White Crappie - Pomoxis annularis
The white crappie and its close relative, the black crappie, are very similar in appearance and habit. These flat-bodied sunfishes are native to east-central North America but were introduced to Montana in the early 1900s. The white crappie is found in the eastern one-third of the state in streams, reservoirs, and ranch ponds. They are opportunistic feeders, utilizing plankton when young but switching primarily to fish as they mature. The white crappie is supposed to tolerate muddier waters than the black crappie and for that reason has been planted in some eastern Montana waters.
Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 1427
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
May move into tributary streams to spawn. Study on Tongue River showed spawning movement into Otter Creek.
Ponds, lakes and reservoirs and slow portions of streams. Seeks weedy areas, logs, and other protective cover. Seems more tolerant of turbid water than Black Crappie.
Mainly microcrustaceans during the 1st year, then largely fish.
May cross with black crappie but no hybrids have been reported in Montana. Tributary streams may serve as rearing areas but may produce stunted populations.
Sexually mature normally after 2 years. Spawns late spring - early summer at water temperatures of 57-73 degrees F., and is most active at 60-68 degrees F.
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