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"Calico Bass" redirects here. For the marine fish, see Kelp Bass.
Black (top) and white crappie
(P. nigromaculatus & P. annularis)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Centrarchidae
Genus: Pomoxis
Rafinesque, 1818
Type species
Pomoxis annularis
Rafinesque, 1818

The crappies ( or )[1][2] are a genus, Pomoxis, of North American freshwater fish in the sunfish family Centrarchidae. Both species in this genus are popular game fish.


  • Etymology 1
  • Species 2
  • Biology 3
  • Fishing 4
    • Angling 4.1
    • Commercial fishing 4.2
  • Crappie fishing records 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7


The genus name Pomoxis derives from the Greek πώμα (cover, plug, operculum) and οξύς (sharp). The common name (also spelled croppie or crappé), derives from the Canadian French crapet, which refers to many different fishes of the sunfish family. Other names for crappie are papermouths, strawberry bass, speckled bass or specks (especially in Michigan), speckled perch, calico bass (throughout New England),[3] sac-a-lait (in southern Louisiana, lit. "milk bag", an alteration by folk etymology from Choctaw sakli)[4] and Oswego bass.


The currently recognized species in this genus are:[5]


Both species of crappie as adults feed predominantly on smaller species, including the young of their own predators (which include the northern pike, muskellunge, and walleye). They have diverse diets, however, including zooplankton, insects, and crustaceans.[6][7] By day, crappie tend to be less active and will concentrate around weed beds or submerged objects, such as logs and boulders. They feed during dawn and dusk, by moving into open water or approaching the shore.[8][9]


A black crappie (P. nigromaculatus)

The Pomoxis species are highly regarded game fish and are often considered to be among the best-tasting freshwater fish. Because of their diverse diets, crappie may be caught in many ways, including casting light jigs, trolling with minnows or artificial lures, using small spinnerbaits, or using bobbers. Crappies are also popular with ice-fishers, as they are active in winter.[8][9][10] The current all-tackle fishing world record for a black crappie is 2.25 kg (5.0 lb) and for a white crappie is 2.35 kg (5.2 lb).[11][12]


Fly fishing
brook trout
hucho taimen
largemouth bass
northern pike
peacock bass
shoal bass
smallmouth bass
more fly fish...
other sport fish...



Angling for crappie is popular throughout much of North America. Methods vary, but among the most popular is called "Spider Rigging," a method characterized by a fisherman in a boat with many long fishing rods pointing away from the angler at various angles like spokes from a wheel.[13] Anglers who employ the Spider Rigging method may choose from among many popular baits. Some of the most popular are plastic jigs with lead jig heads, crankbaits or live minnows.[14] Many anglers also chum or dump live bait into the water to attract the fish to bite their bait. Crappies are also regularly targeted and caught during the spawning period by fly fishermen, and can be taken from frozen ponds and lakes in winter by ice fishing.

Commercial fishing

A commercial fishery for crappies existed at Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee until 2003. It was one of the few commercial fisheries for crappies.

Crappie fishing records

By information from International Game Fish Association IGFA the most outstanding records:[15]

  • Black crappie is a 5-pound fish caught April 21, 2005, by John R. Horstman from a private lake in Missouri. USA on April 21st 2006 that weighted 2.26 kg (5 lbs. 0 oz.)
  • White crappie is a 5-pound fish caught July 31 1957, by Fred Brigh in Mississippi. USA on July 31st 1957 that weighted 2.35 kg (5 lbs, 3 oz.)


  1. ^ "Crappie".  
  2. ^ "Crappie". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  3. ^ Massachusetts Wildlife
  4. ^ Sac-a-lait or Crappie at
  5. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2013). PomoxisSpecies of in FishBase. February 2013 version.
  6. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Pomoxis annularis in FishBase. March 2006 version.
  7. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Pomoxis nigromaculatus in FishBase. March 2006 version.
  8. ^ a b "Pomoxis annularis"Comprehensive Report Species – .  
  9. ^ a b "Pomoxis nigromaculatus"Comprehensive Report Species – .  
  10. ^ "Black Crappie".  
  11. ^ IGFA World Record: Black Crappie – (Pomoxis nigromaculatus)
  12. ^ IGFA World Record: White Crappie – (Pomoxis annularis)
  13. ^ "Super Crappie Systems". In-Fisherman. Archived from the original on 22 December 2006. Retrieved 23 February 2007. 
  14. ^ Crappie Fishing Educational Fishing Information for Crappie. Retrieved 2013-07-24
  15. ^ "IGFA World Records". International Game Fish Association. Retrieved November 1, 2015. 

Further reading

  • "Pomoxis".  
  • Ellis, Jack (1993). The Sunfishes-A Fly Fishing Journey of Discovery. Bennington, VT: Abenaki Publishers, Inc.  
  • Rice, F. Philip (1964). America's Favorite Fishing: A Complete Guide to Angling for Panfish. New York: Harper Row. 
  • Rice, F. Philip (1984). Panfishing. New York: Stackpole Books.  
  • Malo, John (1981). Fly-Fishing for Panfish. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Dillon Press Inc.  
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