Golden Crappie: Rare and Mysterious

Golden Crappie & Golden Yellow Crappie
Golden Crappie & Golden Yellow Crappie

Crappie are perhaps the most common freshwater fish in the country, and with good reason. These panfish are not only found in large numbers making them easy and fun to catch, they happen to make a very delectable meal.

However when it comes to Golden Crappie, it’s a different ball game altogether. They are the rarest of the crappie species, with one or two documented cases and a handful of legit pictures in circulation. While there is no scientific data on the golden crappie, they seem to bear similar features as normal crappie with the only difference being their rich, odd colour.

What we know so far about Golden Crappie

The two known main species of crappie are black and white. The rest are as a result of crossbreeding among these two species or in the case of golden crappie, a simple genetic mutation. As a result there are seven types of documented crappie, which you may or may not have known about:

  • Black crappie
  • White crappie
  • Black nosed crappie
  • Natural hybrid crappie
  • Stock hybrid crappie
  • Triploid/Magnolia crappie
  • Golden crappie

Colour Variations

It is not unusual to spot colour variances among crappie in different waters and in different seasons. These subtle variations in colouring and tint coincide with the spawn that naturally occurs in all crappie. However, the two main types of crappie according to colour variations happen to be the black-nosed crappie and golden crappie.

The black-nosed crappie is found in large quantities all over the country. The golden crappie on the hand is extremely rare. Sometimes referred to as albino crappie, it is mostly gold sometimes with a black lining from its lips all the way to the dorsal fin.

So Is It Albinism?

Albinism may be an overused term; however when it comes to animal species in general, all manner of things contribute to their colour. Let’s just say that genetic colour traits in animals are complex and downright weird. Looking at the golden crappie, it may just be missing certain pigments resulting in a gorgeous fish.


There have been reports of sightings of the golden crappie in the social media. However most of them turned out to be a golden walleye, a golden rainbow trout, or a gold Nile perch among other species that are not crappie. The latest media sensation however was the recent golden crappie caught by Steve Volkman, a Wisconsin angler. WLUK-TV reported that Volkman hauled it in on his usual fishing crappie routine from the Fox River. And when he took it to the Department of Natural Resources for verification, they were equally stunned.

The golden crappie measuring ten and a half inches long was found to be a healthy female, full of eggs.

Mr. Ryan Koenigs, DNR senior fisheries biologist said he had heard of one other golden crappie caught three years back in the neighbouring Chippewa Flowage.

Consider yourself one of the lucky ones in the planet if you ever catch this rare breed!

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