White and Black
World Record - 4 lbs. 14 oz.
Species: Pomoxis Annularis (white variety) or Pomoxis Nigromaculatus (black variety)
The name if this one is not meant to overshadow it's value as a game fish or an eating fish. It is pronounced as "croppie".
Where to find them and their Life Cycle
In 2005, crappie populations were found in all forty-eight lower states and the eastern half of Canada. Just about any body of fresh water will hold one or both of the Pomoxis brothers to some degree. They will co-exist with black bass, pike, muskellunge, and walleye in the same area. Their actual range is difficult to nail down due to their being transplanted so freely and openly across North America. Let's just say they are everywhere and let it go at that, huh?
They spawn from April through June in shallow water from 55 to 65 degrees. The nests are built by the males, the female deposits the eggs. , The male fertilizes them and then guards them until they hatch about a week later. Once born, they are guarded by the male for a short time. After they get to be about an inch long, they will go off on their own, stay close to shore, and hide in the weed beds until they grow large enough to enter the big boy water.
The "white" is the original type, and has a predominantly pale or whitish skin. The "black" is very close, but is darker and has a "spotted" pattern on the skin.
Both varieties can grow to a max size of 21" and weigh over 5 pounds. The world record is currently at 4 pounds, 14 ounces and 21" long. IT WAS CAUGHT BY A WOMAN! C'MON GUYS! GO CATCH A BIG A** CRAPPIE!
What they eat and when
These panfish are sneaky little buggers. In the daytime, they are typically inactive, and just lay around (like me on weekends!) by weed beds or submerged cover, like rocks or stumps. At night and at dawn, they begin to feed and move to open water OR towards the shore.
Young ones will take plankton, surface insects, or small crustaceans like crayfish. As adults, their diet becomes more predatory, and includes smaller fish including the young of their natural enemies, the pike, the muskie, and the walleye. Sounds like they are trying to clean up the neighborhood!
How we eat them and how to cook 'em
These fresh water fishies are considered to be the best tasting of ALL fresh water fish. This has boosted their status as an eating fish, though they are still sought by hardcore catch and release game anglers. Nothing wrong with C&R, but we want to eat what we catch, don't we? Sure we do!
Crappie can be a wonderful culinary ingredient, and is best pan fried. Since they are in the panfish family, this should be self evident. But the meat can be baked, broiled, poached, deep fried, or even smoked with GOOD results.
Other species like this one and the differences
The crappie is much like it's very close cousins, the bluegill and the sunfish, with coloring being the difference. The crappie is either mostly whitish with black or dark stripes, or darker with a black spot pattern on the sides. Bluegill can be a dark green to grey, with a blue tint to the gill area, while sunfish have an orange splash across the underbelly.
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