Ontario's Black Crappie

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Ontario Crappie With Lure In Mouth

 The other name of Black Crappie is speckled perch, specks, paper mouth, bachelor perch, calico bass or white perch. The species of Black Crappie is Pomoxis nigromaculatus. Pomoxis is Greek For ''Opercle sharp" and refers to the fact that the fish's gill covers have spines. The species epithet nigromaculatus is Latin and means "black spotted”. The black crappie is easily confused with the white crappie.

The native range of this species is very similar to that of the White Crappie, except that it extended slightly further north into Canada and east to the coastal plains south of Virginia.  However, it is deeper bodied than the White Crappie, and silvery green in color. The sides are marked with black blotches which become more intense towards the back. The dorsal, anal, and caudal fins also are marked with rows of dark spots.

Crappies have compressed bodies, small heads and arched backs. It has a large mouth with an upper jaw extending under the eye. Males do not develop specialized breeding coloration during the spawning season. Black crappie easily predominates in acidic waters. Like the sunfish family, black crappie are nest builders and they nest in colonies.  Circular nests are fanned by males over gravel or soft muddy bottoms and frequently around submerged vegetation in water from three to eight feet deep. After spawning, males guard the eggs and fry. Females may produce between 11,000 and 188,000 eggs. The Black Crappie prefers deeper, cooler, clearer water than the white crappie.

Crappies bite readily and produce sweet-tasty fillets. A few important characteristics of Black Crappie are 7-8 dorsal fin spines, 6 and 7 and fin spines, irregular mosaics of distinct black blotches. They are generally 18-25 cms (7-10inches) although in some lakes crappies up to 16 inches can be common. Black Crappie generally feed on crustaceans, aquatic insects, shiners, worms, small minnows and small fish. Adults mainly eat small fish, particularly open-water forage fish like thread in shad. Artificial baits including jigs, crank baits, spinners and flies are common and popular fish producers.

Ontario Black crappies are excellent game fish and are highly regarded by bait fishermen and artificial lure anglers alike. They are easily caught during pre spawning periods when the fish are congregated in large schools. Jigging with small, live minnows or a spinner-fly combination are very productive and will help you reach your daily limit in no time. They will also strike surface flies, small spinners, soft platics, and tiny crank baits.

To find the right depth the difference with crappie is that many englers use minnows and will not fish on the bottom. Crappies often suspend in brush such as a fallen trees and other structure and many will not take a bait that is below them. Also a #2 wire hook with the minnow hooked so that it can stay alive and swim around for as long as possible proves to be a productive method for pulling great numbers of these fish out of the water.

Considered to be excellent eating by many anglers the meat is prepared by rolling in cornmeal or dipping in 'FishCrisp' batter and deep fried. Baking and broiling these 'slabs' are also another tastely alternative and are great with a cheese coating.

Gaining popularity in many Ontario lakes and rivers many anglers continue to be Happy for Crappie!

'Bon Appetite'


 This article was written by the
contributing staff of OFT and its
group of amateur and pro Ontario anglers.

Copyright 2008. Ontario Fish Trips .

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