The black crappie is rare even though it has been stocked in reservoirs and especially in smaller lakes and ponds, but still is much less abundant than the white crappie. Black crappie have a dark green, uniform speckled coloration with no vertical barring. There are seven or eight spines in the dorsal fin. Black crappie seem to prefer deep, clear lakes or ponds and are not as prone to overpopulating as White Crappie so they are ideal for stocking in smaller lakes and ponds.
The white crappie was present in most streams and rivers but due to stocking efforts, it is one of the most abundant and highly sought after sportfish. White crappie have subtle vertical barring along the side, and while males in dark spawning colors may be mistaken for black crappie, the barring is skill evident. The white crappie has six spines in the dorsal fin, while the black crappie has seven or eight. White crappie are generally found in large schools and thrive in reservoirs where gizzard shad are present. In April and May crappie move into the shallow coves and creeks to spawn and are particularly vulnerable to anglers. Their white meat is sweet and delicious.