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The Blacknose Crappie

April 10, 2013

By Chris Erwin
I’m sure many of you know all about the Blacknose crappie but for you that have no idea what the Blacknose crappie is or how this fish got into our waters, I hope to shine a light on that subject. I also want to tell you about Dale Hollow, I will be heading down that way in a couple of weeks. If nothing bad happens, I hope to visit Gunnels Fish Camp along with some fellow writers in April.

It will be my first trip to the Wolf River end of the lake in more years than I care to remember, I fell in love with Wolf River and Spring Creek when I was only 12 years old. My dad took us on vacation every year to Adams Camp later to be called Wolf River Dock. By the time I was 14, I managed to talk my parents into letting me go out on the lake alone; I know what some of you are thinking. I would never let my kid go out on a lake that big alone… but they did, and I am here to tell you I managed to live through it.

The Black Nose Crappie notice the line running from the nose to the tail of the fish

The Black Nose Crappie notice the line running from the nose to the tail of the fish

I learned about life and myself during those years. I can still remember looking down in the gin clear water of Dale while leaning out of the flat-bottom John boat equipped with the 18hp Evinrude hand tiller motor my dad bought from my uncle, so we could get around the lake with something more than a paddle.

My dad was there for the white bass and crappie, while the white bass no longer lurks in the waters of Dale, the blacknose crappie is a new welcome resident, one, by the way. I hope to put in my livewell while I visit this old stomping ground. As a boy I explored every rock and cranny from the head of Spring Creek where the falls rumbles through the willows’ spilling out to form Spring Creek, to the shores of Trooper Island, which was my exploration limit going in the direction of the dam.
While I’m there, I will try to catch some bass. However, if the crappies want to cooperate, I plan on putting a few in the boat. I’ve managed to catch a few of these blacknose critters over the years, and I found them to be a ton of fun, they fight hard and hit like a ton of bricks.

The Blacknose crappie is a black crappie which displays a dark line from its nose to the middle of its back and all the way to its tail; they are found in 14 states but were first reported in Arkansas.
The black stripe is the result of a recessive gene, which breeds true when using black stripe brooders, in 1995 the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife stocked 295,000 four inch Blacknose crappie in Dale Hollow, at that time, it was a good way to examine reproduction rates since they were easy to tell apart from native fish.

Since then, the Blacknose has been an annual stocking event and has become a very popular fish. I hope to boat a few of them and maybe put a few on the dinner table. Crappie is my favorite fish to eat they are mild with very little blood in the meat, the lateral line or blood line as some call it is very small, unlike the white bass which has a large blood line that I trim out when cleaning them.

I will tell you about the trip when I get back, until then, good fishing. Chris Erwin is the founder and publisher of Kentucky Angling News an on-line magazine available at www.kentuckyangling.com/magazine Chris can be reached by email chris@ashlandbeacon.com

11 Responses to The Blacknose Crappie

  1. Staff on February 25, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Yes… the black nose crappie is a black crappie research for this article was done by researching KDFWL archives and additional information was gathered from other F&WL services. along with my personal experience, I have caught a ton of these fish from Dale Hollow Lake.

    Chris Erwin

    • Kathy on February 19, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      We fished in a pond in Maiden, NC and caught Black, Black-nose and white crappies……Will they interbreed and if so what will the babies be? one third, one third and one third…….

  2. Dave in Austin on March 23, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Just to let ya’ll know, we catch these in Lake Travis, Texas. Outside of Austin.

  3. Dumaine on April 25, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    They are in Michigan as well.

  4. Andy Mackie on June 10, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Find them in the Auglaze
    River in northern oh and a friend had then stocked in southern oh

  5. Kenny Trabert on August 7, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I believe that the so called black nose crappie is a infact not a black crappie. I have been fishing a hot spot for over ten years and never once caught a black crappie, only white crappie. So at the beginning of 2016 my GF hooked a 14 1/2″ WHITE crappie with the black head stripe. I believe that the head stripe is evolutionary of the location of the species. The fish was caught in a river with a steep drop off and the said crappie over the said ten years maybe later but never caught one, developed the head stripe aka lateral line moved from the sides to the head to enhance its below target feeding pattern. I have caught 13-13 1/2″ crappie from this spot every year for the four years I’ve fished the spot then had a 6 year no fishing or I truly believe no direct fishing for said fish, then the said fish 50 plus 10″+ crappie I used to catch are developing the head stripe. The fish my gf caught I believe was born with the head stripe do to the pronounced stripe and did not have a “lateral stripe” at all. How ever you may feel about the crappie subclass of black nose as black crappie, I believe different. I will be doing a four year studying on this particular subclass while attending college. I hope to find out why these beautiful pronounced fish came to be. I know first hand that they are adapting to their environment and hope to both educate and grow the crappie population in Ohio and the US by understand and breeding these fish to more and more acceptable locations.

    • Staff on August 8, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Kenny, you can write the DFWL and talk to a fish biologist but I must say they have been studied for years their DNA and mutation have been around for a very long time.I don’t think they are questioning what they are but you are welcome to explore it Chris Erwin editor

  6. Kelly Sykes on August 9, 2016 at 9:54 am

    I love my black nose crappie.I call him stripe. We stocked our pond with river fish and bought some from pond stockers and somehow ended up with one. I’ve took pictures and no one seemed to know what it was and finally found one on you tube. Yesterday I noticed a baby one about 4″ long. I’m so excited. I would love to buy some if you know where to get them from. I’m in Louisiana. Also saw some golden crappie. Would love those too. Thank you, Kelly

  7. Matt Ress on May 2, 2017 at 12:49 am

    This picture was from a Crappie in North West Wisconsin Which my buddy and I caught in April 30 2012

    • Staff on May 2, 2017 at 1:44 am

      Matt, the picture was submitted to the magazine’s messageboard if you want it removed drop me a note trimmer308@windstream.net

  8. Randy V Devine on May 5, 2020 at 4:08 am

    I just today 05/05/2020 caught a black nose crappie it is the first one I have ever caught in my life time of fishing. I caught it out of a creek that feeds the lower end of the Lake Texhoma lake in Southern Oklahoma. It is a good health fish and the only Crappie I caught today.

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April 2013