Crappie is one of the most popular fish in the US thanks in large part to its plentiful population. It may seem incredible to some that crappie can be overfished or that some will farm raise crappie to keep the population at reasonable levels. But there are some misconceptions about crappie that is important to know, so you can find the right sources of crappie when fishing.
Can Crappie Be Overfished?
The answer is yes, crappie can be overfished just like any other fish. It may seem incredible that a fish which produces so many eggs can somehow be overfished, but there is plenty of evidence to show that it has happened.
For a long time, it was believed that crappie were cyclical in their populations, with both lean and plentiful times for fishing. However, research over the decades has demonstrated that when stunted crappie are being caught, it is usually the result of overfishing. That means young crappie, which are normally more difficult to catch compared to full-grown adults are being caught more frequently which is a sign of overfishing.
It may take several years for the crappie population to recover, especially in areas that are fished frequently. That is why limits have been set on crappie fishing in certain locations, so that the population can be restored. Such limits include a minimum 10-inch length of crappie that can be caught. When abiding by such limitations, the young crappie have a chance to grow and become adults which restores the population.
Can Crappie Be Farm Raised?
The answer is it’s possible, but there are limitations. This is because crappie are usually found in streams, rivers, and larger bodies of water such as lakes. When restricted to ponds or small lakes, the crappie population tends to cause major issues.
Because crappie feed on a diet of species similar to bream and bass, the overlap means that the fish are competing for the same food sources. This may not be an issue for years assuming the crappie population is low. However, because crappie produce so many eggs, it’s possible for the population to explode in a single year, eating up all the available food sources quickly.
So, if your pond also has bass and bream, then the crappie will eat up their food supply as well. This means that if you intend on farm raising crappie in a small body of water, there are a few things you need to do.
Clear Pond: Crappie do not do well in muddy waters, so be sure that your pond has 18 to 24 inches of clear water on top for them to feed.
Stock Predators: If you do not want the crappie to become overpopulated, there needs to be predators present. While the predators will cut down the crappie population, the survivors will generally be larger and heartier.
Black Crappie: Of the two species, black crappie is better suited for farm raising as they tend to do better in smaller bodies of water.
Farm raising crappie is not easy, especially if you want bass in the same body of water. It requires diligent management to ensure that the crappie population in ponds and small lakes maintains a healthy population.