One of the most popular freshwater game fish in North America, crappie have a distinctive appearance that can be easily identified by those looking to catch this remarkable fish. Crappie is best known for being quite tasty and if you know the right techniques, relatively easy to catch. While crappie is quite popular, understanding their appearance will help you to identify them properly compared to other freshwater fish.
Crappie is a member of the sunfish family known as Centrarchidae. And, they are also known as panfish because they are quite tasty when properly cooked. You can find crappie in freshwater lakes, streams, rivers, and some ponds, although they must be large ponds to satiate their eating habits. Crappie is carnivorous and usually feast on smaller fish with their own young sometimes being the target.
What Does a Crappie Fish Look Like
There are two types of crappie, white and black, which do have some differences which will be important to note if you are fishing for them.
It should be noted that white crappie and black crappie are quite similar in terms of size and general shape. The differences are in the coloring and spots or bars depending on the type of crappie being discussed.
Just like black crappie, white crappie has what is known as a terminal position for the mouth and feature many small teeth in two rows, called cardiform because it resembles a tool used for wool carding. While crappie is generally nine to ten inches long when fully mature and usually weigh just under two pounds.
White crappie is generally silver in color with shades of brown or green along the back. They have lateral bars along the side and their undersides are generally white. This type of crappie has six spines that make up their dorsal fin.
Fully mature black crappie tend to be a little shorter compared to white crappie. A typical adult is four to eight inches long although they tend to weigh slightly more. This is why the black crappie looks thicker in comparison. The general coloring of the black crappie is not too different compared to their white counterparts. They have silver-gray to green coloring across their bodies, although they do not have a fully white underbelly.
White crappie tends to be a little longer and thinner compared to black crappie. Another difference is that black crappie has seven to eight spines along their dorsal fin as opposed to six for white crappie. But the most notable difference is that black crappie has dark spots as opposed to the lateral bars of white crappie. This is the most distinguishing feature that will let you tell them apart.
Understanding how to identify crappie will help considerably when you are fishing for them in the lakes, streams, and freshwater bodies of water in the US and Canada. If you are fishing for crappie, then you can utilize certain techniques that will help you catch more of them once you identified the first on your line.