Maryland Fish Facts


Black Crappie

Black Crappie
Pomoxis nigromaculatus
Key Distinguishing Markings:
  • ​Broad, compressed body mottled with dark spots
  • Large eyes, rounded back (dorsal) and belly (anal) fins
  • Young have dark, narrow bars on the side
  • Fins are dusky and mottled​
View the Black Crappie Gallery

  • ​Widely distributed in the United States
  • Common in many freshwater streams and ponds of Maryland

  • ​The maximum adult size reported is 1.6 feet, but usually the species is not that large
  • Typically adults range between 4 and 6 inches
  • The maximum weight reported for Maryland is 4.4 pounds
  • Maximum reported age is 10 years

  • ​Found in swamps, ponds, lakes, reservoirs and slack water
  • Usually caught in aquatic vegetation, fallen trees, or clear backwaters of rivers
  • Sometimes trees are sunk in reservoirs to help attract crappies

  • ​Males build nests from March to July (59° - 68° F) in sandy bottoms of weedy areas

Fishing Tips:
  • ​Crappies are pursued by many freshwater anglers because they taste good

Fun Fact:
  • ​Crappies and other types of sunfishes are often called "panfish" because their body shape resembles a skillet pan used to cook the fillet

Family: Centrarchidae (sunfishes and temperate basses)
Order: Perciformes (perch-like fishes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)

​Illustration Courtesy of Duane Raver, USFWS​​