Non-native that originated from the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay and Mississippi River basin, west to Minnesota and South Dakota, south to the Gulf of Mexico. Introduced in 1903. Similar to black crappie but more silvery in color and smaller in size. Black markings tend to form vertical bars rather than random spots as in black crappie. The dorsal fin has 6 spines. The body is compressed or flat. Tail fin, dorsal and anal fins are spotted. Length: 6 to 17 inches. Weight: 3 oz. to over 3 pounds.
Lake Pleasant is the only lake in Arizona where white crappie are occasionally caught. Crappie are attracted to submerged brush and trees and generally travel in schools. More tolerant of warm, turbid waters than black crappie.
Spawn in spring, usually near cover such as submerged brush or rock. Males guard the nest and young after the eggs hatch. Generally mature in second or third year of life, rarely live more than 6 years.
Insect and plankton eaters until they reach six or seven inches switching to a fish diet. In Arizona, threadfin shad are their main diet.
Effective bait and lures are minnows, small jigs, silver spoons, spinners and flies fished along shorelines around submerged brush and trees and rock reefs. Often found in schools. They bite most readily in the spring during the pre-spawn and spawning periods. They also tend to feed at night more than other sunfishes.
The meat is white, fine textured and considered excellent eating. Many consider crappie to be one of the finest tasting freshwater fish available.
Updated October 2009