Buy A License Renew Your Boat Registration Pay Fines/Restitution

Black Crappie

Crappie, Perch, Specks, Sac-a-lait


Small freshwater fish, averaging less than a pound. Can grow up to 4 to 5 pounds and generally around 9 to 10 inches long, rarely exceeding 15 inches. Similar to white crappie. Both fish have the same colors (silvery-olive shading to green or brown on the back and bright silver to white on the belly). Black crappie have green or blackish blotches randomly spaced across their bodies, while white crappie have seven to nine vertical bars on their sides. Black crappie have seven or eight dorsal spines; white crappie have five or six. 

Range and Habitat

Native throughout the southeastern United States; also stocked in the northeastern United States and Canada. Found in open freshwater with submerged timber or aquatic vegetation in standing waterbodies and slowly flowing backwaters of medium to large rivers. Prefer clearer, moving water than white crappie. Found near vegetation and woody debris in shallow water during spawning season. 


Begin to spawn in February in south Louisiana and in April in north Louisiana when water temperatures reach 60 to 65°F. Males seek out nesting sites with firm bottoms in shoreline areas with depths of 1 to 6 feet. Their coloring becomes vivid to attract females to the nests for mating. Females may produce and deposit eggs several times during the spawning season and mate with several males. Females produce 30,000 to 200,000 eggs. After releasing eggs, females return to deeper waters and males guard the nests. Young crappie feed on plankton; juveniles and adults feed on small fishes and invertebrates including shad, minnows, aquatic insects, crawfish, and freshwater shrimp. Lifespan averages 9 years.

More Information/References