Teeny Tiny Crappie
Where did they come from?
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Posted on Thursday Mar 13, 2014 at 9:48 PM  
I was cast netting shad in the navigation channel today and twice my net came up with 10 or so tiny crappie about 2 inches long.  They looked too small to be from last years spring spawn and too large to have come from an early spawn this year.  Yes, I did throw them all back and yes, I am certain they were crappie.  Could they have come from a late fall spawn?  They appeared to be healthy and I didn't think that crappie in the navigation would be stunted.  If they came from last springs spawn I would believe they would be bigger than 2 inches.  It's no big deal but it kind of has me wondering?
Posted on Friday Mar 14, 2014 at 9:35 AM  
bigjon, my best guess is that those tiny crappie probably came from some other small lake or pond with a stunted population.  I would bet that they escaped from a pond somehow (overflow might be unlikely given our paltry rain/runoff situation, but perhaps some of our fall rain was heavy enough locally to fill a pond or two up to the overflow pipes) and made their way into the channel via a small creek.  I agree that crappie native to the navigation channel system would likely be quite a bit larger than that.  Crappie do have the ability to produce eggs, fry, and juveniles well into June if water temps and conditions are right, but even then those fish should have grown beyond that length in any situation other than a small water body, limited food scenario...which is why I think they came from a pond.  Most healthy crappie from last year's spawn would be in the 4-6 inch range a full 10-11 months later (this time of year).