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Meet our Black Crappie

Our Black Crappie, (pronounced croppie), Pomoxis nigromaculatus, is the only speckled fish in our 900 gallon freshwater aquarium. It was caught in the pond, right behind the nature center, using a fishing pole. It tends to hide behind the tank's vegetation and doesn't "school", or swim with the other fish, as much as our sunfish. So you may have to search for it when you visit!

Although crappies live in lakes, streams and ponds they tend to like waterways with more solid substrates, or bottoms. We know the pond bottom is silty since nature center staff have been in there, with hip waders on, and sank down to the tops of their legs! So we think the crappie probably ended up in the pond by swimming from the river, into the creek and through the pipe that connects the creek to the pond. Crappies do use softer substrates, like sand, and submerged vegetation, when they spawn, or breed. 

Both White and Black Crappie eat smaller fish, aquatic insect larvae, worms and crayfish. Many people like to fish for crappies. The average Black Crappie is about 8 inches long and less than 2 pounds but the largest Black Crappie caught in Illinois, so far, was over 18 inches long and weighed more than 4 pounds! 

Here at the nature center we feed all our fish every other day. They eat krill, a type of marine shrimp, and silversides, a small freshwater fish. The sunfish are the first to gather around for feeding time but we wait a little while to make sure the Black Crappie joins the group and gets some food too. 

To learn more about Black Crappies click here.

To learn more about fishing for Black Crappies click here.