The black crappie, pictured above, is more common and widely distributed in Minnesota than its close relative the white crappie. Though the two species are very similar in appearance, the black crappie, as its name would imply, is generally darker in color than the white crappie. The surest way to tell the two species apart, however, is to count the spines in the dorsal fin. The black crappie has seven or eight spines while the white crappie has only five or six (MN DNR, 2014).  The Minnesota state record for black crappie is 5 pounds, 0 ounces, and the state record for white crappie is 3 pounds, 4 ounces (MN DNR, 2014) . Most crappies caught and kept by Minnesota anglers range in weight from one-half to three-fourths of a pound.

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Photos courtesy of  Jay T. Hatch, Natural History of Minnesota Fishes. Reprinted with permission.

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