Professional Guided Striper Fishing
Trips On Beautiful Lake Ouachita

Located In Hot Springs, Arkansas



White Crappie

Habitat: Freshwater. Areas with clear to turbid water and heavy structure.  In river areas with slow or no current such as sloughs, backwaters,  and oxbows. Prefers 65-75 degrees F, but very tolerant of extremes.  Schools will often seek deep water structure (up to 60 feet) during the day.

Spawning Habits:  They spawn in the spring, beginning when the water hits 62-68 degrees F .  Male digs a nest in coarse sand to marble sized gravel in 3-10 feet of water, then entices females in to mate with him. Females leave only a small quantity of their eggs in each male's nest (spreading their genes as far as possible).

Feeding Habits:  Likes to eat where it lives, usually associated with rocks, fallen trees, and overhung banks in deeper water, or with nearby deep water, but is highly attracted to lights at night.  Small crappie feed largely on rotifers, insects, freshwater shrimp, and nymphs, while larger crappie concentrate on  small minnows and larger insects.   Due to mouth shape they concentrate on items above or even with them in depth and will often follow behind a food item and slurp it into their mouths.  Feeds mostly at sunrise, sunset, and in the summer at night.

Notes:  Very popular fish, often confused with its close relative the Black Crappie, with which it can hybridize.  It is also the subject of numerous clubs and a tournament circuit, along with specialized tackle and lures.  Due to its insect and small minnow habit, it can be a fly rod target at night or at sunset with #8 wooly worms, small poppers, and streamers, especially if there is a nearby overhanging bush.  More likely these crappie will be schooled on fallen trees (especially old Christmas Trees) near rocks in deeper water.  In the big rivers, this fish will plentiful in the deeper, snag infested, sloughs, and behind wing dams.  It is far more tolerant of muddy water and current than the black crappie, and does grow slightly bigger.

How To Fish Crappie can be caught on artificial baits such as jigs, spoon, spinners, slabs or flatfish.
The preferred bait is shiner minnows, small in size, red chub minnows or ghost minnows. Check each lake for native minnows first before you choose your weapon of choice.

Good to Know:  Crappie will never go down to get a bait, they will only go up to eat a bait. When you catch a Crappie, remember what depth it was at so you can keep fishing at that depth to catch more crappie that may be in the school.


Black Crappie

Common Names - speckled perch, specks, papermouth, bachelor perch, calico bass, strawberry bass, or white perch.

Description - The black crappie is a silvery-green to yellowish fish with large dorsal and anal fins of almost identical shape and size. The sides are marked with black blotches which become more intense towards the back. The dorsal, anal, and caudal fins also are marked with rows of dark spots. Crappies have compressed bodies, small heads and arched backs. It has a large mouth with an upper jaw extending under the eye.

Subspecies - There are no recognized subspecies. They are closely related to the white crappie.

Habitat - Black crappies thrive in clear, natural lakes and reservoirs with moderate vegetation. They are also found in large slow-moving less turbid rivers, provided the water is not too murky. Crappies prefer water from 70 to 75 degrees but will tolerate water over 80 degrees. It is gregarious and often travels in schools.

Spawning Habits - Spawning occurs from February to April when water temperatures reach 62 to 65 degrees. They nest in colonies. Circular nest are fanned by males over gravel or soft-muddy bottoms and frequently around submerged vegetation in waters from three to eight feet deep. After spawning, males guard the eggs and fry. Females may produce between 11,000 and 188,000 eggs.

Feeding Habits - Primary food items are crustaceans, aquatic insects and small fishes. Adults mainly eat small fish, particularly open-water forage fish, like threadfin shad.

Age and Growth - Sexual maturity is reached in the second or third year, with a few fish surviving beyond their fifth year. The oldest crappie aged to date, has been 11 years old.

Sporting Quality - Black crappies are excellent game fish and are highly regarded by bait fishermen and artificial-lure anglers alike. They are easily caught during pre-spawning periods when the fish are congregated in large schools. Trolling with small, live minnows or a spinner-fly combination is very productive. They will also strike subsurface flies, small spinners, jigs, and tiny crankbaits. Crappies tend to suspend in mid-water, so you may have to experiment to find the right depth.

Eating Quality - Considered to be excellent eating by many anglers. The meat is prepared by rolling in cornmeal or dipping in pancake batter and deep frying, and can also be baked or broiled.

World Record - 4 pounds, 8 ounces, caught in Kerr Lake, Virginia, in 1981.



Common Names - bream, blue bream, sun perch, blue sunfish, copperhead, copperbelly, roach.

Description - Bluegills have small mouths and oval-shaped, almost rounded, bodies. Body coloration is highly variable with size, sex, spawning, water color, bottom type, and amount of cover. In general, they are somewhat lavender and bronze with about six dark bars on their sides. Males tend to have a copper-colored bar over the top of the head behind the eyes. The breast is silver to slightly blue most of the year, with some yellow or orange during spawning season. Females are generally lighter colored than males. Two distinctive characteristics are the prominent black spot on the rear edge of the gill-cover and a black spot at the base of the posterior portion of the dorsal fin.

Habitat - Bluegills prefer the quiet, weedy waters where they can hide and feed. They inhabit lakes and ponds, slow-flowing rivers and streams with sand, mud, or gravel bottoms, near aquatic vegetation.

Spawning Habits - Bluegills are well known for "bedding" in large groups, with their circular beds touching one another. Bedding occurs in water two to six feet deep over sand, shell or gravel, and often among plant roots when the bottom is soft. Spawning occurs from April through October with the peak in May and June, when water temperature rises to about 78-80 degrees. A female may lay 2,000 to 63,000 eggs, which hatch 30 to 35 hours after fertilization.

Feeding Habits - Insects, insect larvae and crustaceans are the dominant foods of bluegills, with vegetation, fish eggs, small fish, mollusks, and snails being of secondary importance, although they may dominate their diet during certain times of the year.

Age and Growth - A one-year-old fish may be four inches long. Spawning may occur the first year. Bluegills can live up to 11 years, but most are less than 7 years old. The rate of growth varies considerably in different bodies of water.

Sporting Qualities - Because of its willingness to take a variety of natural baits (e.g., crickets, grass shrimp, worms) and artificial lures (e.g., small spinners or popping bugs) during the entire year, its gameness when hooked, and its excellent food qualities, the bluegill is one of the more important sport fish in the eastern United States.

Eating Quality - Excellent; the flesh is white, flaky, firm and sweet. They are generally rolled in cornmeal or dipped in pancake batter before frying. Many rank the bluegill as the most delicious of all freshwater fish.

World Record - 4 pounds, 12 ounces, caught in Ketona Lake, Alabama, in 1950.





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