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Black Crappie

Black CrappieNH Conservation Status: Not listed


State Rank: Exotic


Scientific Name: Pomoxis nigromaculatus


Distribution: This non-native species is distributed throughout New Hampshire. Surveys performed by New Hampshire Fish and Game Department in 1938 reported the first black crappie populations in New Hampshire were found in Horseshoe Pond, Merrimack, and in the Merrimack River, Nashua. New Hampshire Fish and Game stocked black crappie in 20 wate rbodies in the state from 1990 thru 2002. There are now over 100 water bodies in the state that now have black crappie due to illegal fish transfers. The native range of black crappie includes the Mississippi River, Great Lakes, and Atlantic coastal watersheds south of Maryland.

Black Crappie

This 15 inch black crappie was caught through the ice. The state record black crappie in New Hampshire, taken from the Bellamy Reservoir in Madbury, was 17.25" long and weighed 2 lbs. 12.8 oz.



Description: Body is very deep and laterally compressed. Has a large mouth and when it is closed the upper jaw extends past the middle of the eye. There are 7-8 dorsal spines and 5-7 anal spines. Dark olive back with sides yellowish-green to silver and dark mottling.


Species commonly confused with: Rock bass


Habitat: Often found in small schools near cover such as vegetation, fallen trees, or boulders. In the spring they are found shallow and move to deep water in the summer to suspend and roam.

Life History: Black crappie spawn in the spring when water temperatures reach 58° to 64°F. The male sweeps out a circular nest in 3 to 8 feet of water on a mud to sand bottom hidden in vegetation. The female will lay 20,000 to 60,000 eggs. Like other members of the sunfish family the male will guard the nest until the young start to feed. The young will grow 2-3 inches in the first year and are mature by the second or third year. Crappie primarily feed on insects, insect larvae, small fish, and minnows.


Origin: Introduced


Conservation/Management: There are no specific conservation or management objectives for black crappie. They are managed through daily bag limits. In recent years black crappie have become increasingly popular with anglers because they are considered to be good table fare and are now found throughout the state.


Fishing Tips: Black crappie can be caught on a variety of small lures and baits. The most popular lures are small jigs and tubes and live minnows are the best bait. During spring and early summer focus in and around vegetation, rocks, and large woody material. In the summer, fall, and winter months focus around the deeper water of the main basin of the lake or pond you are fishing.


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