When crappie start to head for shallow waters to spawn somewhere around early April, many anglers begin to head for the coves of area lakes. Trout and black bass may get much of the fishing publicity in Missouri, but angler surveys show crappie are among the most sought-after sportfish in the state.
Part of the reason for crappie’s appeal is their eagerness to take a lure. They’re also great table fare.
Missouri is home to two types of crappie: white crappie (Pomoxis annularis) and black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus). Both can be found in reservoirs throughout the state, but white crappie tend to be more abundant in most areas.
Crappie do not school, but instead congregate in loose aggregations around submerged trees, boat docks and other suitable cover. They feed primarily on small fish, aquatic insects and micro-crustaceans. The proportions of these food staples vary with locality, season and the age of the crappie. Adults depend heavily on small fish. Small gizzard shad and threadfin shad are the staple food item for adult crappie in many reservoirs.