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Black Crappie, White Crappie
(Pomoxis nigromaculatus), (Poxmoxis annularis)
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Description Regulations Habitat Records

Gamefish in the Chicago Area include:

  • Fishing for these requires a trout stamp in addition to your fishing license.


There are two species of crappie, the black crappie and the white crappie. There is no apparent difference in their bait preference or in methods used to catch them. These species are most often taken from lakes, where catches of 1 to 1.5 pound fish are common and 2 pounders are reported occasionally. Fish near stumps, brush piles, or other such shelter. Smaller minnows are the most common bait and these should be hooked high in the back on a small hook with a bobber 2 or 3 feet above the hook. Worms can also be used in early spring. When crappie spawn, (April and May), leadhead jigs and spinners become productive and may be used. Usually the best months are March, April and May. Fishing picks back up in the fall. Use a small bobber when ice fishing as the bite is gentle and the fish are sluggish.

Please check the fishing advisories for information.


There are no statewide creel or length limits for crappie. You still must follow any site specific regulations. Site specific limits

Habitat, habits and breeding

For much more information on breeding, habits and habitat, you can read the entire U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) for Black crappie and White crappie This link is a scanned photocopy of the actual reports used by your local government to decide what fish to stock in particular locations. The reports are normally printed on heavy stock blue paper (You'll see the paper reflecting in the background of the scans. Warning: These reports are about 2 meg in size each and will require you to have Adobe Acrobat installed to view properly.


Illinois records: Black Crappie 4lb. 8oz, White Crappie 4lb, 7oz;

North America Records: Black Crappie 6lb, 0 oz, White Crappie 5lb 3oz

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