Bluegill and crappie fishing often go hand in hand as both species share the same waters, plus they have myriads of other similarities. This is why a lot of people are confused about whether or not these two are the same. That being said, we’ll compare crappie vs bluegill to determine the difference between bluegill and crappie.
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Differences Between Crappie vs Bluegill
The easiest way for an angler to tell the two species apart is by their body shape and color. Bluegill has a yellow belly, and a blue chin and head.
Crappies, on the other hand, are silvery with black or brown markings. Bluegill also has a round body shape while crappie is elongated.
Another easy way in telling them apart is with their dorsal fins. The dorsal fin of white crappie has 5 to 6 spines while black crappie usually has 7 or 8 spines. Bluegill can range from 6 to 13 spines in their dorsal fin with 11 to 12 soft rays.
Bluegill has a smaller mouth than black and white crappies, and bluegill is often used for river catfishing rigs and catfishing strategies. A bluegill’s head is a lot smaller compared to a crappie.
- White Crappie: Only one dorsal fin that has 5 to 6 spines.
- Black Crappie: Only one dorsal fin that has 7 to 8 spines.
- Bluegill: One dorsal fin, 11-12 rays, and 6-13 spines.
- White Crappie: The jaw of white crappie doesn’t extend past its eye line. Its mouth isn’t in an upward shape.
- Black Crappie: The jaw doesn’t extend past its eye line. Its mouth is an upward shape or curve.
- Bluegill: The mouth of bluegill is small and its jaw doesn’t extend past its eye line.
- White Crappie: Scales are similar throughout the body.
- Black Crappie: Scales are the same across the body.
- Bluegill: Scales are similarly shaped and the same size throughout the head and body.
Size and Weight
- White crappie weighs anywhere between 0.5 to 1.5 lbs and are 9 to 10 inches long.
- Black crappie weighs anywhere between 0.75 to 2 lbs and are 8 to 10 inches long.
- Bluegill weighs less than 2 lbs and have an average length of 6 to 7 inches.
- White crappie have silvery hues with dark bars running throughout their bodies. Their backs are greenish to brown.
- Black crappie have silvery hues as well with dark splotches in their bodies. Their backs are greenish to brown.
- Bluegill has olive green upper bodies and light yellow to orange bellies. Their chins and the side of their heads are purple or iridescent blue. Bluegill have black or brown vertical bands on their sides. Breeding males often have more orange on their bellies.
Species, Family, Classification
Species: P. annularis
Common nicknames: crappie, silver perch, and goldring
Species: P. nigromaculatus
Common nickname: dark crappie, crappie
Species: L. macrochirus
Common nicknames: perch sunny, brim, bream
Crappie vs Bluegill: Habitat and Diet
- White crappie are Great Lakes natives, but they are also commonly found in Texas, South Dakota, New York, and Canada.
- They are often in rivers, reservoirs, and lakes.
- White crappie prefer to be in murky waters.
- Black crappie are Canadian natives, as well as the west and east of the United States.
- They can be found in rivers, reservoirs, and lakes.
- They prefer clear water, unlike white crappie.
- They are natives of North America, and they’re found in Northern Mexico all the way to Canada.
- Bluegill can be spotted in rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams.
- They like hiding under fallen logs, in weeds, or on piers.
- White Crappie: White crappie prefer a diet composed of plankton, crustaceans, insects, and small fish.
- Black Crappie: They usually have the same diet as white crappie.
- Bluegill: They consume worms, insects, small crustaceans, and insect larvae.
Texture and Taste
One of the important factors that anglers take into consideration when selecting a species to target is taste.
So, which tastes better between crappie and bluegill?
Crappie is widely known to have a mild taste in comparison to bluegill, which has a mild to sweet taste, depending on its diet. Crappie usually taste less fishy compared to bluegill.
A bluegill fish has a firm texture unlike crappie, which is smooth and soft. Crappie is also a lot more flakey and delicate than bluegill.
Both black and white crappie taste similar. They have a mild taste, don’t have a fishy or sweet flavor, and are soft, flakey, and smooth texture-wise.
We’ve polled our members and readers and out of a hundred people, 78 percent prefer the taste of bluegill while only 22 percent opted for crappie.
Mercury Levels of Crappie and Bluegill
The FDA and EPA have issued multiple warnings and suggestions with regards to the mercury levels in the two species, and how often they’re supposed to be consumed. The information is particularly crucial for pregnant women, young infants, and developing infants.
Crappie and bluegill have the same levels of mercury in their bodies. They are listed as the best choices of fish by the FDA with regard to mercury levels. It’s advised to eat no more than two servings of the fish each week.
If you’re breastfeeding, pregnant, or have kids, check first with your physician prior to consuming them or making a change to your dietary habits. The mercury warnings may change or vary, depending on the state or area. Check with the FDA and local EPA for the latest information.
Bluegill are tasty fish that you can find where crappie is found. The two species of fish, although they belong to the same family, differ from each other.
Still, they are enjoyable to target, most especially from the fact that they make great dishes! Have you eaten mountains of bluegill and fish like us? Let us know by commenting below!