*Sharper Hooks*
*Tighter Lines*
Black crappie




Information & facts

Species Nameblackcrappie
Black crappie
(Pomoxis nigromaculatus)

Common Names
Calico Bass, Papermouth, Strawberry Bass

Size Range
Average 7-9 inches. Crappie can grow to 9-15 inches in quality populations.

Black crappie are one of several "panfish" species in BC and are popular with anglers, because they are relatively easy to catch and are considered excellent eating. Crappie can be identified by their large rounded dorsal and anal fins, and their deep, but narrow bodies, giving a compressed "pancake" appearance. Black crappie are closely related to white crappie and are the more plentiful of the two species in BC.

white crappy They have seven or eight dorsal spines and dark, irregularly-spaced blotches covering their sides. White crappies have five or six dorsal spines, and are usually shaded with dark vertical bars and the base of their dorsal fin is shorter than that of the black crappie.  White crappie do not have the number of spots on their sides that black crappie do. Their habitat will usually consist of water that is moderately acidic and highly vegetated. When they are juveniles they feed mostly on prey that is microscopic, such as cyclops, cladocera and daphnia and when mature they will feed on aquatic insects, minnows, and fish fingerlings of other species.

crappiesCrappie are a schooling fish and will also school with other types of pan fish. They prefer underwater structures like fallen trees, weed bends and other structures that might be submerged. Generally during the day crappie tend to stay deep under water and only move to shore when feeding, mostly at dawn or dusk. However, during their spawning period they can be found in shallow water in large concentrations. They do not go into any semi-hibernation during the winter, making them a prime target of anglers that are ice fishing. Crappies, both black and white can have color variance that is affected by their habitat, age and the colors of the local breeding population.

How to fish for Black Crappie

Because of the diverse Black Crappie diet, crappie may be caught in many ways, including casting light jigs, trolling with minnows or artificial lures, using small spinnerbaits, or using bobbers. Crappies are also popular with ice-fishers, as they are active in winter. The black crappie has been widely transplanted and existed in parts of Canada including British Columbia. The black crappie tends to prefer clearer water and can be found in lakes, ponds, streams, sloughs, and creeks. They prefer little current, open areas adjacent to cover, and access to deeper water in winter and summer. The Black Crappie feeds mostly in the early morning and just before dark.

Most Black Crappie are under 2 pounds so ultra light tackle is the gear of choice. A 5 to 6 foot graphite ultra light spinning rod with a matching reel that is spooled with 2 to 4 pound test will provide good action for these fish. Fishing lures that have been productive for Black Crappie are crank baits such as the Norman lures crappie crank in colors blue/chartreuse, bumble bee, silver/blue. These crank baits run to a depth of 6 feet and are 1-1/2 inches long and are 1/8 oz. with #10 hook. Road runner jig heads, Uncle Bucks® Crappie Spinner (fished in short jerks), Marabou Road Runner® Jigs, Bass Pro Shops® Crappie Ringers are all productive lures for Black Crappie. When lures aren't getting bites try bait balls such as Magic Bait Crappie Bites.

Crappie Fishing Tips, Tricks and Tactics

Black Crappie Facts

We’ve put together for you some basic facts and data about Black Crappie. This information is useful to better understand this type of popular game fish and to get an idea of what to expect when fishing for them. The maximum weight and length is from the latest all-time record at the time this information was written. It may have changed slightly, but that is only for the top 0.5% of crappie you’ll find in the wild.

Additional Resources on Crappie

We hope that our crappie fishing tips are able to improve your success as an angler. However, in case you’d like to continue your research we’ve put together the below resources.