World Record Crappie: 12 of the Biggest Slabs of All Time (2023)

Catching the world record crappie, whether it’s white or black, is one of the most sought-after panfish prizes in North America. A 1-pound crappie is considered a nice catch. A 1 1/2-pounder is a really something. And anything over 2 pounds is one to brag about. Most states include crappies in their record-fish lists, but documenting the heftiest of the nation’s big crappies can be a daunting task.

Fact-Checking State and World Record Crappie

Records on the state and even national level are not always rock-solid, especially older records. Certified weigh scales, verifiable witnesses to the catch, accurate measurements, and cameras were not as readily available as they are today. Considering that some of the biggest fish recorded were caught decades ago, many are not documented by photo, and some that may be listed as state records are a bit thin on verifiable catch documentation.

For example, the largest record black crappie touted by many sources is a 6-pounder taken in Louisiana in November 1969 by Lettie Robertson. At one time, the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) considered the catch a world record. But no photos of the fish are available, and other information about the catch is minimal. Though the IGFA has retired the fish from its record book, the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame still lists this massive 6-pounder as the world-record.

For this review of the nation’s biggest crappie ever, photo documentation is required. So, here are the slabbiest the slabs—with photographic evidence (some admittedly of poor quality).

(Video) The BIGGEST CRAPPIE EVER CAUGHT on VIDEO?!

1. All-Tackle World Record Crappie (Black Crappie)

World Record Crappie: 12 of the Biggest Slabs of All Time (1)

Ferguson fished a private small, deep, and weedy spring-fed pond in Loundon County near Knoxville when he hooked into this 5-Pound, 7-Ounce, 19.25-inch-long black crappie. It hit a Kalin’s 2-inch Triple Threat Grub on a 1/8-ounce jig head, and it took 5 minutes to land. The fish was weighed by a Tennessee wildlife officer on certified scales, and witnesses to the catch and the weighing were on hand. The fish also went through DNA testing by the state to make sure it was a black crappie, not a white crappie or hybrid. The fish is the current IGFA all-tackle record for black crappie, as well as the Tennessee state record.

Ferguson was sure to contact a Tennessee wildlife officer to weigh his catch because he’d caught a massive crappie (4-pounds, 4-ounces) previously from the same pond. Although that fish was photographed and weighed, Tennessee officials were not on hand to verify it.

2. All-Tackle World Record Crappie (White Crappie)

World Record Crappie: 12 of the Biggest Slabs of All Time (2)

This massive 21-inch long, 5-pound, 3-ounce white crappie has been the IGFA all-tackle world record for the species for over half a century. It was caught in the Yocona River below Enad Dam. Bright used an Action Rod and a Denison-Johnson reel. But there’s no information on the line, lure, or bait that he used. The fish was photographed and documented by witnesses for the catch and weight.

3. The Former World Record Black Crappie

World Record Crappie: 12 of the Biggest Slabs of All Time (3)

At one time, this huge 5-pound black crappie was the IGFA all-tackle record. It became a celebrity because after Hortsman caught it, he donated the fish to Bass Pro Shops in Columbia, Missouri, where it lived for years in their 11,000-gallon aquarium. The fish was affectionately named Pat and thrilled anglers of all ages who saw it. Hortsman caught the 19-inch-long fish from a private pond on a live minnow. He used an Eagle Claw rod and Zebco reel.

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4. Arkansas State Record Crappie

World Record Crappie: 12 of the Biggest Slabs of All Time (4)

This 5-pound black crappie is the Arkansas state record and it was caught by Donivan Echols, who was 10 years old at the time. It shattered a 35-year state record. The fish was taken from 200-acre Lake Wilhelmina in Polk County. Young Echols used a rod, reel, and tackle he’d purchased the previous day with money he’d earned working for his grandparents. A live minnow duped the fish, and it took 5 hours for state officials to weigh it. The fish reportedly lost 1 ounce in weight before it was certified. It was 18-inches long with a 13-inch girth.

5. The “Almost” Nebraska State Record Crappie

World Record Crappie: 12 of the Biggest Slabs of All Time (5)

This Nebraska crappie is remarkable in several ways. First, it was caught through the ice by Moore on a 15-degree day two weeks before Christmas on an icy pond near Omaha. Moore and his brother Scott quickly measured the fish on video at 19 inches and considered taking it—alive—an hour drive away to have it certified by a state fishery official. Most remarkable is that the Moore brothers wanted to release the 5-pound fish, believing it was more valuable back in the pond as broodstock than in a skillet. They knew driving it an hour for a weigh-in and back to the pond would likely kill the crappie. So they released the potential record-breaker.

6. California State Record Crappie

World Record Crappie: 12 of the Biggest Slabs of All Time (6)

This California slab is the most recently caught record crappie on our list. Dave Burruss, the owner of Clear Lake Outdoors in Lakeport, California, was fishing on Feb. 17, 2021. Conditions were partly cloudy and 58 degrees. According to theLake CountyRecord-Bee, Burruss said, “It had been a slow day bass fishing, but I saw a few bigger fish on the Garmin Livescope that I thought were maybe bass. But these fish were suspended 6 to 10 feet deep in 25 feet of water. They ended up being huge crappies. There were two other crappies with this fish the same size that I couldn’t get to bite. I used a4-inch Keitech Easy Shineron aCool Baits Down Underspin.”

7. Alabama State Record Crappie

World Record Crappie: 12 of the Biggest Slabs of All Time (7)

This 4-pound, 9-ounce white crappie is barely the state record for Alabama, edging out second place by a single ounce. It’s also one of the heaviest angler-caught white crappies photographed. It was taken on the sprawling 39,000-acre Lake Martin—a deep, clear, heavily fished reservoir on the Tallapoosa River in central Alabama.

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8. The Show-Me-State Slab

World Record Crappie: 12 of the Biggest Slabs of All Time (8)

Missouri angler Samuel Barbee landed this remarkably heavy 4-pound, 9-ounce white crappie on March 5, 2000.

9. Illinois State Record Hybrid Crappie

World Record Crappie: 12 of the Biggest Slabs of All Time (9)

Southern Illinois’ Kinkaid Reservoir in Jackson County has a rich history of giving up stout crappies, and it yielded this 4-pound, 8.8-ounce state record hybrid (white/black) crappie for Povolish, besting the previous state record that held the top spot for 40 years. Povolish’s fish took a ½-ounce green swim jig he’d tied on for bass while working water near a grass bed.

10. The Former World Record Crappie (and Current Nebraska Record)

World Record Crappie: 12 of the Biggest Slabs of All Time (10)

This one-time IGFA world record black crappie is still the top fish in Nebraska. Paap caught it on a farm pond near Nebraska City in Otoe County. The fish struck a popular Road Runner jig that Paap cast using a Shimano rod and Zebco reel. It took five minutes to land the 4-pound, 8-ounce slab, which measured 18.5 inches in length.

(Video) IS IT a WORLD RECORD CRAPPIE? (Jon Boat Dock Fishing)

11. The Alabama Monster

World Record Crappie: 12 of the Biggest Slabs of All Time (11)

This hefty white crappie was caught on Guntersville Reservoir, a big TVA impoundment in far northern Alabama near the Tennessee border. Guntersville is a popular fishing spot and is heavily fished. But Grant found a way to boat this impressive 4-pound, 8-ounce catch.

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12. The “Almost” Tennessee State Record Crappie

World Record Crappie: 12 of the Biggest Slabs of All Time (12)

Lionel “Jam” Ferguson (again) caught this 4-pound, 4-ounce giant black crappie two years prior to catching his 5-pound, 7-ounce world record in 2018. This fish wasn’t certified by state fisheries officials, so it was not accepted for record status. But Jam got a photo of the heavy slab. Then he took it home, cooked it, and ate it. But this photo of the fish tells the story best.

FAQs

What is the biggest crappie ever caught on record? ›

The black crappie would weigh an astonishing 5 lbs 7.68 oz, making it not only the new Tennessee state record (previously held since 1985) but the world record.

How old is a 12 inch crappie in Wisconsin? ›

though most mature in their third to fourth year. In Wisconsin, most crappies don't live much past their fifth year, grow larger than 12-14 inches, or weigh more than a pound.

How old is a 12 inch black crappie? ›

Now I tend to keep them between 10'' and 12". In PA, a 12 inch crappie is usually about 8 years old but a 14+" fish is nearly 20 years old. A 10-12 inch fish makes a good fillet but it takes far less time to replace that fish. I now release those bigger breeding fish and keep the smaller ones (under 13").

Is a 12 inch crappie big? ›

While the average size of crappie is somewhere between 8 and 12 inches and 1/4 and 1lb, they can reach a maximum length of about 20 inches and a maximum weight of a little over 5lb. Crappie with a length of 13-15 inches and a weight of 1.5 to 2lb are generally considered trophy fish.

How old is a 3 lb crappie? ›

Crappie Yearly Growth Chart
AgeLengthWeight
1 Year3-4 Inches.05 to .1 LB
2 Years7-8 Inches.2 LB.
3 Years9-10 Inches.5 LB.
4 Years10-11 Inches.8 LB.
1 more row

What state has the biggest crappie? ›

On Feb. 17, David Burruss a caught a record-breaking 4-pound, 5-ounce black crappie out of Clear Lake, California.

What state has the best crappie fishing? ›

The best states for crappie fishing include Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri — in no particular order! Indiana – Also a great hotspot and some of our favorite locations are Sylvan Lake, Webster Lake, and Worster Lake.

What is the biggest crappie ever caught in Minnesota? ›

Slide text left for complete information
Common nameLbs.Caught
Catfish, Channel382/16/1975
Catfish, Flathead701970
Crappie, Black51940
Crappie, White37/28/2002
8 more rows

What is a crappie lifespan? ›

This species is known to live at least 15 years. During the first four years of life, young black crappies grow quickly in the warm waters of the southern US while growth is slower in cooler northern U.S. waters. Black crappies reach maturity at 2-4 years of age.

What is the average lifespan of a crappie fish? ›

Lifecycle. The oldest reported age for black crappie is 15 years however, a normal age is usually around 7 years.

What size crappie is a keeper? ›

Re: What is a keeper size crappie? Minimum 9", but prefer 10" or bigger.

How much does a 12 inch crappie weigh? ›

Panfish
LengthBluegillBlack Crappie
WeightWeight
11"1 lb. 4 oz.13 oz.
11.5"1 lb. 7 oz.15 oz.
12"1 lb. 10 oz.1 lb. 1 oz.
24 more rows

What are crappie called in Louisiana? ›

Sack of Milk is the English interpretation of “sac-a-lait”, the Cajun French name for crappie. The fish are called “white perch” in north Louisiana, but in both places they are so esteemed for their mild, sweet flesh that the Louisiana legislature has declared them the official state freshwater fish.

How fast do crappie reproduce? ›

Typically, crappie are cyclic spawners and do not necessarily spawn each year. There could be no spawning or light spawning and then a heavy spawn every three to four years. Spawning success is difficult to predict. This is unlike largemouth bass, which usually spawn well each year.

What crappie gets bigger white or black? ›

One way to tell the difference between white and black crappies is by their size & body shape. Black Crappie tend to grow larger than white crappie overall. They are usually thicker and more dense than White Crappie.

How many eggs does a crappie lay per year? ›

Each spawning black crappie female produces between 11,000 to 188,000 eggs, while each white crappie female produces 2,900 to 91,700 eggs. Males guard the eggs, which hatch within 3 to 5 days. After the eggs hatch, males continue to guard the fry (newly hatched fish) for a few days until the young leave the nest.

How many crappie Should I take out of my pond each year? ›

Crappie are sight feeders and will not do well in muddy water. Stock 15 adult black crappie per acre in either an established pond with balanced numbers of bass and bluegill or in one that is bass-crowded.

Where is the best crappie fishing in the world? ›

Home to the unrivaled "Arc of Slabs," which includes the hallowed waters of Arkabutla, Enid, Grenada, and Sardis, the Magnolia State could easily argue for top honors on the list. Perhaps nowhere else on the planet do anglers have a better shot at catching big white crappies, including giants topping 3 pounds.

What Lake has the most crappie? ›

Top here is Grenada Lake, a shallow, 36,000-acre Corps of Engineers impoundment 82 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee on I-55. It produces more trophy crappie than any other fishery in the country. Big fish are so common the local tourism board has nicknamed the lake “Home of the 3-Pound Crappie.”

What is the number one crappie lake in the United States? ›

1 Grenada Lake, Mississippi. You cannot make a list about big crappie lakes without including the undisputed No. 1, Grenada Lake, Mississippi.

What is the crappie Capital of the World? ›

Chief among them is Alabama's Weiss Lake, which is known by many as the “Crappie Capital of the World.” Although Weiss has experienced a couple down years in productivity, it's still kicking out 2 and 3 pound fish to anglers longlining crankbaits or live bait along channel bends and points.

What is the best crappie bait? ›

Jigs and minnows are often the best baits when fishing for crappie. Because of the diverse diets of crappie, they can be caught in many different ways, making them an excellent species for almost any angler to experience using their favorite technique.

What color hook is best for crappie? ›

A Quick Summary. As you can see, we generally recommend gold, bronze, and red Aberdeen hooks in sizes #1, #2, and #4 for crappie. They offer the characteristics most anglers need, most of the time, when chasing spring slabs.

How rare is a golden crappie? ›

By Wired2Fish Editors · Feb 07, 2022

While goldfish are plentiful as pets, the golden pigment is ultra-rare in game fish. Very few golden crappie have ever been caught. Usually not even one a year, but this January already produced a golden crappie in Minnesota to kick off 2021.

What is the biggest crappie ever caught in Michigan? ›

It was set way back in 1947. State records are recognized by weight only. It appears Cunningham's black crappie is the largest in terms of weight caught in Michigan since August 1994. Back then, a Westland man caught one in Budd Lake (Clare County) weighing 3 pounds, 12 ounces and measuring 16.25 inches.

What is the largest crappie caught in Wisconsin? ›

4 lbs. 8 oz.

How much does a 17 inch crappie weigh? ›

3 lb. 4 oz.

What is the largest bluegill ever caught? ›

The current all-tackle bluegill record is held by T. Hudson, who caught a 4-pound 12-ounce fish on April 9, 1950 in Alabama's Ketona Lakes. No other details about the catch are recorded by the IGFA, but subsequent stories say the fish was 15 inches long and had an incredible 18.25-inch girth.

What is the Texas state record crappie? ›

3 lbs 92 oz

How big can a crappie get? ›

Larger individuals of the species are basically piscivorous and feed primarily on small fish. The common length for black crappie is 10.8 inches and the maximum reported length for a black crappie is 19.3 inches.

What state has the biggest crappie? ›

On Feb. 17, David Burruss a caught a record-breaking 4-pound, 5-ounce black crappie out of Clear Lake, California.

What state has the best crappie fishing? ›

The best states for crappie fishing include Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri — in no particular order! Indiana – Also a great hotspot and some of our favorite locations are Sylvan Lake, Webster Lake, and Worster Lake.

How many years does a crappie live? ›

This species is known to live at least 15 years. During the first four years of life, young black crappies grow quickly in the warm waters of the southern US while growth is slower in cooler northern U.S. waters. Black crappies reach maturity at 2-4 years of age.

What is the biggest perch ever caught? ›

That's because, in 2014, a 12-year-old girl from Eagle caught a 15.5-inch, 2-pound, 11.68-ounce whopper – giving her the world record for the largest perch ever caught on a tip-up.

What is the biggest minnow ever caught? ›

As he suspected, the fish was a golden shiner. It stretched the tape to 9.75 inches in length and weighed 4.8 ounces on a certified scale.

What is the biggest catfish ever caught? ›

The Mekong giant catfish is the official freshwater heavyweight champion of the world. According to the Guinness Book of Records, a nine-foot-long individual caught in northern Thailand in 2005 weighted an astounding 646 pounds, making it the largest exclusively freshwater fish ever recorded.

What are crappie called in Louisiana? ›

Sack of Milk is the English interpretation of “sac-a-lait”, the Cajun French name for crappie. The fish are called “white perch” in north Louisiana, but in both places they are so esteemed for their mild, sweet flesh that the Louisiana legislature has declared them the official state freshwater fish.

What is the biggest fish ever caught in Texas? ›

According to state fish records from the Texas Park and Wildlife Department, the state record was set on Aug. 8, 1963, by Ricky Preddy. His catch weighed in at 131 pounds and was also caught in the Gulf of Mexico.

What's the biggest fish caught in Texas? ›

Alligator gar are the second-largest freshwater fish in North America, second only to the white sturgeon. The Texas state record for rod and reel is 279 pounds, and the current world record is 327 pounds.

Will crappie take over a pond? ›

After stocking a pond, you may not have many crappie for several years. Then suddenly, for reasons that are not clear, the crappie population will explode and fill the pond with small, hungry crappie. When a swarm of young crappie enter a pond, they eat all of the food needed by both bass and bream.

Are white or black crappie bigger? ›

Size & Body Shape

Black Crappie tend to grow larger than white crappie overall. They are usually thicker and more dense than White Crappie.

What bait is best for crappie? ›

Jigs and minnows are often the best baits when fishing for crappie. Because of the diverse diets of crappie, they can be caught in many different ways, making them an excellent species for almost any angler to experience using their favorite technique.

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