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New Jersey State Record White Crappie

December 20, 2005

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife has certified a new state record white crappie caught from Mill Pond in Clarksboro, Gloucester County on November 13. Dean Montemore of Gibbstown caught a 2 pound, 14 ounce white crappie that weighed 3 ounces more than the previous record taken from Carney’s Point (Salem County) in June.

Montemore was in a boat casting 6-pound test line when he hooked the fish on a chartreuse jig. The fish measured 17 1/8" in length with a 15-inch girth.

In the past, Montemore has come heartbreakingly close to breaking the New Jersey records for largemouth bass and white crappie. In 1978 he caught a 10 pound, 4 ounce largemouth bass weighing eight ounces less than the existing record, and in 1981 he reeled in a white crappie -- again, just ounces shy of the state record!

A member of the sunfish family, the white crappie is oval-shaped and silver in color, ranging from silvery-white on the belly to a silvery-green or even dark green on the back. Several irregular vertical bars appear on the sides interspersed with dark spots. They have a large number of anal spines, 5 or more, and few dorsal spines (6 to 7).

White crappies are distinguished from black crappies by the length of the dorsal fin base as white crappies have a shorter base. White crappies tend to be paler than black crappies but there are considerable color variations with both species making it an unreliable form of identification. Both species are found throughout the eastern United States and frequent streams, rivers, ponds and lakes.

Like other members of the sunfish family, white crappie are nest builders. They are similar to bluegills in that they tend to nest in relatively large "beds" and have very high reproductive potential. Fingerlings and adults tend to school and large numbers of individuals may be found in the middle of lakes.

Typically, white crappie grow three to five inches in length the first year, and reach seven to eight inches during the second year. Maturity is usually reached in two to three years. Adults feed on small fish and insects.

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