Black Crappie (aka Calico Bass) - Pomoxis nigromaculatus

Black Crappie (BB)1.jpg

Life history and habitat requirements: This fish, also known as the "calico bass," is an introduced species originally native to the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley. It is the largest sunfish in Massachusetts and is widely distributed throughout the state except for Cape Cod. The black crappie feed primarily on smaller fish and larval insects and often schools around shade-providing structures such as fallen trees, sunken stumps, and submerged brush piles. Schools of black crappie and individuals can also be found suspended at various depths in deep water areas. Like other sunfish, black crappie breed over roundish nests cleared and guarded by the males. Nests are often located in shady areas under trees and brush. They can tolerate temperatures from 60-75 degrees F, but prefer cooler water. In general, these fish like quiet, warm, clear streams, slow-moving rivers, ponds, lakes and reservoirs. (Sources: Massachusetts Wildlife, No. 2, 2000, Special Fishing Issue and AMC Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New England.)

Total length: 10-12 inches (MA record weight = 4 lbs, 10 oz.)
Pollution tolerance class (USEPA): Intermediate tolerance
Classification: Macrohabitat generalist

Number of fish found during 1954 & 2001 Fish Surveys:*

Location No. of Fish 1954 No. of Fish 2001
Assabet River 9 32
Nashoba Brook 8  
Total 17 32

*Sources:
DFW. 2001. Assabet Watershed Fish Survey. Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), Westborough, MA.

Schlotterbeck, L.C. and W.A. Tompkins. 1954. "A Fisheries Investigation of the Merrimack and Ipswich River Drainages." Bureau of Wildlife Research and Management, Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Westborough, MA.