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01-25-2010 11:31 AM #1
Stocking crappie in a pond/small lake
I was asking a professional's opinion about putting some crappie in a small lake. Though I'd share the info:
Crappie – Pomoxis nigromaculatus (black) and Pomoxis
The Crappie is known for its biting, fast action and ability to produce
great fishing experiences. Many anglers and families have fond
memories of catching crappie in larger impoundments and reservoir
when they were kids. The crappie is one of the better eating fresh
water species because of its flaky white texture and sweet tasting meat.
While crappie seem to find their “nitch” in larger impoundments of 30 –
50 acres and up, they have significant drawbacks and disadvantages in
impoundments less than 20 acres. Because of the difficulty and
expense of producing and managing lakes and ponds that are devoted
to or include crappie, and because of the posed risks to the aquatic ecological balance in lakes and ponds, we
at Legacy Farms and Ranches of Texas highly advise our customers not to consider crappie as a viable sport
fish for their stocking considerations. If our clients are very insistent upon establishing crappie, we can help
them locate a reliable source for crappie.
The male Crappie begins to whip out a pan type nest in one to four feet of water when waters warm above
58 - 60 degrees F in the spring. He then coaxes a mature female into the nest where she deposits the eggs.
A medium sized crappie can lay as many as 10,000 eggs. The male fans the nest of eggs with his tail to keep
silt off them until they hatch in three to five days. He continues to guard the school of "fry" for up to two weeks
until they are about .5 - 1 inch long. Then they are on their own. The young crappie, just like young bass feed
on microscopic plankton and small insects until they grow to four inches or so at which time they begin feeding
heavily on small fishes.
When stocking a new lake or pond, the land owner can stock in crappie that are 3-4” in size or larger. Smaller
sizes than this are virtually impossible to handle. Under normal conditions crappie can only be stocked during
the spring and early fall, as handling them during the warmer months almost always results in high mortalities.
The larger the crappie is when stocked, the higher the levels of survival will be.
The DOWN SIDE ….. Commonly asked questions.
Q: Are crappie a desirable species for stocking in small ponds?
A: No. There are several main compelling reasons for this.
1. Competition for food – Crappie are very competitive feeders. They are Key Predators in a
predator/prey aquatic environment, just like a largemouth bass. Being a live feeding fish, they are in
direct competition with largemouth bass and other sport fish and because of their rapid reproduction
rates, can quickly deplete the food chain in ponds, leaving nothing to eat for more desirable species
such as largemouth bass.
2. Overpopulation – Crappie are extremely prolific predators, and can overpopulate a pond very rapidly.
This problem compounds when combined with their feeding habits.
3. Lack of Natural Predators – Other predators rarely eat crappie, and prefer other species for forage.
4. Stunting – In at least 90% of the crappie aquatic environments, crappie overpopulate, then clean out all
the forage, then stop growing immediately and the fishery never progresses any further. The crappie
stays “stuck” at that size and begin to ‘degrade” in quality as time progresses thereafter.
5. Hauling – When it comes to transporting crappie, they are a very delicate fish. Except for handling in
the early spring or fall when water temperatures are below 70 degrees, it is very difficult to transport
them without experiencing moderate to heavy loss, and this is intensified by hot weather.
P.O. Box 528 • Danbury, Texas 77534
Office: 979-922-8415 • Fax: 979-922-8878
www.legacyranchesoftexas.com • firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Why do many pond owners want to develop crappie ponds?
A: Crappie are a lot of fun to catch, they bite very good, and will strike lures (jigs, spinner baits, etc.), they put
up a good fight, and they are “good eating”. Many people are exposed to crappie when fishing in large lakes
and reservoirs, and simply have a desire to replicate these memories in their own lake or pond.
Q: Are there different types of crappie?
A: Yes, there is a white and a black crappie. The white crappie has found to be much more productive than the
black crappie. Both black and white crappie obtain reasonable sizes of 2.5+ pounds. The white crappie usually
has a greenish tint to the top side of their body fading to a whitish stomach area. The black crappie has a
silverfish green tint, with noticeable black specs over most of the top 2/3 of the body, and then fading to a
whitish stomach area. They are usually very easy to distinguish, one from another. In the event the pond owner
elects to utilize crappie, we highly advise them to use only the black crappie and never consider stocking white
Q: What are my chances of producing a good crappie pond?
A: Slim to None!!!!! At least 95% of the crappie ponds and crappie applications fail and fail miserably. In order
to do well, crappie must have a correctly balanced eco system wherein they have their “nitch” in the food chain,
and conditions must be right. This eco “nitch” is usually found in large reservoir systems, and can rarely be
duplicated in small ponds. The few instances where crappie ponds were established and maintained in small
ponds were situations where tremendous amounts of structure and habitat were in place, and a high level and
consistent food chain existed and was maintained, so as to protect and provide for an abundant food supply for
the crappie. The bottom line of this is that it is “expensive” to establish and maintain crappie ponds, and very
few are successful at it.
Q: I don’t want to harm my food chain in my pond or overpopulate it with crappie, but yet I still want a
fish that fights like a crappie and is good eating. What are my alternatives?
A: There are two great alternatives to crappie and are as follows: 1.) Coppernose Bluegill sunfish is an
excellent alternative choice to the crappie. These fish reach large sizes like crappie, reaching sizes of 1.5 lb. +
They fight just as hard, and are almost identical in taste. These fish will not overpopulate and damage the food
chain like a crappie will. They are a very hardy fish and are easily and successfully transported. This is a very
popular fish for customers who want to create a fun fishing experience for children while maintaining the quality
of the bass fishing in the lake. 2.) Hybrid Striped Bass – This fish is a great fish to be utilized in small ponds,
especially where the “fight” is important. Many pond owners place these in ponds, and implement a catch and
release application, so these can be caught over and over again. A combination of Coppernose Bluegill and
Hybrid Stripers is also a great combination of fish for small ponds. The Hybrid Striper will help control the
Coppernose Bluegill reproduction numbers each year as they are a live feeding predator. Both the Coppernose
Bluegill and Hybrid Striper can be maintained with either commercial feed pellets or with the internal production
of forage fish.
Q: What if I decided to develop a crappie pond as beat the odds and was successful?
A: We would put you in the Legacy Pond Master’s “Hall of Fame” and probably hire you!!
Q: Where can I get information on Coppernose Bluegill or Hybrid Striped Bass?
A: Our sister company, Danbury Fish Farms raises and stocks Coppernose Bluegill and hybrid striped bass on
a regular basis.
Legacy Farms and Ranches of Texas, LLC provides a full line of service in pond design, fish stocking
and wildlife and fisheries management. We have over 40 years experience in the lake and pond stocking and
For more information, visit us at www.le
01-25-2010 09:07 PM #2
Re: Stocking crappie in a pond/small lake
I have heard the same things about crappie not doing well in ponds less than 20 acres before. Would definitely go with bluegill. Never thought of putting hybrids in there, but sounds like a great idea!
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