by Scott Mackenthun
Inexperienced crappie anglers, especially kids, often don’t realize there are two species of crappie – black crappie and white crappie. If you’re not familiar with them, on a quick glance you may not see the difference.
Sometimes even experienced anglers think the primary difference is actually the color – black versus white. However, color is the least reliable indicator of any species of fish, including crappie. During the spring spawning period, both species turn extremely dark or black. Male crappie (of both species) in particular turn very dark. That is how they try and impress the ladies.
Once you see enough of them the two species are easy to distinguish. However, there are two primary ways to scientifically determine whether you are looking at a black or white crappie.
With the help of Quin and Cora, fisheries biologist Scott Mackenthun explains: