When it comes to AmericanÂ angling, crappie are unique fish. The world is home to only two speciesâ€”the black crappie and white crappieâ€”and both are native to North America.
Black crappie originatedÂ in the eastern half of the United States with the exception ofÂ the northeastern seaboard. Starting in the late 1800s, introduction efforts expanded the range of the species to nonnativeÂ eastern sections as well asÂ territories in theÂ West and Midwest.
The original range of the white crappie extended from eastern South Dakota to New York south to Alabama and Texas. This species has also been widely introduced to new waters, and like the black crappie, it now thrives in all lower 48 states.
Together, these two species comprise our most popular group of American panfish. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at least 6.1 million U.S. anglers aged 16 years and older fish for them. Only black bass, trout and catfish are more popular.
Crappie donâ€™t fight hard, and they donâ€™t get very big, either. A 3-pounder is a monster, and it may bite so lightly you wonâ€™t even know itâ€™s there. People love crappie, nevertheless, because they are widespread, abundant in numbers, relatively easy to catch year-round and among the most delicious fish on the planet.
Yet, the primary question for panfishÂ anglers remains: â€śWhere can I fish so I have the greatest chance of catching as many crappie as the law allows?â€ť
With so many possibilities, that can be a tough question to answer. But after extensive research, I believe the following 10 states encompass more topnotch crappie hotspots than any others. Plan a trip to one of these best states for crappieÂ this year and youâ€™ll have a better than average chance of loading a live well, cooler or stringer with limit after limit of these scrumptious panfish, including, if youâ€™re lucky, some true slabs weighing 2 to 3 pounds or more.
About the Author
With a resumĂ© listing more than 3,800 magazine, newspaper and website articles about fishing, hunting, wildlife and conservation, Keith â€śCatfishâ€ť Sutton of Alexander, Ark., has established a reputation as one of the countryâ€™s best-known outdoor writers. In 2012, he was enshrined in the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame as a Legendary Communicator. The 12 books heâ€™s written are available through hisÂ website.