Black Crappie

Native to the Atlantic slope from Virginia to Florida, the Gulf slope west to Texas and the Mississippi River Basin. Introduced to Arizona in 1905.

  • Common Name:

    Black Crappie

  • Scientific Name:

    Pomoxis nigromaculatus

  • Weight:

    3 ozs - over 4 lbs

  • Size:

    6-18 inches

  • Where to See:

    Black crappie are far more abundant than white crappie and are found in most of Arizona's major warm water reservoirs.


Introduced to Arizona in 1905. Head and back heavily and irregularly spotted with black blotches on a silver-olive background; tail, dorsal and anal fins are spotted. Seven or eight spines on dorsal fin. Body is compressed or flat. Can live up to 15 years but rarely live more than six or seven years.

Spawning is often in open water, typically over mud, sand or gravel bottoms. Prefer sites near vertical cover such as trees or rocks. Males guard the nest and young after the eggs hatch. Generally mature in second or third year of life. Live up to 7 years.

More About Black Crappie

Insect and plankton eaters until they reach six or seven inches switching to a fish diet. In Arizona, threadfin shad are their main diet.
Very aggressive and fun to catch.  Often found in schools.  They bite most readily in the spring. They also tend to feed at night more than the other centrarchids.  Effective bait and lures are minnows, small jigs and flies fished along shorelines around submerged brush and trees and rock reefs. Delicate bones around the mouth make it vital to use a net or extreme care in landing these fish.

Our Mission

To conserve Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources and manage for safe, compatible outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations.

Fishing Regulations

Rules and regulations for fishing in Arizona.

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