Native to the eastern half of the U.S. and southern Ontario west of the Appalachians, this species has also been introduced throughout the continental United Stares. It is missing from most of peninsular Florida and from some north, central and midwestern states.
The white crappie and black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) are two of the most distinctive members of the sunfish and black bass family. Crappies closely resemble the sunfish with their deep, roundish (in profile), greatly compressed bodies and small heads. The crappies can be identified even at a distance by their lighter colored bodies (olive to black above, with silvery sides) generously covered with black spots (though the spots are often more vague in the white crappie), and by their almost identical dorsal and anal fins.
Crappies can be distinguished from each other by the number of spines in the dorsal fin; 6 in the white crappie and 7 8 in the black crappie. The white crappie is the only sunfish with the same number of spines in both the dorsal and anal fins. Also, the spots on the white crappie are neatly arranged into 7 9 vertical bars on the sides, whereas in the black crappie the spots are scattered in an irregular fashion. In the white crappie the spots are sometimes vaguer, which may explain the names “white” and “black” crappie since in fact both fish are essentially the same color. The dorsal, anal, and tail fins are also spotted or mottled in both species, but the paired fins (pectorals and ventrals) are never spotted. As in all the sunfishes, the dorsal spines run together with the dorsal rays, but in the crappies, the spines and rays look distinctly like a single fin rather than like two connected fins.
The white crappie is not a bottom dweller and prefers shallower water than the black crappie. It is also better able to tolerate areas of high turbidity, being found in warm, weedy bays, silted streams, lakes, ponds, and muddy, slow moving areas of larger rivers. Like the black crappie, it is considered an excellent food and sport fish and has white flaky meat that is of excellent quality
Current All Tackle Record
5 lbs 3oz ( 2.35 kg)
Fishing World Records
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