Crappie vs Bluegill? An Easy Guide to Species Identification

Bluegill is a healthy species that can be found almost everywhere crappie is found. Both of these species can be as enjoyable to catch as they can be delicious to eat. Anglers who are new to the panfish fishing game might not know which one is.

Continue reading if you don’t know how to distinguish between bluegill and crappie.

We will break down species identification so you can see the differences at a glance.

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How to tell the difference between Crappie or Bluegill: Basic Identification

Crappie

They can be called papermouths or specks or silver perch or sac-a-lait.

Crappie records can be broken by growing to over 16 inches and weighing in at more than 5 pounds.

This is a rare occurrence.

They are often 8-9 inches in length and weigh about 1/4 pound.

Both are good keepers. But can you tell which one is which?

It’s not always easy to identify crappie species. Depending on the year and the genetics of your area, you might need to resort to tricks such as counting dorsal fins.

P. P. Some traits are shared by P. and nigromaculatus.

Although they are not of the same species, these crappies share many common features.

No matter what species of crappie you are looking at, you can expect an elongated, long-sloped head and a largemouth. The silver-green body will also have distinctive spots.

Take a look at our crappie fishing tips

Bluegill

Lepomis microchirus is a scientific name for the bluegill. They’re also called brim and copper noses. They can grow to 12 inches in length and weigh 4 1/2 pounds. They are often found between 8-9 inches and 1/4 pounds.

Size alone won’t be enough to distinguish bluegill from crappie.

It’s easy to spot dead giveaways with the dark blue gill plates and steep forehead.

Bluegills share many common traits that are easy to identify. A tall, narrow head and smallmouth are the hallmarks of bluegill. The most distinctive feature is the dark blue-to-black gill plate which stands out against its gold-orange to gold-orange scales.

Bluegills can also be dynamically colored with bright blue highlights along their sides and faces.

Our bluegill fishing tips are available.

Crappie vs. Bluegill: Checklist

Be aware that variations are possible and that not all fish will display the same identifying characteristics.

These checklists will help you to be aware of more than one identifying characteristic

This crappie has butter-yellow scales. It’s hard to tell if it’s bluegill.

Crappie

  • Sloping the head
  • Bigmouth
  • Silver-green to silver-green scales
  • Different spots
  • Longer body

The forehead of this bluegill is not very high. It’s easy to tell that it isn’t crappie.

Bluegill

  • Steep forehead
  • Smallmouth
  • Orange to gold scales
  • Gill plates in distinctive blue and black
  • Round body
  • Bright blue highlights are common in May, particularly along the jaw.

Crappie vs. Bluegill – Cooking and Flavor

I have eaten mountains of both!

Even though there may be a slight difference between the flavors, the texture is the best way to tell at the table.

Bluegill flesh is firmer than crappie and, especially when prepared in a moist, like a good sauce Piquante HTML, crappie can tend to break apart like a crab.

This is not necessarily a negative thing.

Bluegill is my preferred choice for frying.

Crappie is also milder than bluegill for most people, so sac-a-lait can often be better.

Both are worth a shot, and I recommend them both.

Lewis
Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.