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White crappie illustration

White Crappie

North Dakota Game Species

Sunfish Family: Sunfish family members are deep and stockily built, attractive in coloration and popular as panfish. Most sunfish spawn in early summer, when water temperatures warm to the mid-60 and low 70-degree range. Male sunfish build nests by excavating soft substrate with their fins to expose sand, gravel, roots or other firm objects for females to lay their eggs over.

White Crappie Identification

  • Dorsal fin has a spiny front portion and a soft-rayed rear portion
  • Looks similar to the black crappie, but only has 5-6 spines in the dorsal fin
  • The dark spots on its sides are consolidated into vertical bars


The white crappie is more tolerant of turbid water and well-suited to reservoirs where those conditions exist.

Black and white crappies are commonly captured together.

Anglers will often locate crappies suspended in the water column, typically in relation to creek or river channels in reservoirs.