• Family: Centrarchidae (Sunfishes)
• Other Names: Spec, papermouth, strawberry bass
• Ohio Status: Sport fish
• Adult size: Typically 9-12 inches, can reach 18 inches. Typically weigh 1 pound or less, can reach over 3 pounds.
• Typical Foods: Primarily small fish such as various species of minnows and young gizzard shad.
White crappie are laterally compressed and very similar in appearance to the black crappie. White crappie have 5-10 vertical bars rather than randomly scattered spots like the black crappie. The dorsal fin of a white crappie starts further back on the body than that of a black crappie. White crappie are also slightly more elongate than black crappie.
Habitat and Habits
White crappie can be found in large rivers, reservoirs and lakes throughout Ohio. They are also found in Lake Erie and the Ohio River. White crappie are more tolerant of turbid (murky) waters than black crappie. White crappie usually outnumber black crappie in turbid waters and where there is very little rooted aquatic vegetation.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
White crappie spawn in May and June. Males construct nests by fanning out small depressions on the bottom in and around brush, rocks, and logs in water between one and five feet deep. Females lay 5,000 to 30,000 eggs and males guard the eggs till they hatch. Young crappie feed on zooplankton and insect larvae during their first year of life.