Species illustration (Illustration Credit: U.S. Wildlife Service)

What it looks like

  • small, deep-bodied fish
  • silver with blue or green iridescence and irregular mosaic of distinct black blotches
  • 7 to 8 dorsal fin spines
  • 6 to 7 anal fin spines
  • large mouth extends below middle of eye


  • length: 18-25 centimetres (7-10 inches)
  • weight: 0.23–0.45 kilograms (0.5–1.0 pounds)
  • Ontario record: 1.7 kilograms (3.8 pounds)

Similar fish

Where it is found

Range of the black crappie in Ontario

Species distribution map (modified from Mandrak and Crossman, 1992)


  • found throughout southern Ontario, including protected bays of the southern Great Lakes and in northwestern Ontario
  • use Fish ON-Line, an interactive mapping tool, to find specific lakes and rivers


  • warm, clear, vegetated lakes, ponds and rivers
  • little current
  • open areas adjacent to cover
  • access to deeper water in winter and summer

Find a fishing spot with Fish ON-Line

Angling tips

  • move in schools
  • bite during the day, especially during overcast weather
  • bite most often during low light periods (dawn and dusk)
  • best fishing in April and early May as the ice clears, and crappie follow schools of bait into warmer, shallow water
  • eyes are positioned to see upward, so work bait slightly above them
  • use light spinning or fly-fishing tackle and 6-pound or less line

Common baits

  • spinners
  • panfish jigs
  • small crankbaits
  • streamer flies
  • small live minnows, nymphs