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Black Crappie

Black CrappieScientific Name

Pomoxis nigromaculatus

Other Common Names

papermouth, Calico bass, specks, speckled perch


white. The black crappie is covered with dark, irregular blotches and has seven-rarely eight-dorsal spines. It shows more yellowish and greenish on its sides and its caudal (tail) and anal fins are heavily flecked.

Best Fishing

Lakes: Buggs Island, Chesdin, Chickahominy, Cohoon, Anna, Smith Mountain, Prince, Gaston, Claytor, Brittle, Moomaw, Orange, Burke, South Holston, and Western Branch. Rivers: tidal Chickahominy and its tributaries, tidal James, and South Fork Shenandoah.

Fishing Techniques

Light spinning or spincasting rods and reels with tiny jigs, doll flies, streamers, small crank baits that imitate minnows, small spoons and spinner-bucktail combinations, and spinner-grubs. Best live baits are small to medium minnows.

Feeding Habits

Minnows and other small fish are most favored, but will eat nymphs, crustaceans and insects.


Rivers and streams of the coastal plain, millponds, swamps, tidal creeks, small lakes and large impoundments. Associates with brush piles, sunken tree tops, stumps, logs, pilings, boat docks, bridges or shallow, marshy backwater sloughs near willow, alder, bulrush or cattail-edged shores.

Spawning Habits

Begin congregating in late February just off the shallows of their spawning grounds. In early March to mid-April, they seek out gravel or sandy bottoms close to or amid sunken logs, stumps, underwater brush or other protective structure. In water depths from 2 to 15ft., they fan out saucer-shaped nests. When water is about 50°F,females spawn, leaving males to briefly guard eggs until hatching.