Crappie are amongst the most popular gamefish in North America. Found in freshwater locations throughout most of the United States, crappies fall into two distinct categories – black crappie and white crappie.
There aren’t too many notable differences between the two, with white crappie having fewer spines than black crappie (5-6 compared to 7-8). White crappies also have more vertical markings across their body while black crappies have no exact pattern on their bodies, with the speckles taking on various shapes.
You also get a few minor subspecies of crappie. This includes black nose crappie (also called black stripe crappie), which is color variant of the black crappie caused by a gene recession that results in a black strip along the fin to the end of the nose, and the very rare hybrid crappie that have unique characteristics of both black and white crappie.
Given the various types of crappie and minor differences between each one, it’s easy to see that the species has developed a variety of names throughout the country!
Crappie vs Speck Fish
As mentioned above, there are a few variations of crappie that are found throughout the country, leading to various terms for each type of crappie. One of the lesser known names for crappie is the speckled perch or speck for short.
Speck fish is a name with an unknown origin, although the fact that crappies are known for their speckled scales does indicate why they are known as speckled fish.
Why perch is used to describe the crappie is unknown, although perch are a hugely popular freshwater fish that share a physical resemblance to crappie, being similarly shaped and having vertical black stripes down their bodies as white crappie.
It’s easy to understand how the names can be interchangeable given the close the resemblance of perch and white crappie and the fact they’re both very popular freshwater gamefish.
The Difference Between Crappie and Specks
There is not any true difference between crappies and specks because they are the same fish! The only real difference is the names used to describe them, and the fact that most specks appear to be white crappie, although many use the term for black crappie too.
So, the main difference between these fish is their names. You’d need to visit different parks of the country to find out where they are called specks and where they are called crappie, although it is safe to say that they are known as crappies in most areas.
One state that you will definitely hear crappie described as speckled perch or specks is in Florida. In this state almost every angler refers to crappies as specks, which are found in many freshwater lakes such as Lake Okeechobee and Lake Jesup.
So, if you’re down in Florida crappie fishing and looking for tips from the local anglers, make sure to call them by their alternative name! Certain midwestern states like Michigan and Indiana also call crappie specks, so bear this in mind if you’re fishing in the area!