Crappies are grouped as part of the sunfish family. They are freshwater fishes found in many parts of America and Canada. The crappie fishing season is usually highly anticipated by anglers who look forward to landing many crappies which can be sold or stored for consumption.
Crappies are delicious; they can be found in the menus of many seafood restaurants. Crappies feed on smaller fish in their habitat, the recent studies have shown that the crappie population is quite sustainable which means, there is a balance in the reproduction rate and the level of crappie fishing that happens every year.
Crappies can be commonly found in large schools. However, anglers can find smaller schools of crappies. They are less active during the day, but you can land more crappies at night if you make the right fishing plan.
Fishing for crappies is fun. There are so many types of baits and crappie fishing nets and fish finders that help anglers have a wonderful experience every time they set out on crappie fishing expeditions. There are however two common species of crappies. They have generally been referred to as the white crappies and the black crappies.
White Crappie vs Black Crappie
In this article, I will be discussing the notable differences between both species of crappies. However, the white and black crappies have many similarities, and there is no evidence to prove that either one of the species is more superior to the other. But it is good to know the differences which can help anglers to know the regions black or white crappies are predominantly found. This information can help further studies aimed at preventing fish diseases and evaluating crappie population.
The botanical name for white crappies is Pomoxis annularis. It is commonly found in many freshwater lakes and rivers in North America. White crappies have been found to weigh as much as two pounds averagely. They can be found in large schools living under rocks beneath the water and in the parts of the water where there are tall or short weeds.
Anglers seek to find the biggest crappies which have attained maturity because they can get more of the delicious flesh. White crappies reach maturity in about two years, and they are known to live for as long as six years or longer according to some reports.
The black crappies thrive in fresh water as well. They can be found in large schools beneath freshwater lakes spread across North America. The botanical name of the black crappies is Pomoxis nigromaculatus.
The black crappies at maturity also weigh about two pounds; they are mostly found in waters without strong current where the black crappies hide beneath the mud, sand, or thick weeds that have grown under the water.
The black crappies are also fast breeders. They are known to populate the lakes and small ponds after the spawning season. The black crappies have also been placed on the list of non-endangered species which is great news for anglers who will frown at the imposition of restrictions if the agencies ever thought the black crappies are endangered species.
Now that you have read a basic overview of both crappie species let’s have a look at some distinct differences that can help you know which if the species you have caught.
Differences between White Crappie and Black Crappie
The first difference you will notice between the white and black crappies is obvious. The black crappies look darker than the white crappies hence the name that differentiates the two species.
Other significant differences that shouldn’t be too hard to notice are as follows:
Another easy way to spot white crappies is the marking on the body which are noticeably brighter stripes that run from the upper body to the lower parts of the crappie, while the black crappies have darker markings in no particular pattern on the side of its body.
The white crappies also seem to look longer than the black crappies. The black crappies appear to be rounded and flatter, however, the difference in length is not very apparent, but this can help you tell the difference. While the white crappies can reach 10 inches at maturity, the black crappies tend to reach an average of 8 inches at maturity.
Another difference if the dorsal fins on the white crappies. Upon a closer look, you will notice that the white crappies predominantly have about six spines on the dorsal fin. The black crappies have more spines which are usually as many as 8 spines on a majority of the black crappie species.
The dorsal fin on the white crappies is also positioned farther away from its head, and the position of the dorsal fin on the black crappies can be observed to be at a closer position to the crappies head.
Experienced anglers have also indicated that you are more likely to find white crappies in waters where there are many hiding places beneath such as rocks, and thick weeds which provide a place for the white crappies to hide. The black crappies seem to prefer clearer lakes and rivers which have sand beds beneath the water.
While both species can also be found in waters with average salinity, you will most likely find the black crappies in salt water lakes while the white crappies tend to stick to the freshwater lakes and rivers.
It has also been pointed out by experienced anglers that white crappies have a bigger mouth than the black crappies. This feature was observed when anglers discovered that they caught more white crappies while using bigger baits, while the smaller baits caught more black crappies.
Overall, both species tend to thrive together, so you should expect to catch a few of either species when fishing for crappies.