good baits, however, are grasshoppers, crickets, and worms. The favored artificial bait is a small, fine-wire, soft-bodied jig, usually in white or yellow. Crappie have tender mouths, and strikes are often delicate; the most successful anglers are those who develop a fine jigging motion with a subtle feel.

Recommended Products

Snelled Hooks: 121, 121Q, 127, 222, 222R, 222BPQ, 
Rigs & Kits: 015, 06010-001, 616, 619
Hook Styles: 022, 202, 202EL, 214, 214EL, 215, 218
Rods: Featherlight, Powerlight
Reels: Gunnison and Eagle Claw

Snelled Hooks: 213R, 222BP
Hook Styles: 022BP, 214BP

Eagle Claw Clear Blue

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