Crappie Fish Where Do They Spawn

Crappie Fish Where Do They Spawn

by Mark Fleagle

Crappie Fish The crappie is primarily a nomadic species of fish and locations that were hot spots one year may not be the next. In the heat of the summer it’s damb near impossible to predict the crappie fish’s locations. That’s why most crappie fishing is done in the spring when they are predictable.

In the spring crappies move into the shallows to get ready for the spawning season. In early spring they migrate to the shallows to feed aggressively to build up their strength from the winter. They also need to fatten up to get ready to spawn.

Crappie spawn map

The one time of year that the crappie fish is predicable is spring time. Crappies will normally go back each year to the same spawning area they were the previous year, unless the habitat has been destroyed.

You would think crappie fishing would not be that popular throughout the rest of the year but that’s just not true. Even though these fish are very nomadic the rest of the year you can catch fish. Crappie are a schooling fish so if you find there location the chances are you will catch crappie.

In recent year the popularity of crappie fishing has absolutely exploded!. Much of the explosion is do to the abundance of the tasty game fish. Many states have adopted quality restock programs throughout the United States, Southern Canada, Also The crappie fish’s habitat has been expanded to states were crappies were not native before and these populations have exploded. The crappie fish is a very adaptable game fish.

There are two types of crappie fish and they are the black crappie and the white crappie. Both these species of crappie are many times frequent the same habitat but typical the white crappie prefer muddy stained water, while the black crappie prefers cooler and clearer waters.

Black crappie have higher populations in the north while the white crappie has higher populations in the south. Both species of the crappie fish prefer habitat waters that range from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit . Both species can survive in temperatures that reach into the high 80’s.

Crappie Fish Identification: (black crappie and white crappie picture here)Although the black crappie and the white crappie look very similar there are some distinct differences you can use for proper identification. The black crappie have 7 to 8 spines on the dorsal fin and a deeper body then the white crappie. Both the whites and the blacks have silvery greenish sides and that’s probably why they have been given the nick name “specks” throughout the years.

The White crappies have 5 or 6 spines on the dorsal fin and there forehead a has a deeper “dip like depression” larger then the black crappie’s. The white crappie still has specks but they tend to form in vertical bars along both sides of the white crappies sides.

Crappie Fish Spawning Information: The crappie fish spawn when the water temperature rises into the low 60’s They typically will build their nests where they can find sandy and small gravel bottoms, in brushy or vegetation cover, or very near these areas.

In the north there is an abundance of a plant called “bull brush” and the crappie with use the dead stands of this plant from the previous year for their spawning location. One key note: The crappie fish doesn’t sweep its nesting area like the sunfish so there nests are not as easy to locate.

 Black Crappie Originally published on for Mark Fleagle Sunday, March 13, 2011

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