Black Crappie

Black Crappie and White Crappie both have the same colors, ranging from dark olive to black on top, with silvery/white sides and dark blotches.

The pattern of the dark blotches is often different between the two. Black Crappie have scattered, random spots and White Crappie usually can have 5 to10 vertical bars along their body.

Black Crappie Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season Open Year-Round
Size Limit No Size Limit
Daily Limit / Person 50 panfish total (no more than 25 Black Crappie)
Delaware Range Statewide
Abundance in Delaware Waters Abundant
General Habitat and Food Preferences Black Crappie can be found around aquatic vegetation and submerged woody material such as tree tops and brush piles. In late winter/early spring, Black Crappie congregate in large schools, often in deeper water.

They feed on insects, small crayfish, and small fishes.
Did You Know? Black Crappie are an introduced species to Delaware (meaning they are non-native).

Black Crappies eat more insects and crustaceans than White Crappies.

Black Crappie are more common than the White Crappie. Black Crappie are found statewide and White Crappie are limited to a few ponds in New Castle County.

Crappies are known as "paper mouths" because of their large thin lips.
Common Lures and Baits Black Crappie can be caught with artificial flies, small spinners, and jigs.

Small minnow's fished suspended under bobbers are a favored technique.
Typical Sizes Caught Black Crappie are commonly caught at lengths of less than 12 inches (less than 1 pound) by Delaware anglers.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Live Release Award
Adult: 12 inches minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 10 inches minimum

Sport Fishing Tournament Award
Adult: 1 pounds minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 0.75 pounds (12 ounces) minimum

Black Crappie are eligible for the Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament and Live Release "Crappie" awards, but not currently eligible for an individual species award.
Delaware State Record 4 pounds 9 ounces
Marvin Billips

"Crappie" is a general category and can be any crappie species.

Black Crappie are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.