How to identify black and white crappie

Black crappie and white crappie both roam the Tchefuncte River. Although most are the black variety, Jeff Bruhl has found a way to be certain what kind of crappie he is catching — and it’s not the way you might think.

“You count their spines (on the top of the fish),” Bruhl said. “If they have six (spines) or less, it’s a white crappie. If they have more than six, it’s a black crappie.”

Although sac-a-lait are easiest to catch in the spring, they are a year-round fish.

But Bruhl said blacks and whites each have their seasons.

“When you fish the river deep with minnows in the winter, you catch more white crappie,” he said. “The ones this time of year are mostly black crappie, so they aren’t super big, but a good average size is about a pound a piece.”

In the big scheme of things, however, the angler is most interested in how they taste.

“It doesn’t matter what color they are,” Bruhl said.

About Joel Masson 177 Articles
Joel Masson is an avid angler who has fished South Louisiana his whole life. He lives in Mandeville and can be reached at