Illustration by Duane Raver
Scientific Name: Pomoxis annularis
Classification: Game Fish
Abundance: Common in many reservoirs found in the Piedmont of NC.
Sport Fish Profile (pdf)
Species Profile (pdf)
White Crappie (Photo by: NANFA)
White crappie state record (3 lbs, 15 oz., from a private lake in Wake County, by Joey Boretti; 4/1/2013
Two species found throughout North America are the Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) and the White Crappie (Pomoxis annularis). They are members of the sunfish family, which also includes largemouth bass and bluegill. Crappies are two of the largest of the panfish species. The white crappie has a compressed, deep-silvery body, with shades of green or brown on its back. It has five to 10 dark vertical bars on each side and a whitish belly. It is “hump-backed” with five or six spines in the dorsal fin. The dorsal fin, anal fin and tail contain a combination of dark spots and bands.
Although widely stocked across the state, White Crappie are not native to North Carolina and were most likely introduced in the late 1800s. White Crappie seem to thrive in warmer and more turbid waters than black crappie. They are closely associated with structure, often found near fallen trees, stumps, docks and thick stands of aquatic vegetation. Small white crappie feed mainly on insects, freshwater shrimp and nymphs, while larger crappie prefer small fish and larger insects. They are especially active at sunrise, sunset and at night during the summer months.
Inland Fishing Regulations
Regulatory authority between the Wildlife Resources Commission and Division of Marine Fisheries. Inland game fish regulations include Manner of Taking, Seasons and Using Trotlines and Set-hooks.
Warmwater Game Fish
Game fish size and creel limits. Also, Bass and Morone (striped bass) Identification Charts.
White crappie bite best on live minnows, small jigs and spinners. The best time to fish for white crappie is during the spring spawning season when fish move into shallow shoreline areas. Anglers should concentrate on areas with brush, stumps and docks. To concentrate crappie, anglers will often make “crappie attractors” by sinking Christmas trees and other woody debris. During summer and early fall, reservoir crappie move into deeper water along creek channels, roadbeds and submerged points. The fall can be another hot fishing time for crappie as they move inshore again for a short time.
• Lake Brandt
• High Rock Lake
• Tuckertown Reservoir
2014 – Lake Mattamuskeet Angler Survey (PDF)
2014 – Lake Mattamuskeet Sport Fish Survey (PDF)
2021 - Angler Use Patterns on Randleman Lake (PDF)
2020 - An Overview of the Shearon Harris Reservoir Habitat Enhancement Project-UPDATE (PDF)
2011 – Sportfish Populations in Northwest River and Tulls Creek (PDF)
2009 – Assessment of the Crappie Population in Lake James, North Carolina (PDF)
2008 – Assessment of the Crappie Population in Lake Rhodhiss (PDF)
Where to Fish
NC Freshwater Fishing State Record Program
NC Angler Recognition Program (NCARP)