"Calico Bass" redirects here. For the marine fish, see Kelp Bass.
Black (top) & white crappie
(P. nigromaculatus & P. annularis)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Centrarchidae
Genus: Pomoxis
Rafinesque, 1818
  • P. annularis - white crappie
  • P. nigromaculatus - black crappie

Crappie 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 (play /ˈkræp/ or /ˈkrɒp/)[1][2] refers to either of the Pomoxis species, both of which are popular game fish.

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.[3][4] 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.[5][6]

The Pomoxis species are highly regarded game fishes and are often considered to be among the best tasting freshwater fish. Because of their diverse diets, crappie may be caught in many ways, including casting light jigs, trolling with minnows or artificial lures, using small spinnerbaits, or using bobbers. Crappie are also popular with ice-fishers, as they are active in winter.[5][6][7]

The genus name Pomoxis derives from the Greek πώμα (cover, plug, operculum) and οξύς (sharp). The common name (also spelled croppie or crappé), derives from the Canadian French crapet, which refers to many different fishes of the family Centrarchidae. Note that the plural form of the name, crappies, tends not to be used, by analogy with fishes, except to refer to types of crappie. Other names for crappie are papermouths, strawberry bass, speckled bass or specks (especially in Michigan), speckled perch, calico bass (throughout New England),[8] sac-au-lait (in southern Louisiana, lit "bag of milk")[9] and Oswego bass.[citation needed]


Black crappie

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.[4]

The black crappie's range is uncertain, since it has been widely transplanted, but it is presumed to be similar to the white crappie's. Its native range is in the eastern United States and Canada, and as of 2005, populations existed in all of the 48 contiguous U.S. states.[7][4][10] The black crappie habitat occurs in lakes, reservoirs, borrow pits and navigation pools in large rivers. They prefer areas with little or no current, clear water, and abundant cover such as submerged timber or aquatic vegetation.[11]

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.[4][10]

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.[citation needed] Spawning occurs in a nest built by the male, who guards the eggs and young.[4][6]

Like P. annularis, P. nigromaculatus is very prolific and can tend to overpopulate its environment, with negative consequences both for the crappie and for other fish species.[citation needed] A commercial supplier of the fish, however, claims that it can be safely stocked in ponds as small as one acre (0.4 ha) in area.[12]


Crappie angling

Fly fishing
brook trout
hucho taimen
largemouth bass
northern pike
peacock bass
shoal bass
smallmouth bass
more fly fish...
other sport fish...



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.[13] 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.

Commercial fishing

A commercial fishery for crappie exists at Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee. It is one of the few commercial fisheries for crappie.[citation needed]



  1. ^ "Crappie". American Heritage Dictionary (4th ed. ed.). Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  2. ^ "Crappie". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  3. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). "Pomoxis annularis" in FishBase. March 2006 version.
  4. ^ a b c d e Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). "Pomoxis nigromaculatus" in FishBase. March 2006 version.
  5. ^ a b "Comprehensive Report Species - Pomoxis annularis". NatureServe Explorer. Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  6. ^ a b c "Comprehensive Report Species - Pomoxis nigromaculatus". NatureServe Explorer. Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  7. ^ a b "Black Crappie". Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department. Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  8. ^ Massachusetts Wildlife
  9. ^ Sac-a-lait or Crappie at
  10. ^ a b "Black Crappie". Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  11. ^ "Species and Eco Systems". Harrison Fishery. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  12. ^ "Types of Fish: Black Crappie". Dunn’s Fish Farm. Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  13. ^ "Super Crappie Systems". In-Fisherman. Archived from the original on 22 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 

Further reading

External links

  • - Crappie fishing information with forums for many states, dedicated to the Crappie fisherman, and Crappie habitat.
  • - Information portal dedicated to solely crappie fishing
  • Crappie Fishing Videos - Collection of crappie fishing videos.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • crappie — ☆ crappie [krap′ē ] n. pl. crappies or crappie [< ?] any of a genus (Pomoxis) of small North American sunfishes found in sluggish streams and ponds throughout E and central U.S.; specif., the black crappie or white crappie …   English World dictionary

  • Crappie — Crap pie (kr?p p?), n. (Zo[ o]l.) A kind of fresh water bass of the genus {Pomoxys}, found in the rivers of the Southern United States and Mississippi valley. There are several species. [Written also {croppie}.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • crappie — type of freshwater fish, 1856, Amer.Eng., of unknown origin; perhaps from Canadian Fr. dialect crappé …   Etymology dictionary

  • crappie — /krap ee/, n., pl. crappies, (esp. collectively) crappie. either of two small sunfishes of central U.S. rivers, Pomoxis nigromaculatus (black crappie) or P. annularis (white crappie). Also, croppie. [1855 60, Amer.; < CanF crapet] * * * Either of …   Universalium

  • crappie — noun Etymology: Canadian French crapet Date: circa 1827 1. black crappie 2. white crappie …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • crappie — crap•pie [[t]ˈkræp i[/t]] n. pl. pies, (esp. collectively) pie. ich either of two large sunfishes of the central U.S., Pomoxis nigromaculatus (black crappie) or P. annularis(white crappie). • Etymology: 1855–60, amer.; < CanF crapet …   From formal English to slang

  • crappie — noun 1. small sunfishes of the genus Pomoxis of central United States rivers • Hypernyms: ↑sunfish 2. small sunfishes of central United States rivers • Hypernyms: ↑sunfish, ↑centrarchid • Hyponyms: ↑black crappie, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • crappie — noun A member of either of two species of North American sunfish of the genus Pomoxis. Both are silvery white with black speckles, and prized as gamefish …   Wiktionary

  • Crappie — 1. of poor quality: a crappy magazine ; 2. soiled: a crappy nappy ; 3. badly done or executed: a crappy performance …   Dictionary of Australian slang

  • crappie — Australian Slang 1. of poor quality: a crappy magazine ; 2. soiled: a crappy nappy ; 3. badly done or executed: a crappy performance …   English dialects glossary

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