Fish Facts » Crappie
Pomoxis is a genus of freshwater fish in the sunfish family (family Centrarchidae) of order Perciformes. The type species is P. annularis, the white crappie. The common name crappie refers to either of the Pomoxis species, both of which are popular game fish. The white crappie, Pomoxis annularis Rafinesque, 1818, is native throughout the eastern half of Canada and the United States, and has been widely introduced in the west as well. The dorsal fin of the white crappie has six spines. The maximum recorded length for a white crappie is 53.0 cm (21 in), with a maximum weight of almost 2.35 kg (more than 5.18 lb); it can live as long as ten years. These species prefers slower-moving water, often turbid, whether a backwater of a small creek or a large lake. When spawning, the white crappie deposits its eggs on plant surfaces or in poorly-defined nests in shallow water. This very prolific fish may overpopulate small bodies of water under 40 ha (100 acres) in area The black crappie, Pomoxis nigromaculatus (Lesueur, 1829), is very similar to P. annularis in size, shape, and habits, except that it is darker, with a pattern of black spots. It is most accurately identified by the seven or eight spines on its dorsal fin. The oldest recorded age of a specimen is fifteen years, although seven years is a more typical life span for the species. The black crappie's range is uncertain, since it has been so widely transplanted, but it is presumed to be similar to the white crappie's; as of 2005, populations existed in all of the lower 48 states. The black crappie tends to prefer clearer water than the white crappie does. Its diet, as an adult, also tends to be less dominated by other fish than that of the white crappie. The breeding season varies by location, due to the species’ great range; breeding temperature is 14?20 °C (58?68 °F) and spawning occurs between April and June. Spawning occurs in a nest built by the male, who guards the eggs and young
Both species of crappie as adults feed predominantly on smaller species, including the young of their own predators (which include the northern pike, muskellunge, and walleye). They have diverse diets, however, including zooplankton, insects, and crustaceans.   By day, crappie tend to be less active and to concentrate around weed beds or submerged objects, such as logs and boulders; they feed especially at dawn and dusk, moving then into open water or approaching the shore.
Angling for Crappie is popular throughout much of North America. Methods vary, but among the most popular is called "Spider Rigging," a method characterized by a fisherman in a boat with many long fishing rods pointing away from the angler at various angles like spokes from a wheel. Anglers who employ the Spider Rigging method may choose from among many popular baits. Some of the most popular are plastic jigs with lead jig heads, crankbaits or live minnows. Many anglers also chum or dump live bait into the water to attract the fish hoping the fish will bite their bait. Crappie are also regularly targeted and caught during the spawning period by fly fishermen, and can be taken from frozen ponds and lakes in winter by ice fishing.
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