Crappie is a very popular fish that many targets each year because they are easy to catch and have very good table fare. They are also what many people like to stock in ponds and lakes on their property. Because of this, you may need to know how fas do crappie reproducer for many reasons. Will they take over a pond? If you find crappie on a small lake could it be possible you can overfish them if you take too many? These questions help to get answered if you understand how fast crappie can reproduce.
How fast does crappie reproduce? Crappie becomes sexually mature from ages 2-3 years of age. Once a male fertilizes the female eggs they take from 2-5 days to hatch. The spawn can last a few days to a few weeks with the average being 7 days.
When it comes to reproducing crappie are considered to be cyclic spawners and they do not have to spawn every year. Unlike say a Largemouth bass who spawn each year. This means you could have no spawn or a very light spawn season followed by the next year with a heavy spawn for a few years after that.
When will crappie be sexually mature?
Around 6 inches in length, crappie may become sexually mature and start to spawn. Typically you will see the spawn happen in March and April.
Black crappie reproduction
In terms of black crappie, they become mature from the age of 2 years and 4. The spawning season will depend on the location because crappie is in most of the United States.
The typically breading temperatures are from 58-68 °F These temperatures are in accordance with the spring and early summer months. Black female crappie can produce 40,000 eggs on an average spawn but it’s not unheard of for black crappie to produce eggs in excess of 150 thousand.
White crappie reproduction
White crappie typically spawns in the months of May and June when water temps hit 56°F. The female crappie typically will lay around 5,000 – 40,000 eggs.
After eggs hatch white crappie when conditions are good can see a growth rate of 3-5 inches in that first year and could see another 4 inches in the second year. White crappie become mature in their second to the third year where they will start to spawn again.
Understand crappie growth rate
Crappie when in the right conditions and when they are not overpopulated in smaller ponds or lakes can grow at a fast pace. When crappie are first stocked and if they are only around 3 inches they can grow up to 4 inches in that first year. This will depend on all fish the food supply that is in the system they occupy. If conditions are good and food is plentiful you could easily see crappie hit the 10-inch mark by year two.
However, you can have the opposite effect when conditions are not productive because of food sources and or overpopulated areas and only see 5 inches or so in a few year periods.
Does crappie lay eggs or live young?
Crappie does not give birth to live fish. They are not livebearers. Instead, they lay eggs. The female will lay eggs and the male crappie will then spawn the eggs with his sperm.
Like a lot of different types of sunfish, crappie moves in from deeper waters to spawn in shallow water spawning beds.
Crappie make nests in gravel, mud, and sand and they always try and make these nests within close range of vegetation close to shore. When the larvae hatch they are around 2.3mm in length and have little to no color and look translucent.
They will remain within the next and with the male crappie so he can guard them for at least a few days. After a few days, these tiny larvae move to vegetation to hide from other types of fish that will eat them like perch and small largemouth bass.
How old are crappie by inches?
The growth rate depends on a few factors like conditions with food, overpopulation, predatory fish, and so on but a guide on how old crappie is based on how many inches they are might break down as follows for estimates.
- 24 months: Around 7 inches
- 36 months: Around 10 inches
- 48 months: Around 12 inches
- 60 months: Around 14 inches
Lifespan of a crappie
Black crappies can live as long as 15 years in managed conditions but in the wild where conditions are competitive, the life span of these fish becomes much shorter somewhere in the range of 5 to 6 years.
Our final thoughts on crappie reproduction
Crappie both white and black when conditions are good can grow quickly. In terms of reproduction, they are not the most productive and may have a slow spawn one year followed by larger spawns the next. When crappie spawn they will leave deeper waters to find shallow places to make a bed and they become easier to catch for some angler.