Four Black Crappie Predators

The black crappie is a well-known game fish that are sought out by all types of anglers. They are a small fish when compared to some species because they average about three pounds. They can weigh a little more when the water conditions are favorable but you won’t find one much more than five pounds. Due to their size and the fact that they can be caught day or night, they make an excellent species for the novice angler to seek out.
Black crappies have a round body with green or silvery sides. They have black spots scattered across the body and seven or eight spines located on the dorsal fin. They have dark eyes and a wide fragile mouth. Anglers must be very careful not to pull the hook all the way through the mouth when setting it. If too much pressure is applied, it will easily pull through the paper-thin skin surrounding the crappie’s mouth.
They are part of the sunfish family and they seem prefer warm, clear water and they’ll usually swim in large groups. The young crappies will feed on zooplankton and as they grow, they begin to eat insects, crayfish and smaller fish like minnows. Black crappies are structure-oriented fish, meaning they prefer the cover of underwater structures such as brush piles, submerged trees and logs but they will move out to open water sometimes.
Crappie Predators
The black crappies, like other fish species, have natural predators that feed off them in the same way they feed off smaller fish. Crappies feed on insects, shad, minnows and other smaller life forms and there are several predators that feed on the crappies. These predators are determined by the size of the fish along with where they’re found on the food chain. This natural process helps to control the population of fish found in different bodies of water.
Here are four black crappie predators:
1. Larger Fish- Other species of fish that grow larger than the black crappie are predators such as, the largemouth bass, kingfisher, great blue heron and the channel catfish.
2. Snapping Turtles- These can grow to some very large sizes and don’t have a problem attacking a black crappie whenever it’s convenient.
3. Sea Gulls- The birds will often swoop down in the water and snag up a black crappie when feeding.
4. Humans- Since so many anglers seek out the black crappie for sport and as a food source, humans are considered one of their predators.
Even with these predators, crappies can multiply quickly and easily over-populate small bodies of water if the conditions are favorable for spawning. For this reason, you must be careful if you plan to transfer this species to a small pond for fishing. You must have other fish that feed on them naturally in the pond as well to help keep their population under control. If not, they can over populate the area and weed out other species by eating all the food and vegetation.
General Information about Black Crappies
The spawning season starts for this species when the water temperature reaches between 62 and 68 degrees. It normally begins in the early spring but the water temperature will be the deciding factor in when it begins not the time of year. You can fish for this species any time of the year but they are the most plentiful and easiest to find during the spawning.
You can catch black crappies most anytime day or night but the most productive time to go fishing for them is from dusk to dawn. They are more active during this time but will feed during the day. They are often referred to as ambush feeders because they use structures to hide in so they can ambush the prey as it swims by. During the summer and winter months you can often spot schools following the baitfish around from one area to another.
They are a small species making them an excellent choice for beginners to catch while learning how to fish. However, many experienced anglers are attracted to them too because it will put up a good fight for its size and they make a tasty meal.
Some of the most popular techniques used for black crappies are casting, drifting and jigging. All three of these can be done from the shore or a boat so anyone can use them. A good set-up used for catching this species is an ultra-light fishing rod combined with a good spinning reel. These are good because they make it easier to feel it when you get a bite so you’ll know when to set the hook.
Crappies have very good eyesight so it’s important to have a variety of colors available in the type of lure you use. Generally, you would use blues, reds, greens and orange when fishing in clear water but it never hurts to experiment with different colors to see how they work. Use small tackle that will fit into its mouth and don’t let the hook stick out of the bait. If you do, the fish can see it and won’t strike.

Dan Eggertsen is a fellow crappie fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on crappie fishing since 2004.

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