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#310011 - 10/25/12 09:01 PM Crappie diet?
Zep Online   content
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Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 2917
Loc: Dallas & Wills Point, Tx
I am going to add a few hybrid crappie to my pond and was wondering what their main diet consists of? Are crappie's mouths too small to eat bluegill?
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#310021 - 10/25/12 10:08 PM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
Dave Willis Offline

Lunker

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
In the words of Bill Cody, it all depends. :-)

Crappie diets will vary depending on location, water body size, available prey base, etc. White crappies tend to be a little more piscivorous. Black crappies seem able to do better on zooplankton and aquatic insects, even at large crappie sizes. Don't get me wrong -- black crappies can also be very piscivorous. Hybrids will be intermediate?? Maybe??

In large water bodies with gizzard shad or threadfin shad, crappies will really prey on shad when the shad are the right size. In a pond with only largemouth bass and black crappies in Kansas, we did monthly food habits on the 12 inch black crappies from February to December. They ate zooplankton and aquatic insects. They were low density and fast growing because the abundant small LMB really thinned them. They had full stomachs and high Wr values.

Will crappies eat bluegill. My guess is that they will eat some small bluegills when those small bluegills are just the right size for the crappies in question. However, most of what your crappies eat will depend on what is in your pond. Predator fish tend to eat what is abundant and vulnerable.

Hopefully we can get a little more input from others.
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#310023 - 10/25/12 10:10 PM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
Zep Online   content
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Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 2917
Loc: Dallas & Wills Point, Tx
Thanks Dave....if they mainly eat insects....I wonder what they do in the winter? I guess like you say they will "eat what is abundant and vulnerable".
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#310025 - 10/25/12 10:24 PM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
Dave Willis Offline

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Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
Good point, Zep. In that KS study we did, there wasn't much winter. A little ice in January kept us off the water, but we sampled the other 11 months.

Here is one example that may relate. Yellow perch food habits are much like the crappies, and actually can be predominantly fish prey or zoo/insect prey, again depending on what is abundant and vulnerable. So, in our food habits studies in SD natural lakes where they ate mostly aquatic insects, that prey base was usually gone (hatched or burrowed for next year like the midges/bloodworms do) by September. They would then switch to the not so abundant fathead minnows. Interestingly they would be hard to catch may through August, but we'd usually have a good bite in September and October when they had less to eat and got hungry. :-). Sorry, but no crappie examples so had to jump to perch.
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#310031 - 10/25/12 11:22 PM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
Zep Online   content
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Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 2917
Loc: Dallas & Wills Point, Tx
Thanks Dave...I am also adding 30 lbs of fatheads at the same time, but from what I understand fatheads won't last long in a 4 acre established pond. My tilapia will probably start dying next month, maybe the crappies will eat some of the smaller dying tilapia? I wonder if the hybrid crappie might like threadfin shad? Threadfin are usually stocked in the spring aren't they?
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#310032 - 10/25/12 11:30 PM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
Zep Online   content
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Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 2917
Loc: Dallas & Wills Point, Tx
Dave I just found this:

"The main component of the black crappie diet is fish, especially small minnows, shad and small sunfish. However, they will also eat plankton, insects, insect larvae, and worms, especially in ponds and sloughs where large baitfish populations are uncommon. They also eat the fry of other fishes"

"Black crappie have large appetites and may feed at any time of day or night. They are primarily ambush feeders, often lurking in cover and picking off minnows as they swim by. Yet they will often school in large groups to follow baitfish, especially during summer and winter, although their preferred prey usually inhabit the same areas as black crappie"

Crappie Diet
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#310034 - 10/25/12 11:41 PM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
Dave Willis Offline

Lunker

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
I will bet that the crappies will indeed eat dying small tilapia. When we had the thread fin shad die offs in late fall in Kansas, the shad would twirl and spin. The crappies, walleyes and even channel cats would all stuff themselves to the point of distended bellies! :-)

Yes, threadfins were stocked in spring in locations where they died overwinter. The first spawn from those stocked threadfins would actually mature by late summer and spawn themselves. That late spawn is what produced the large amount of prey, and those small threadfins late in the year helped small predators like that year's year class of LMB and the adult crappies.
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#310044 - 10/26/12 06:54 AM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Dave Willis]
Zep Online   content
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Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 2917
Loc: Dallas & Wills Point, Tx
Originally Posted By: Dave Willis
When we had the thread fin shad die offs in late fall in Kansas, the shad would twirl and spin. The crappies, walleyes and even channel cats would all stuff themselves to the point of distended bellies! threadfins were stocked in spring in locations where they died overwinter.


So Dave threadfin shad like tilapia don't survive winter and have to be restocked every year? I wonder if the threadfin could make it through a typical north/east Texas winter?
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#310045 - 10/26/12 07:13 AM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
george1 Offline
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Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 3794
Loc: Plano Texas
Originally Posted By: Zep
Originally Posted By: Dave Willis
When we had the thread fin shad die offs in late fall in Kansas, the shad would twirl and spin. The crappies, walleyes and even channel cats would all stuff themselves to the point of distended bellies! threadfins were stocked in spring in locations where they died overwinter.


So Dave threadfin shad like tilapia don't survive winter and have to be restocked every year? I wonder if the threadfin could make it through a typical north/east Texas winter?

Zep, I don't knnow about TS survival in a 4 acre pond but winter kill is rare in our Texas reservoirs - I only remember a couple in some 20 years at Texoma.

Stocking crappie in a small pond would scare the bejabbers out of me grindon't know about a larger pond such as yours.
George
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#310050 - 10/26/12 08:00 AM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
kenc Offline


Registered: 11/07/11
Posts: 909
Loc: Aylett, VA
Dadgone Dave, that is some good info. maybe you should get some book larning. You might make a living doing this.
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#310054 - 10/26/12 08:35 AM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
Dave Willis Offline

Lunker

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
Zep, the IL and KS threadinfins definitely died each winter, for example. Those states would often keep threadfin brood stock in a power plant lake with warm water discharge. The use of annual threadfins stockings in Midwestern states is a lot more limited than in the past.

The problem in the far south is that they survive most winters, but have occasional die offs in especially cold winters to mess up the best plans of men and mice. I'm sure you know that part.

Yeah, this book larning is a two-edged sword these days. Ha!!
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#310066 - 10/26/12 09:40 AM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: george1]
Zep Online   content
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Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 2917
Loc: Dallas & Wills Point, Tx
Originally Posted By: george
Zep, I don't knnow about TS survival in a 4 acre pond but winter kill is rare in our Texas reservoirs - I only remember a couple in some 20 years at Texoma.

Ok George....
I may try some threadfin shad next spring
and see how they do the following winter.

Originally Posted By: george
Stocking crappie in a small pond would scare the bejabbers out of me grindon't know about a larger pond such as yours.

George your buddy Todd Overton told me yesterday that hybrid crappie would be ok for my 4 acre pond.

I know regular crappie can be scary, but I am not doing very many and these are the hybrid crappie. In fact I am going with less than half of what Todd told me I could go with. So with a low number and them being hybrid crappie I think I should be ok. (even if a few hybrids manage to reproduce).

I really like crappie, to me they are one of the prettiest fish. I am mainly after quantity of my favorite fishes instead of trophy fish. One way or the other I'll survive... wink


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#310069 - 10/26/12 10:08 AM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
Tums Offline


Registered: 09/06/12
Posts: 720
Loc: Alabama
Zep / Dave / anyone with suggestions. Crappie is the reason why I came to PB. I am very interested in which hybrid that is and what the stocking rates and harvest rates are. I am looking at putting Crappie in a 3 acre pond. The idea is it will be pretty heavily fished by children and handicapped as a public service. I am looking to have alot of fish produced and removed annually. I also want the fish to be large enough for eating by those fishing.
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#310078 - 10/26/12 10:50 AM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Tums]
Zep Online   content
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Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 2917
Loc: Dallas & Wills Point, Tx
Originally Posted By: Tums
Crappie is the reason why I came to PB. I am very interested in which hybrid that is and what the stocking rates and harvest rates are. I am looking at putting Crappie in a 3 acre pond. The idea is it will be pretty heavily fished by children and handicapped as a public service.


Tums...I have learned on PondBoss that crappie as a general rule are a "No-No" in private ponds because they interfere with bass and other species. However I love crappie and think they are so much prettier than bluegill...so I just wanted to give the hybrid crappie a try in small numbers. I am hoping the hybrid crappie can alleviate or greatly lessen some of the problems associated with crappie in ponds. We'll see....

Todd Overton is a highly respected fish guy here in Texas and he owns Overton's Fisheries. This is what Todd's website says about the "hybrid crappie"...

The Hybrid Crappie (Black/White Cross) are finally available as an option for stocking crappie in smaller lakes and ponds. Traditionally crappie have not been recommended for stocking in less than 10-15 surface acres due to their potential to overpopulate. The spawning potential of hybrid crappie is greatly reduced compared to that of their white and black crappie counterparts, so they are a better option for small waters. Suggested stocking rate is 100-150 per surface acre. Ideal forage for crappie are minnows and threadfin shad.

http://www.overtonfisheries.com/StockerFish/SportFish/HybridCrappie/tabid/337/Default.aspx
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#310085 - 10/26/12 11:02 AM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
Tums Offline


Registered: 09/06/12
Posts: 720
Loc: Alabama
Originally Posted By: Zep
Originally Posted By: Tums
Crappie is the reason why I came to PB. I am very interested in which hybrid that is and what the stocking rates and harvest rates are. I am looking at putting Crappie in a 3 acre pond. The idea is it will be pretty heavily fished by children and handicapped as a public service.


Tums...I have learned on PondBoss that crappie as a general rule are a "No-No" in private ponds because they interfere with bass and other species. However I love crappie and think they are so much prettier than bluegill...so I just wanted to give the hybrid crappie a try in small numbers. I am hoping the hybrid crappie can alleviate or greatly lessen some of the problems associated with crappie in ponds. We'll see....

Todd Overton is a highly respected fish guy here in Texas and he owns Overton's Fisheries. This is what Todd's website says about the "hybrid crappie"...

The Hybrid Crappie (Black/White Cross) are finally available as an option for stocking crappie in smaller lakes and ponds. Traditionally crappie have not been recommended for stocking in less than 10-15 surface acres due to their potential to overpopulate. The spawning potential of hybrid crappie is greatly reduced compared to that of their white and black crappie counterparts, so they are a better option for small waters. Suggested stocking rate is 100-150 per surface acre. Ideal forage for crappie are minnows and threadfin shad.

http://www.overtonfisheries.com/StockerFish/SportFish/HybridCrappie/tabid/337/Default.aspx

Thanks, I guess I will give Overton a call one day soon and pick his brain also. I am not concerned with the crappie "NO-NO" as much as I am geting a high number of productive size fish for people to have fun harvesting.
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#310089 - 10/26/12 11:18 AM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
mnfish Offline
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Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 939
Loc: minnesota
FWIW - In my experience, with my small bodies of water in MN, here are my observations over the last 8 years with BCP and their eating habits...they love to eat small BG.

My pond is full of BCP preferred foods such as dragon fly nymphs, May flyes, Pale Morning Dun, and every other bug hatched in MN waters. I seem to have a new bug hatch once a week throught out the summer (sure wish I knew an entomologist that lived close by).

With all the insects my BCP are still very agressive on the smaller BG. We have done some fishing "experiments" with different sized BG and the harvest size of the BCP. In my experience .5-1" BG were preferred greatly over any other minnow.

This season (6 year olds) my BCP will break the 12"-1lb mark. I know its not the greatest growth rate but I believe the large amount of small BG's have contributed to their growth.

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#310095 - 10/26/12 11:31 AM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 18910
Loc: Miss.
I Suggest that anyone thinking about hybrid crappie (not Magnolia Crappie which are triploid) read these links first. Note the study below and TJ’s comment after his experience. After you know the risks then do as you like - it is after all – your pond.

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=192634&page=1

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.ph...0&site_id=1

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=13896&page=1

Evaluation of F1 Hybrid Crappies as Sport Fish in Small Impoundments
MICHAEL L. HOOE and D. HOMER BUCK

Illinois Natural History Survey, Sam Parr Biological Station, Rural Route 1, Box 174, Kinmundy, Illinois 62854, USA

Abstract.—Growth and reproductive characteristics of reciprocal F1 and F2 hybrid crappies–white crappies Pomoxis annularis × black crappies P. nigromaculatus–were examined to determine if hybrids are better suited for stocking in small impoundments than their parent species. Relative weight gains of the reciprocal age-0 F1 and F2 hybrid crappies were not significantly different (P = 0.55), but the relationship may have been masked by differences in initial sizes of the test fish. Second-year relative growth rates of both reciprocal F1 hybrids were significantly greater than growth of either of the parent species and, with one exception, than growth of the reciprocal F2 hybrids. The reciprocal F1 hybrid crappies were capable of backcrossing with their parent species, and both reciprocal F1 hybrid male crappies had viabilities equal to those of their parent species. Egg viability for the F1 hybrid black crappie female × white crappie male appeared equal to that of the parent species and greater than that of its reciprocal hybrid. Recruitment in ponds was highest for the pure species, intermediate for the F1 hybrids, and lowest for the F2 hybrids. This study confirmed that F1 hybrid crappies may offer a viable alternative to stocking parent species in small impoundments, the F1 hybrid white crappie female × black crappie male being preferable to its reciprocal hybrid. We recommend that hybrid crappies be used only on an experimental basis pending a more thorough evaluation of the incidence and effects of backcrossing with parent species.

TJ – “I don't recommend anyone adding HBC to their fishery until more research has been performed. I think we're still years away from reliable information on their role in a fishery.

If you can get Magnolia crappie - triploids - that's a different story. I still haven't found these available to anyone but DNRs.”
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#310097 - 10/26/12 11:40 AM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
Tums Offline


Registered: 09/06/12
Posts: 720
Loc: Alabama
Thanks Ewest, I have already read those. I have been feeling like reproducing hybrid crappie the same way I do a GG. Anything other than what comes of the truck is a gamble and you better look into what is coming off the truck.


Edited by Tums (10/26/12 11:41 AM)
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#310098 - 10/26/12 11:43 AM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 18910
Loc: Miss.
Tums I knew you and Zep had seen the info. Just being sure any other readers did also.
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#310103 - 10/26/12 11:52 AM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: ewest]
Tums Offline


Registered: 09/06/12
Posts: 720
Loc: Alabama
Originally Posted By: ewest
Tums I knew you and Zep had seen the info. Just being sure any other readers did also.

Good Idea and good job.
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#310106 - 10/26/12 12:02 PM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: mnfish]
Zep Online   content
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Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 2917
Loc: Dallas & Wills Point, Tx
Originally Posted By: mnfish
This season (6 year olds) my BCP will break the 12"-1lb mark. I know its not the greatest growth rate but I believe the large amount of small BG's have contributed to their growth.

mnfish....nice.
Have you ever stocked the hybrid crappie?
BTW...what do you catch most of your crappies on in your pond?
At my old pond I was surprised how many I caught on smaller type crank baits.

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#310113 - 10/26/12 12:40 PM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
mnfish Offline
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Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 939
Loc: minnesota
Zep - I have never stocked or even see a hybrid crappie. They weren't available or I didn't know about them at the time of stocking.

The best baits for us in the early or late season (April, Oct)have been minni tube jigs (1/16 to 1/32 weight). The best baits in the warmer months have been live BG's under a bobber or like you, crank baits. Silver and black or perch colored Rapala's. Floating on top and jerk across like a top water muskie plug.

I am amazed at how big a crank bait a BCP will hit. Have you noticed that too? A 6" crappie with a bait as long as him hanging out! smile

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#310115 - 10/26/12 12:51 PM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: mnfish]
Zep Online   content
Hall of Fame 2014


Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 2917
Loc: Dallas & Wills Point, Tx
Originally Posted By: mnfish
I am amazed at how big a crank bait a BCP will hit. Have you noticed that too?
A 6" crappie with a bait as long as him hanging out! smile

Yes I have experienced that....it's crazy!
I had one take a full sized Bang-O-Lure like shown below.


BTW...do you have black bass in the pond with the crappies?
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#310116 - 10/26/12 12:52 PM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
Tums Offline


Registered: 09/06/12
Posts: 720
Loc: Alabama
MNfish what size is the impoundment those BCP in?
LIke hearing good things about the BCP because that has been the way I am feeling like I am going. Yours sound pretty agressive.
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#310121 - 10/26/12 01:12 PM Re: Crappie diet? [Re: Zep]
george1 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 3794
Loc: Plano Texas
Originally Posted By: Zep
Originally Posted By: george
Zep, I don't knnow about TS survival in a 4 acre pond but winter kill is rare in our Texas reservoirs - I only remember a couple in some 20 years at Texoma.

Ok George....
I may try some threadfin shad next spring
and see how they do the following winter.

Originally Posted By: george
Stocking crappie in a small pond would scare the bejabbers out of me grindon't know about a larger pond such as yours.

George your buddy Todd Overton told me yesterday that hybrid crappie would be ok for my 4 acre pond.

I know regular crappie can be scary, but I am not doing very many and these are the hybrid crappie. In fact I am going with less than half of what Todd told me I could go with. So with a low number and them being hybrid crappie I think I should be ok. (even if a few hybrids manage to reproduce).

I really like crappie, to me they are one of the prettiest fish. I am mainly after quantity of my favorite fishes instead of trophy fish. One way or the other I'll survive... wink

Zep, I am more concerned with overpopulation than species - I would go to the bank with Todd's research and advice.
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N.E. Texas 2 acre and 1/4 acre ponds
Original george #173 (22 June 2002)





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