Bottom feeders often carry a bad reputation. They eat food from the bottom of a body of water, leading many to believe they are filling their bellies with unpleasant substances that we would never want to consume ourselves.
Who’d ever want to eat a bottom feeder when they eat all kinds of things that would turn a person’s stomach?
Yet some of the most popular fish and seafood in North America are bottom feeders, with the likes of cod, bass, haddock, halibut, catfish, shrimp and shellfish all being categorized as bottom feeders.
So, while there are certain bottom feeders you’d want to avoid eating, don’t fall for the misconception that all bottom feeders are gross fish to be avoided.
Many don’t realise that popular fish and shellfish are in fact bottom feeders, while others mistake many types of fish as bottom feeders due to their eating habits and depths where they’re caught.
Sometimes it’s obvious what is and isn’t a bottom feeder but other times its not so clear, especially for people newer to fishing. For example, many people often wonder whether crappie are bottom feeders.
Let’s take a closer look to uncover the truth!
What are Bottom Feeders?
Before we look at whether crappie are bottom feeders it helps to know exactly what a bottom feeder is and their general habits. As mentioned, bottom feeders are any type of fish or aquatic animal that feeds near or at the bottom of a body of water.
This food takes many forms depending on the animal eating it, with everything from aquatic plants to other bottom feeders, highlighting the important role these fish and other animals play in the underwater ecosystem.
Because bottom feeders are so diverse, from species considered a delicacy to species you couldn’t be paid to eat, it’s easy to see why there is sometimes confusion about what species are bottom feeders and whether they’re worth eating.
Are Crappie Bottom Feeders?
The short answer – no.
However, crappie have various characteristics that are similar to bottom feeders, which is the main reason they are often mistaken as a bottom feeder.
For example, crappie eat many similar foods as bottom feeders, such as zooplankton, and and often eat near or at the bottom of freshwater locations.
There are reasons for these similarities though. For instance, only juvenile crappie tends to eat on zooplankton, with fully grown crappie preferring a diet of other fish, most notably minnows. Crappie also lay their eggs at the bottom of water yet move to shallower locations to feed during this period.
So, crappie only share certain similarities with bottom feeders and are not officially categorised as such. You’ll find the most success fishing for crappie around 6-10ft below the water, so the catching methods are typically different.
Yes, you’ll find crappie near the bottom and eating similar things to bottom feeders, yet these are only a few similarities. The diverse diets of crappie are one of the big reasons they’re often mistaken as bottom feeders!