Crappie vs Carp: The Differences Between Crappie and Carp

Crappie vs Carp
Crappie vs Carp

To better understand the similarities and differences of crappie vs. carp, it pays to know the characteristics of each fish. This is because in North America you may find crappie and carp together competing for the same food. However, while there are some similarities, for many who fish the fresh waters of North America, knowing the differences will help you search for the type you really want for your dinner plate.

Crappie vs Carp


Crappie is a very popular pan fish, a genus called Pomoxis that is from the sunfish family known as Centrarchidae. While the genus name Pomoxis comes from the Greek, the term crappie is from the Canadian French. There are two types, white crappie and black crappie that only have minor differences between them. For the most part, adult crappie weigh an average of three to four pounds.

Crappie feed primarily on smaller fish which will include the own young, though also on the young walleye, northern pike, and muskellunge. Crappie will also eat insects, crustaceans, and zoo plankton. You will find crappie during the day to be less active and mostly around logs, boulders, and weed beds. Feeding time is dawn and dusk when they move towards open water to find their prey.

Crappie are highly desired for their good taste, which makes them one of the most popular fish in North America. Because they are active in the winter months, they are also popular for ice fishing as well.


The carp is an oily freshwater fish of the Cyprinidae family. They are mostly found in Asia and European freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes. Although one member of the family, tribolodon, actually tolerates salt-water environments.

The carp is considered an invasive species in North America and great efforts are taken to control their population. One interesting trait of some carp species is their ability to survive in water that has little to no oxygen for months at a time. This is because they metabolize glycogen which creates lactic acid and converted to ethanol and carbon dioxide from which the carp can survive. Crappie do not have this ability.

Differences Between Crappie and Carp

It should be noted that there are some similarities between crappie and carp as they are the same general size, though crappie might be a little bigger. They have similar feeding habits and tend to overpopulate an area, especially a small one such as a pond or stream.

However, there are considerable differences between crappie and carp which start with their reputation as being tasty fish. Crappie are desired for their taste while carp are considered “rough fish” that have a poor reputation for how they taste. The poor taste may come from the fact that while carp and crappie have similar diets, carp will often eat algae and other plant matter that may translate into a sour taste.

In addition, while crappie are spotted or striped, carp have scales and a noticeably different appearance in terms of their coloring. You will often find crappie and carp competing for the same food, but the difference in taste is why more people who fish prefer crappie over carp.


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