What does a Crappie Look Like?

The Black Crappie

The scientific name for the black crappie is Pomoxis nigromaculatus. They are darker in color than the white crappie but look very similar. Still there are some distinctive features that make them stand out and easy for you to tell the difference. For example, they have black spots scattered all over their body instead of spots arranged in vertical lines. They also have seven to eight spines on their dorsal fin instead of six. They prefer to live in clear water and they will usually begin their spawning season between April and June.

Basic Information about Both the Black and White Crappie

Both of these species feed on smaller species of fish although they will also eat insects, zooplankton and crustaceans. They are more active during the night than they are during the day so this is an excellent time to go fishing although, early morning and late evening will also be very productive. If you go fishing for them during the middle of the day, you’ll need to go out to deeper water unless it’s during the spawning season.

The crappie can be caught using most any method that includes trolling, jigging, casting and drift fishing. You can use a variety of baits but when it comes to artificial lures, small spinnerbaits tend to get the best results. When using live baits you’ll find that minnows and worms work very well. Using bobbers is a good idea when fishing for crappie because it helps you to keep up with the action.

The crappie is well-known for their aggressiveness when they strike your line.

They’ll jump around from one side to another and keep you on your toes, which is amazing for such a small species of fish. However, this is one of their main attractions. Another reason they are so popular is because they can be caught in large numbers and being a school fish, when you find one, there are plenty more around.

If you’ve never fished for the crappie in the past, now is a great time to get started. If you’re like most anglers, once you have the pleasure of reeling them in, you’ll be hooked. They’re the perfect species to seek out when you go out on a family adventure or if you’re new to fishing.

To get the full “What does a Crappie Look Like?” article you’ll need to download it here.


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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