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Crappie Information, Photos, Artwork, and Facts

A member of the sunfish family, the Crappie is widely considered to be among the best tasting freshwater fish, and one of the most fun to catch!

The Crappie (Pomoxis) is believed to be native to the eastern United States and Canada. Due to wide transplantation, populations of Crappie exist in all of the 48 contiguous states today, making them a very popular North American game fish. American Expedition is proud to present information, interesting facts, and photos of the Crappie.

Crappie facts, information, habitat, fishing tips, and photos.

Crappie Information

The name crappie can refer to either the white crappie, which is lighter in color with vertical black stripes, or the black crappie, which is and darker with a pattern of black spots. Both species are similar in size, shape, and habits. The average crappie weighs between 1/2 and 1 pound and measures 5-12 inches, though they are capable of growing much larger. Crappie are very social fish and form schools to live in.

Painting of a pair of crappie

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Crappie spawn between May and June. During this time, the male fish will make an indented nest on the floor of shallow water. The female will then lay between 5,000 and 60,000 eggs. The eggs take approximately 2-5 days to hatch. Crappie are fertile breeders and will over-populate small bodies of water very quickly if the population is not controlled.

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Crappie Facts

  • Crappie are less active during the day; they feed mostly at dawn and dusk.
  • The Crappie is also known as the strawberry bass, speckled bass (or "specks"), calico bass, papermouth, and sauc-au-lait (translation "bag of milk").
  • The largest crappie ever caught weighed 6 pounds.
  • Ideal spawning temperature is the low 60’s.
Sketch of two crappie.

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  • During spawning season, crappie and their nests will be in water approximately 1-5 feet deep.
  • Crappie have pure, flaky, white flesh that has earned them the reputation among anglers as the finest tasting freshwater fish.

Crappie Habitat

Crappie occupy bodies of freshwater in which there are plenty of underwater brush, rocks, and weeds to live in. During the summer they live in deeper water, while in the spring they occupy shallower water.

What Do Crappie Eat?

Crappie have diverse diets. They primarily feed on smaller species of fish, including the young of their predators (like the Walleye and Northern Pike). Crappie also eat insects, crustaceans, and zooplankton.

Crappie Fishing Tips

  • Due to their diverse diet, sportsmen have many options when it comes to catching crappie.
  • The best lures to use for crappie are small jigs.
  • If using live bait, make sure the hook is the correct size. If it is too small, the fish will get off of it. If it is too large, the fish will not be able to bite it.
  • One of the best baits to fish with is live minnows. Too bait up, hook the minnow right below its dorsal fin and cast it out. This is one of the crappie’s favorite things to feed on.
  • Don’t forget to use a bobber if you are using live bait such as minnows.
  • Test different depths for your line until you get a bite.
  • Generally, you will need to fish shallower in the spring and deeper in the summer.
  • Crappie are active in the winter, which also makes them very popular for ice fishing.
  • The easiest time to hook a crappie is during spawning season, which is in the spring and early summer.
  • In the spring, crappie are near the bank.
  • Fish in areas close to underwater debris, such as limbs and brush piles.
  • Build a crappie bed by throwing in old brush, logs, and limbs. This will make for an ideal fishing spot.
  • If you catch a crappie, don’t just move on to the next spot. It is very common to reel in numerous fish if you find a populated crappie bed. Just keep casting!
  • Find the correct fishing reel that you feel most comfortable using. The spin cast reel is the easiest to use for a beginner. Spincast Ultralight reels are a popular rod and reel for crappie fishing.
  • To correctly hold a crappie, put its bottom lip between your thumb and bended pointer finger. Be sure to maintain a tight grip.
  • Each state has varying fishing regulations. It is important to educate yourself on them before going out to fish.
  • Remember to acquire a fishing permit if taking up this sport. Fishing without a permit is illegal and could result in a fine. Many states allow young children or veterans to fish without a permit.
  • Although many fish have an open season of all year, there are some that do not. Look at your state’s regulations to find out when you are allowed to fish.
  • Most states have a length limit for their fish. If the fish you caught does not measure the minimum, it is required that you let it go. Sometimes there are maximum limits for certain fish as well.
  • Most states also have daily limits, or the amount of a certain fish you can keep in one day.

In this video, schools of crappie are filmed swimming underwater.

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A crappie being held up after being caught.

The easiest time to hook a crappie is during spawning season, which is in the spring and early summer.

A crappie laying on ice with a fishing pole next to it.

Crappie are active in the winter, which makes them very popular for ice fishing.

A crappie caught on a fishing line.

The Crappie is also known as the strawberry bass, speckled bass (or "specks"), calico bass, papermouth, and sauc-au-lait (translation "bag of milk").

A crappie getting pulled out of the ice by a fisherman.

The largest crappie ever caught weighed 6 pounds.

Two crappie being held up by fishermen.

Most states also have daily limits on crappie, you should check local laws and regulations.

A crappie lying on a bed of pine needles.

Crappie have pure, flaky, white flesh that has earned them the reputation among anglers as the finest tasting freshwater fish.

Crappie Facts, Photos, and Information
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