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Crappie Fishing

Found from extreme southwestern Quebec in the St. Lawrence, Richelieu and Ottawa river basins, southern Ontario including all the Great Lakes, and southern Manitoba. Also introduced to the lower Fraser River in British Columbia. In the U.S. south to Florida and Texas and west to Montana but widely introduced. Behaviour & Habitat: This schooling crappie is found in still waters of lakes and ponds or slow flowing, large rivers where there is abundant plant material or other cover. It prefers cooler and deeper water than the white crappie and is less tolerant of turbid conditions, growing more slowly there than in clear waters. It may enter brackish waters in the St. Lawrence River. Food includes plankton, aquatic insects and fish fry when young. In the Ottawa River copepods and water fleas are the main diet of young-of-the-year, switching to amphipods in the fall. Even adults may rely principally on water fleas for food, taken by filter feeding in mid-water using the numerous gill rakers, but fish become increasingly important as black crappies grow. Feeding continues through winter, an unusual habit in a sunfish. The black crappie is a predator on the young of sport fishes and may affect population numbers significantly. Peak feeding is between early evening and the early morning hours around dawn. Life span is 13 years with maturity at one to three years. Growth varies with habitat and latitude to some degree. Spawning occurs from May to June in Ontario. This species enters into commercial catches.


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