Freshwater Fisheries Conservation Lab

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Black Crappie Biology

Black Crappie Biology
Ever wonder about the ages of the Black Crappies that you’re catching? This is part of a project on the population ecology of Black Crappie that we’ve been conducting. The image associated with this post shows a sectioned otolith (earbone) of a 10 year old Crappie (length 13.4 inches, weight 1.4 lbs) that we recently processed. To date, we’ve seen Crappies between 3 and 11 years old amongst the fish that anglers keep in lakes north of Kingston. The average age at this point is roughly 5.5 years, but about 25% of the fish are 6 years or older and 15% are 8 years or older. At this latitude, Black Crappie populations include some individuals with impressive ages! This is more evidence that “selective harvest” is important and releasing some of the biggest individuals makes good sense.