Crappie are native to the southeast and are commonly found in ponds, rivers and reservoirs. They are members of the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) and are represented by two species: the black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) and the white crappie (Pomoxis annularis). In addition, there is the blacknose crappie. The blacknose is not a distinct species, but merely a black crappie with a distinct black band running from the front of the head back to the base of the dorsal fin.
While many folks believe crappie to be one of the tastiest fish that swim in freshwater, we don't recommend them in ponds for a number of reasons. First, crappie are predators that consume invertebrates when they are young and then switch to a diet of small fish once they get larger. Therefore in ponds, small crappie compete with bluegill for food, and larger crappie compete with bass for food.
Another big problem with crappie is they display very erratic reproduction; producing very large year-classes in some years and very weak year-classes in others. What this means to the pond owner is that crappie are very difficult to manage, and sustaining a quality crappie fishery from year to year is nearly impossible. When a large year-classes is produced, competition among the overabundant small crappie is high and the result is a bunch of stunted crappie that are too small to catch, but too large for the bass to eat. When weak year-classes are produced, the crappie may grow better but their numbers are to low to produce good fishing.
Crappie tend to do better in large ponds over 30 acres in size, but even then they are a crap shoot. Our advice on crappie: keep them out of your pond.