Crappie are a type of freshwater fish of the genus Pomoxis in the sunfish family. The fish is one of the most sought-after game fish and is plentiful in lakes in rivers through the United States and parts of Canada. While it was originally native only to the eastern part of the continent, its range has been extended from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts.
Crappie are known for their fighting ability and aggressiveness when they strike a bait. While they are usually easily hauled in, simply because of their smaller size, it may be hard to find a more entertaining fighter once hooked. They jump swim very fast from side to side, trying to find an advantage.
Crappie come in two different varieties, white and black. In actuality, there is very little difference between the two. Each have darker areas running front to back along the back of the fish with sides that are almost silvery. Both also have black spots, though the spots are more organized on white crappie. The dorsal spines account for the other difference. White crappie have six dorsal spines and black crappie have seven to eight.
Crappie are not a large species, as far as game fish go. They are not as flashy or as popular as bass. The vast majority of those caught are less than 2 pounds (1 kilogram). The world record, for both black and white crappie, barely exceeds 5 pounds (2.26 kilograms). However, they offer something many other game fish species do not -- the opportunity to catch them in huge numbers.
It is not uncommon for crappie to be schooled together in very impressive numbers. Also, because they are so common in many areas, bag limits are either non-existent or very generous in most jurisdictions. In some cases, bringing home 40 to 50 fish a day, per boat, is an average day. Once a school is found and the right bait is used, it can be very easy to catch a crappie, or dozens of them. Further, crappie are considered to be among the best tasting of freshwater fish.
A crappie's diet is very diverse. As a predatory species, they tend to like cut bait, small fish offered as live bait, or smaller lures. The fact they have such a diverse diet often means a great variety of lures can be used in catching them. In fact, some anglers may be surprised when they strike at very large lures, much larger than they could probably actually swallow, had it been a natural prey.