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Discover Nature: Crappie

A white crappie sits, suspended in dark water, with a white body and black vertical stripes of scales.
White crappie are spawning in Missouri waters this week across most of the state. Learn where to find them, how to catch them, and how to prepare them, with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide. ";

This week on Discover Nature, crappie are spawning in shallow water across Missouri.

These popular panfish occur nearly statewide in open water or near submerged timber or other suitable cover in ponds, lakes, reservoirs, and slow-flowing backwaters of large rivers. 

During the spring spawning season, these fish find vegetation and submerged woody structure in shallow water.  

Crappie are most active in evening and nighttime, but can be observed at all times of day. 

Individuals usually live no more than three or four years, but occasionally can live eight years or more. They nest in colonies in or near plant growth, if available, with as many as 35 nests being reported in a single colony. 

Crappie primarily eat minnows and young shad, as well as aquatic insects and small crustaceans. 

In Missouri white crappie are more prolific than black crappie, and its size and prevalence make it one of the most popular fish species in the angler’s creel. 

Learn more about both white and black crappie species, including where to find them, how to catch them, and recipes for putting fresh, wild-caught food on the table with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide.

Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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