Capitalizing on Crappie

Category: Crappie Fishing Tips

 19 seconds ago by sworrall 

Modified 19 seconds ago at 19 seconds ago

This week’s Feature Blog, Capitalizing on Crappie

By: Mark Romanack


The author spends more time every year targeting crappie. Fish like this black crappie are abundant, they grow to excellent size and are outstanding table fare.

​If you like catching lots of fish and also enjoy eating fish, might I suggest you look into crappie fishing. Crappie are one of the most abundant sport fish in North America. These unique panfish can be caught in just about every state, with perhaps the possible exception of Alaska and Hawaii!

​ There are two species of crappie in North America including the black crappie and the white crappie. The black crappie gets it’s name from the dominate black spots or blotches that are especially dominate during spawning season. The white crappie is more silver in color with lighter dark bars marking the flanks of the fish.

Both black and white crappie often inhabit the same bodies of water, but generally speaking most of the white crappie are found south of Ohio. Both black and white crappie grow quickly and reach impressive size in just a few short years. In the south, crappie are especially prolific breeders. Up north, crappie struggle a bit more in natural reproduction due to the rapid changes in water temperature so common up north.
​ Not surprisingly, the creel limits on crappie are in general larger in the south and smaller in the north to help protect fish populations.

​ Both black and white crappie are excellent table fare fish. In the south, crappie are the number one species sought out by anglers who are looking for a fish dinner. Up north, crappie are commonly targeted for the table, but other species like bluegill and yellow perch are also very popular table fare.

​ Crappie, like any freshwater fish species are best when caught, immediately placed on ice and eaten fresh. Crappie can of course be frozen, but the quality of the flesh only sustains being frozen for about a year. Anything longer and crappie suffer from freezer burn.

The author’s life long fishing buddy, Dale Voice is a big fan of crappie. Crappie can be caught in so many bodies of water and using so many different tactics, it’s a fish that appeals to just about everyone.


​ Crappie were really the first species of fish to be largely targeted with modern forward facing sonar. Products like Garmin’s LiveScope have the ability to create an interactive or real time sonar experience second to none. With LiveScope the angler can see the bottom, cover such as weeds or submerged wood, baitfish, game fish and even the angler’s lure show up distinctly on the sonar screen. As fish react to the lure, the real time advantage is that the angler can actually see if the fish is responding positively or negatively to whatever presentation is being used. Of course the benefit to this is if one presentation isn’t working, another one can quickly be tried in an effort to figure out what the fish want on any given day.

​ LiveScope is so detailed it’s even possible to identify the relative size of fish and actually target bigger fish in the school! Now that sophisticated sonar fishing!

LiveScope has three different views available to anglers including down imaging, forward imaging and perspective mode. Down imaging looks at fish directly below the angler and is commonly used in ice fishing applications. Forward imaging views a wide are out in front of the transducer and is commonly used in open water casting applications. Perspective mode is a useful tool for hunting down schools of fish, as it increases the area in which the transducer can mark fish.

​ Collectively, forward facing or “live” sonar has literally taken the crappie fishing world by storm. Because crappie are schooling fish that are also often found in close proximity to submerged weeds, natural wood or submerged cribs, they can be readily caught using live sonar.

Crappie are a fish for the ages. More anglers target crappie than walleye, trout and salmon anglers combined.


​ While some might argue that “live” sonar is so good it is unsportsmanlike, that’s a stretch. The fact is, “live” sonar does make it easier to find and catch fish, but ultimately catching those fish still requires a commitment to time and also learning angling skills. It should also be noted that just because fish are being caught doesn’t mean they are being kept. Credible anglers are not going to exceed their creel limit regardless of the technology used to catch them. Catch and release is always an option and in the case of crappie it’s an option that allows anglers to enjoy catching a lot of fish, while only harvesting a modest number for the table.


If you enjoy fishing, like to catch lots of fish and also like to eat fish, it’s hard to imagine a better species than the black and white crappie. No matter where you live, chances are there is a great crappie fishery nearby.

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