Crappie vs Redbreast Sunfish: The Differences Between Crappie and Redbreast Sunfish

Crappie vs Redbreast Sunfish
Crappie vs Redbreast Sunfish

Crappie and redbreast sunfish are two popular freshwater fish that is found across North America. Both are heavily fished for their taste, but with all the similarities between them, there are significant differences as well.

Crappie vs Redbreast Sunfish


Part of the Centrarchidae family of sunfish, there are two types of crappie, white and black with relatively little differences between them. Both types of fish grow to be about eight to ten inches long and weigh from one to two pounds on average. They are part of the popular pan fish and are considered some of the tastiest freshwater fish in North America.

You’ll find crappie in many rivers, lakes, and reservoirs along with large streams. They tend to be languid during daylight hours, hanging around rocks and vegetation. But at dawn and twilight they will hunt for smaller fish, sometimes insects, and even their own young as food.

Redbreast Sunfish

The redbreast sunfish is a relatively small fish and part of the Perciformes family. They are mostly found in rivers along eastern Canada and most of the United States. They feed primarily on smaller fish, crayfish, and insects. They are also mostly found around areas in rivers that offer shelter and some form of structure such as vegetation and rocks.

Most redbreast sunfish are small, roughly three to four inches long and may weigh up to a pound, though the record so far is 1.75 pounds. Because of their relatively small size, they are hunted by other fish as well. Plus, water that is too acidic or changes in sunlight can dramatically affect their population. Clearing out vegetation or rocks for example may have a powerful impact on the redbreast sunfish population.

Differences Between Crappie and Redbreast Sunfish

There are certainly many similarities between both types of fish, such as their general size, feeding habits, and living conditions. However, there are significant differences as well which is why it is important to note them if you decide to fish for either species.

The redbreast sunfish is easy to tell apart from white or black crappie as they generally have scales, an orange tint to their bellies, and are generally smaller in size. While the sunfish can breed considerably in calm waters, they are no match for crappie when it comes to the number of eggs produced. In addition, the redbreast sunfish seems more reactive to environmental changes compared to crappie. This means that areas which have been cleared for example might dramatically drop the number of fish present.

Redbreast sunfish are popular aquarium fish which is something that crappie are not well suited because of their voracious eating and large number of young. It should be noted that both types of fish has similar eating habits, focusing mostly on small insects, crayfish, and smaller fish in general. However, only the crappie will eat their young.

Telling the differences between crappie vs. redbreast sunfish will help you decide which is the best type for fishing. Each has their attributes, but they also have distinctive differences that should be known before you decide to fish.


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