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Crappies in general


CrappieMagnet

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Thought a general description was in order.
Crappies belong to the sunfish family.They have flat,silvery bodies with black to dark green markings.These markings vary in intensity,depending on the time of year and the type of water.During the spring spawning period,a male black crappie may appear jet black over much of it's body.Markings on the male white crappie darken around the head,breast and back.Crappies from really clear waters usually have bolder markings than from fish from murky waters.
Although black and white crappies share many of the same waters,black crappies prefer quieter waters.Black crappies prefer colder waters too whereas white crappies thrive better in warmer waters.White crappies are most common in reservoirs,lakes,rivers and the bayous of the south.They can tolerate murkier water than black crappies and can thrive in water basins with either soft or hard bottoms and live near some kind of structure,or cover.
Black crappies are abundant in cool,northern lakes with gravel or sand bottoms,and can be found almost always around some type of vegetation.

Although they are different slightly in appearance,black and white crappies have alot of common characteristics.Both have a large number of gill rakers for straining plankton from the water.Crappies in the north eat small fish,insects and crustaceans while many of the crappies in the south eat gizzard and threadfin shad.More sensitive to light than sunfish,crappies feed more at dawn,dusk or at night.They bite throughout the year,but feed less often once the water temps drop below 50 degrees.

Crappies start to make nests when the water temps reaches 62-65 degrees,which in our state averages around late may to early june.Spawning crappies prefer gravel bottoms,but will nest on sand or mud if gravel is not around.They also spawn on boulders,dense weed mats or overhanging banks,especially in streams or rivers.Males are the first to arrive and the last.They establish and defend an area,then build a nest by fanning away debris.After the female drops her eggs,the male stays to protect the nest.The eggs hatch in 3-5 days,depending on what the weather dictates and water temps do.Most crappies spawn in water 2 to 10 feet deep.The larger fish have been known to spawn in water to 20 feet.They spawn when the water temperatures reach between 50 and 72 degrees.

In most waters,a good sized crappie is 1/2 to 1 pound.Crappies rarely live longer than 5 years.

I hope this gives you all a general knowledge of crappies and hopefully it answers some of your questions.

CrappieMagnet

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Why does a crappie rarely live beyond 5 years?

I thought the Upper Red craze was the 1995 year class.

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Crappies can live 10 years or more, depending on geographic location and type of water, as well as many other characteristics. I believe one of the oldest crappies tested was 13 years old. Crappies will differ in age when compared to size throughout the US regions as well. For example, a 3 year old crappie in Tennessee will typically weigh more then a 3 year old crappie in Minnesota. Some people say that northern region crappies live longer, true in most cases, but studies show that crappies in Florida have just as long lifespans.

I think what CrappieMagnet meant was that crappies live an average of 5 years. The typical lifespan of a crappie is 3-6 years.

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

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