Crappie are a popular gamefish because of their great taste. They stay in groups so once you catch one, you’re likely to catch several more in the same spot. There are two types of crappie: white crappie and black crappie. They largely act the same and grow to similar sizes, so the difference is largely in appearance. They tend to start spawning when water temperatures hit the 60° mark, a bit ahead of bass and bream. You’ll often hear fishermen refer to good size crappie as “slabs.” Weiss Lake on the Coosa River is known as the Crappie Capital of the World, but you’ll catch crappie in any of the Coosa’s lakes. The most popular method of catching crappie is using live minnows. Finding a school of crappie is so fun, you likely won’t care if they’re white or black crappie, but knowing the difference makes you a smarter angler!
The simplest distinguishing feature of the white crappie (Pomoxis annularis) is that it will have up to 10 dark vertical bars along its sides. Sometimes though, they are faint. A real good way to tell if you take the time is that the dorsal fin (on top) of the white crappie will have five or six spines, while a black crappie will have seven or eight. White crappie are a bit more tolerant of muddy water than black crappie. The state record is 4 lbs 9 oz.
Do you have a picture of a white crappie that is better? We’d love to use it! E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) are pretty similar to white crappie, but tend to be darker and have black spots on its side as opposed to vertical bars. They have seven or eight spines on the dorsal fin, as opposed to only five or six in a white crappie. They prefer clearer water than white crappie.