How Do Crappie Reproduce?

One of the things that many people worry about is the rate at which fish reproduce. After all, we anglers like to catch and eat fish, too, but we certainly don’t want an area to be overfished. Overpopulation can also be a problem for those of us who own our own ponds. How fast do crappie reproduce?

Crappie reproduce quite slowly at first, taking up to three years to become sexually mature. At this point, females can lay between 5,000 and 10,000 eggs per year, and usually only once per year, during the spring mating season.

How do Crappie reproduce? How fast?

Crappie reproduction is very simple in theory. To be clear, Crappie are not living animals, which means they do not give birth to live fish.

Instead, they are known to belong to a species known as oviparous (egg-laying), or more simply, spawners. Yes, Crappie lay eggs, and then the males use their sperm for fertilization.

Spawning occurs in late spring and early summer, usually from early or mid-May to mid or late June. As the water warms, males move from deeper waters to shallower areas, usually no more than one meter deep, and begin to prepare their spawning sites.

This usually occurs when water temperatures reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit or about 10 degrees Celsius. Males look for areas with hard bottoms and plenty of cover.

They fan out a small depression in the bottom, in other words, a small bed. Once the water temperature reaches about 20 degrees Celsius, the female will go to the spawning site and begin to lay her eggs.

During the spawning season, a single female can lay between 5,000 and 10,000 eggs at a time.

Crappie have a rather complex mating ritual where a group of males compete for the right to fertilize the eggs of a particular female.

After fertilization, the eggs may take 2 to 5 days to hatch; 2 to 3 days is normal.

As for the duration of egg laying, a female Crappie can lay anywhere from a few days to two weeks, and a female Crappie usually lays eggs for about a week, which are fertilized by a male Crappie.

As mentioned earlier, Crappie do not reach sexual maturity until they are about 2 to 3 years old, and as you will learn below, they do not necessarily spawn every year, which means that while reproduction is not slow, it is definitely not as fast as other fish species, especially bass, which spawn fully every year.

A beautiful shot of a crappie fish in the aquarium tank

How many times a year do crappie spawn?

Generally speaking, crappie only spawn once a year. They spawn once a year during their regular spawning period, which occurs in mid to late spring and early to mid summer.

Crappie generally do not spawn more than once. It is important to note that Crappie do not necessarily reproduce or spawn every year, especially in terms of reproductive rates.

In most cases, there will be a very large spawn every three or even every four years.

However, in other years, they produce very few eggs, sometimes none at all. So you see, unlike bass, which spawn completely every year, crappie reproduce relatively slowly.

Can crappie spawn twice a year?

As for spawning, it only happens once a year, so technically, Crappie only spawn once a year.

However, if you want to tell right from wrong, female Crappie do not lay all of their eggs at once.

As mentioned earlier, spawning can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks for a crappie, and generally a female will split her spawning into three or four sessions.

However, this all happens over this one or two week period. So there is only one spawning period, which usually lasts about a week (for a single fish), but the eggs are usually laid in several instalments rather than all at once.

How long does it take for a Crappie to grow?

You need to know that Crappie don’t grow very fast and usually take 2 to 4 years to reach full size.

However, the rate of Crappie growth depends on the specific species. For example, black Crappie are usually the largest, usually reaching about 19 inches tall, and they can take 4 and sometimes even 5 years to reach full size.