CRAPPIE — POMOXIS — 



BLACK CRAPPIE 

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Crappies — Pomoxis —  are two species of North American freshwater fish of the genus  POMOXIS ( Eastern United States and Canada)  in the family Centrarchidae  (Sunfishes). Both species of crappies are popular game fish among recreational anglers.
White crappie predominantly 
Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and the Mississippi River basins expanding from New York and southern Ontario westward to South Dakota and southward to Texas— 

“Anglers fish for specks (black crappie) when they want to have a fish fry,” said FWC Commissioner Gary Lester. “ Black crappie remains a popular target for anglers and we commend staff’s dedication to ensuring crappie fisheries thrive in Florida.”

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Black Crappie predominantly eastern United States and Canada, Down to Florida and very popular.

The genus name Pomoxis literally means "sharp cover", referring to the fish's spiny gill covers (opercular bones). It is composed of the Greek poma (cover) and oxys ( "sharp").

The common name (also spelled croppie or crappé) derives from the Canadian French “ crapet” , which refers to many different fishes of the sunfish family.  


Fishing Records — According to International Game Fish Association -- 

  • Black Crappie: 5.7 lb. caught by Lionel "Jam" Ferguson at Richeison Pond in Tennessee, on 5-15-2018
  • Best Florida Crappie:  State Record: 3.83 lbs. Specks are a cool-weather favorite and excellent table fare. 
    Crappies are common throughout Florida.  
  • White Crappie: 5.2 lb. caught by Fred Brigh in Water Valley, Mississippi, on 7-31-1957


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Goes By Many Aliases —  Other names for crappie are paper-mouths, strawberry bass, speckled bass or specks (especially in Michigan), speckled perch, white perch, crappie bass,  calico bass (throughout the Middle Atlantic states and New England), and Oswego bass.  

When I was stationed courtesy of the Air Force in Maine we fished for White Perch almost everywhere abundant in the myriad of ponds and lakes, and right into the skillet, over a fire,  delicious.

The fish are light colored but vary with age, habitat, and spawning seasons. On light tackle they fight as hard as Bass. On super-light gear a challenge. Some people I know go after them with 2-4 lb. test mono.In Louisiana, it is called sacalait (Cajun French: 'milk bag'), seemingly an allusion to its milky white flesh or silvery skin. The supposed French meaning is, however, folk etymology, because the word is ultimately from Choctaw Sakli, meaning "trout”.


Angling Is a Blast on Light Tackle  These Fish Are Small Fish and Great Fighters  Fly, Cane , Spinner, Tenkara  

Angling for crappie is popular throughout much of North America.    Methods vary and may be illegal in some states.  For example  “spider fishing “, and  thats a fisherman with as many as ten rods, multiple rods or lines in the water spread around the boat for purposes of harvesting.  Not welcome in many states — don’t.    If it’s illegal they can take all your gear and fine you.

Anglers may choose from among many popular baits, some of the most popular are plastic jigs with lead jig heads, crank baits or live minnows.   Many anglers also chum or dump live, or  ground-bait into the water to attract the fish to bite their bait. Crappies are also regularly targeted and caught during the spawning period by fly fishermen, and can be taken from frozen ponds and lakes in winter by ice fishing.


Commercial Fishing —  Before state fisheries departments began to implement more restrictive, conservation-minded regulations, a great number of crappies, especially in the Mississippi River states, were harvested commercially in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
At one point, the annual crappie catch sold at fish markets in the United States was reported to be about 3 million pounds.  A commercial fishery for crappies existed at Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee until 2003. It was one of the few commercial fisheries for crappies in recent decades. Most states are not allowing commercial fishing.  And violations and fines can be high.    
Florida has exacting rules on this and make yourself knowledgeable
.  ⚖️   See the Law and Penalties 


Best Florida Crappie Lakes — 

Orange Lake / Lochloosa Lake (located between Gainesville and Ocala)
The water level on Orange Lake is back up after being down for years. As a result, crappie fishing has also rebounded. Crappie was biting in open water through last fall, and they’ll start again when the weather warms up this spring. Crappie in this lake like to hit jigs and minnows. Lily pads are favorite hangouts.FWC biologists poured some intensive lake management talent into 5,500-acre Lake Lochloosa, while Mother Nature raised the water level back to what it needs to be. As a result, crappie has responded there too. Fish around the lily pads in the southeast and northwest parts of the lake and in the narrow connection to Little Lake Lochloosa when you’re after crappie. Also, the patches of maiden cane are good spots to try when crappie get ready to spawn in early spring.

Lake Monroe (near Sanford)
The FWC’s habitat-restoration wizards have been tuning up this 9,400-acre sweetie-pie since the late 1980’s, and they’ve got her really purring. Since the Commission lifted the 12-inch minimum length limit in July 2005, anglers have flocked back to Monroe and put up impressive catch rates. Big crappie goes for small jigs, Bream Killers, Hal-Flies, or Beetlespins. Missouri minnows and grass shrimp also work.

Lake Jessup (south of Sanford)
You can wear yourself out catching crappie on this 10,000-acre honey-hole. They run a little smaller than crappie you’ll find in other lakes in this part of central Florida, but there are bunches of them just waiting to get caught on minnows by anglers who drift-fish in the middle of the lake and near Bird Island. Lots of crappies also hang out in the Soldier Creek area and the north end of the lake, where it connects to the St. Johns River.

Lake Talquin (west of Tallahassee)
Think about it. This 8,800-acre reservoir is just outside Tallahassee. It’s where the FWC’s top brass goes fishing, so you know they’re going to make sure this baby doll gets all the attention it can use. Is it any surprise the state record 3-pound, 13 -ounce black crappie was pulled out of Lake Talquin? This lake has lots of submerged stumps and snags, so you don’t want to go hot-rodding around it in a boat. But, if you want to catch some nice crappie, and you’re willing to abide by the 10-inch minimum size limit, you’ll love it here.

Tenoroc / Mosaic Fish Management Area (Polk County)
Fishing for crappie on Tenoroc, a 7,300-acre Fish Management Area near Lakeland, can be a rewarding experience, especially during cooler months. With lakes ranging in size from seven to 227 acres, anglers will have plenty of areas to dunk a bobber with a minnow or jig. Schooling fish can often be caught using this rig near deep drop-offs and underwater humps. Casting a small Beetlespin lure or jig tipped with a minnow can also produce some nice stringers of fish. Try Lakes 3,4,5, and F for some of the best action. Call the Tenoroc office at (863) 499-2422 for more information or to make reservations, because these lakes are only open to fishing four days a week.

Lakes within the 1000-acre Mosaic Fish Management area near Ft. Meade in southern Polk County, have some mighty fine crappie populations. A dozen lakes on the area range in size from 10 to 200 acres and many have shorelines with an abundant supply of woody brush, treetops, and vegetation that are perfect targets for placing a well-hooked minnow under afloat. Trolling deeper areas with this rig can also be productive, especially during the winter months. Casting a small Beetlespin or jig into deeper areas can also produce fish at times. Try Pine Lake East, Coulter Lake, and Haul Road Pit for some of the best action. The area is only open to fishing four days a week and it’s first-come-first-serve – but don’t worry, you’ll always have a spot somewhere. For more information, please call (863) 499-2421 ext.104.

Lake Istokpoga (near Sebring)
This lake may best be known for its largemouth bass fishing, but others know that winter is the prime time to catch crappie in this 28,000-acre fishing wonder. From November through April, anglers troll open water with Hal-Flies, doll flies, spinner jigs, and Napier jigs to locate schools of crappie and then rack up the numbers. When the water temperature stabilizes around 65 degrees, crappie moves into bulrush and spatterdock along the shoreline to spawn. There’s a trick to catching them when that happens. Move slowly through the vegetation in three to six feet of water and thoroughly cover the holes and pockets among the vegetation with a crappie jig.

Lake Kissimmee (east of the city of Lake Wales) 
It’s not just a famous largemouth bass fishing spot. A few years ago, you wouldn’t have seen 35,000-acre Lake Kissimmee on this list, but . . . BOOM . . . things changed about four years ago, and crappie fishing here has been excellent ever since. Anglers are catching big ones too. Some of them throw the 10-inchers back, and say things like “That one was tiny.” To catch your share of crappie in this lake, fish with minnows and jigs along the grass line and offshore. The deeper holes off the grass lines are good spots too.

Lake Marian (southeast Oceola county, east of Lake Kissimmee) 
This is the lake to fish when you want to catch lots of crappies, and you don’t care if they’re not the biggest fish you’ve ever seen. They’re big enough at 9 inches or more though, and they’re packed into this 5,739-acre lake; so, it’s not hard to find them with minnows, small jigs, and such. Troll, drift fish whatever works for you, and go home and have fresh fish for dinner. Then, just for fun, call your friends up north, who are in the middle of a blizzard, and rub it in about your fishing trip.

Lake Weir (South Marion County)
This is another lake on the rebound that is producing very good crappie catches. Located near Weirsdale, this 5685-acre lake is somewhat atypical, with lots of depths exceeding 20 feet and irregular bottom encounters. The FWC refurbished many old fish attractors and built several new ones this summer and anglers are already utilizing them successfully. For productive GPS coordinates of these attractors, contact our fishery biologists at 352-732-1225. Most anglers use minnows and grass shrimp near the attractors, but some will drift the open waters too.

West Lake Tohopekaliga (South of the city of Kissimmee)
In addition to its fame as a nationally acclaimed largemouth bass destination, Lake Toho has quickly gained a reputation in central Florida as a super spot for big and abundant crappie. Quite a few FWC “Big Catch” crappie (minimum 14 inches in length or 2 pounds in weight) have already been reported this year and fall catch rates approached 2 fish per hour. Anglers are having the most success on FWC fish attractors with Hal Flies (most any color) and minnows. For GPS coordinates of the fish attractors on Lake Toho, contact our fishery biologists at 407-846-5300.



WHAT ABOUT LARGO?


🏌🏿‍♂️City Of Largo Central Park Nature Preserve   🎣 I love this town,  it’s filled with forward thinking progressive people and the Parks and Recreation Department has made the parks in Largo Outstanding for both the two and four legged occupants with and without wings.  

But posted signs  stopped me in my tracks, when I drove down to the park,  we call it  LCPNP which is  a strong three wood shot from my condo, I saw it had a bunch of large red signs with a different opinion — It is one of many well-maintained parks here in Largo.  It struck me as “ NOT LARGO”— READ ON — 

Largo is a great place to live in, in the respect that we have easily accessible, well maintained parks and trails.   Not only footpaths in parks but Floridas Best Bike trail - goes right through Largo with side trails and plenty of places to stop at and enjoy food and drink.   This park has great smaller ( shorter) trails, paved and plenty of little creatures with and without wings, or tails, clean and well maintained.  Help keep it that way. 

Even on a bike at 93 degrees and 80% humidity you don’t want to wind up in the ER.   🚴🏼‍♂️ Carry water and drink it. Bikers:  The fun of Largo is when you get on the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail in Largo,  you can go North or South, you are somewhat in the middle.  And short sides, small trails to the food and drink areas. You’ll soon have over 75 miles to cover.  North,  you’ll get Clearwater and then Dunedin. South, a good days ride puts you in people Valhalla, the new downtown of St.Petersburg.

The Bike pathway is named after Fred Marquis, a former Pinellas County administrator whose efforts supported its early development.  Thats why my bike has a ( Microlight 5 Oz. ) Tenkara rod holder for fishing excursions, going North you hit many small lakes, ponds, streams and the ocean at new Port Richey, a Greek Fishing Village atmosphere and they can cook fish— Back to Largo Park.  The other direction will get you close to St.Petersburgs New Updated Bistro, Tall buildings, Great food and the Pier Downtown.

The nature preserve also has a kayak launch, and more than 40 interpretive displays. But the real attraction is the wildlife, the isolation and the quiet.  "There's a difference between parks and preserves," Edmond said. "Parks are for people. Preserves are for animals.”   

There is quite a large Gator that hangs around under the pier — Do not interact in any way shape or form like feeding him and this is his territory. Est.  700-800 pounds and a brain the size of a pea.


LARGO CENTRAL PARK NATURE PRESERVE

👺 ABSOLUTELY NO FISHING — POSTED ALL OVER THE PARK   🎣


The Largo Central Park Nature Preserve FMA  One minute you can be in your home or condo and the next minute be deeply immersed in the woods and marshes, both fresh and saltwater. I’m lucky I am in the middle of it all.  I can throw a rock from my condo on the golf course, and hit the park, a good walk if not too hot.  
And I believe  most of the ponds on my golf course do underground connect with the marsh.  When you live in Florida you understand our water table is like a sponge and teeterboard, unpredictable, adding sinkholes, and the sponge creates energy by the soil absorption. Sinkholes big enough an issue to lose a home in.  Fortunately mostly North-west of here.  

I could also hit the Mirrolure Fishing LURE Factory (Great Fishing Lures -- numero uno in manufacture, design, science, product and results) 

They sell their products on premise, and might offer you a tour of the plant, you will be blown away when you see how techno lures are made today.  

I wanted to do a little Crappie ( also called specs) fishing,  just to sample with a Tenkara rig some wet flies and hooks made from diaper pins,  no barbs,  super thin,  no harm to the species. 

 And was met as I got out of my car within the park and greeted with  signs allover the place stating  that Largo Central Park and Nature Preserve has  —  

ABSOLUTELY NO FISHING ! 

But that was not what the bulletin I received from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission  (FWC) stating the status had been changed.  

To verify,    I contacted the Parks and Recreation department and spoke with a lovely representative,  Christy and she forwarded the information I provided,  to her superiors and get back with me. 

The Park is exceptional, with patience and stealth and a good set of binoculars or telephoto lens on your camera, the park is home to hundreds of wildlife species for viewing. Over 130 species of birds, otters, red fox,  American alligator, marsh rabbits, wild turkey, and bats all feed or live within the park. 

A 5-mile kayak/canoe route begins at the park and ends at Park Boulevard — Not that easy to find.  One young scout is responsible for making signs for the park for his Eagle Badge. This kid will be the mayor one day.  The water trail has a sign now as to the start of the North end of the trail.



— JOURNALISTIC SEGWAY — 

But why “ NO FISHING AT LARGO NATURE PRESERVE PARK” ?  

THE FOLLOWING IS JOURNALISTIC RESEARCH  05/22/2022
PHONE FOLLOWUP AND ST PETERSBURG TIMES ARCHIVES


💢  FLORIDA WILDLIFE COMMISSION —  I attended the CRAPPIE  podcast meeting on line and spoke with representatives of FWC — They removed specialized regulations of Crappie on the following FMA’s:  FMA is a Florida Management Area —  These lakes and upgrades are cleared for Crappie Fishing and posted limits. 

•  Montgomery Lake  •   Watertown Lake  •  Lang Lake  •  Suwannee Lake  •  Hardee County Park  •  Bobby Hicks Pond •
•  Gadsden Park Pond  FMA  • Walsingham Park Lake FMA  •  Middle Lake FMA •
•  
But The FWC staff was not aware that " NO FISHING” at Largo Central Park Nature Preserve.  
 I don’t find rabbit holes they find me and I decided to find out why — It’s what I do —  🐇


💢  THE CITY OF LARGO ordered the  “ Absolute NO Fishing Rules”,   I was told by the FWC that they were within their location, and closures are for specific reasons are necessary.  Mentioned was public safety,  animal control,  specie eradication or contamination.  They thought I should ask the EPA —  So I made a phone call and checked with the EPA  —   I am a believer of precaution if warranted and this is not anything against Largo,  I just like truthful answers.

💢  THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY — Criteria for Florida Lakes  —  EPA is classifying Florida’s lake's into three groups (colored, clear & alkaline, clear & acidic) and assigning different values for total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP) and chlorophyll to each lake group.    There are pages of information, from the soil to water to rock to pebbles and so forth 

That's good information for a Geologist and Fisheries Biologist but not a fisherman —  Then, by accident I tripped fully into the rabbit hole — and the word ARSENIC popped up in a small article from my alma matter of great news.  The St.Petersburg Times —  If they ( the City)  felt protection for the various species, flora and fauna of the park is the priority and they can make those regulations.  If humans might be endangered, I support them fully 

I gladly agree to that as I am a believer in the conservatory of nature, protecting nature and respecting it.    OK I understand,  that was one story —  protecting the animals, but guts told me more, I felt there was more, I found more information in the archives.  More than specie protection—  it’s called people protection —  I tip toed into the rabbit hole —  

💢  OLD NEWS ABOUT THE PARK —  ARSENIC — AND NO OLD LACE 🐇

The moral of the movie “ Arsenic and Old Lace” is that, " It's also good to know your family history too.  The nicest people can have the darkest secrets”  and so can parks —  


FROM THE ST PETERSBURG TIMES ARCHIVES — 

THE ARSENIC IN THE PARK QUESTION—  IN 2008 — 2012 —   

  • THE REAL STORY UNCOVERED —  Arsenic and the other side of the story was the EPA call on  Arsenic and the real reason I suspect  for closure, that was a long time ago.     I am faulting no one, no headhunting,  I love the little park, I believe it’s relatively safe and the City has done a good job at making Largo one of the prettiest Florida cities, due to the efforts of the Parks and Recreation.  It  gives it citizens places to go, get away from the TV and bad news,  and literally make peace with yourself and nature.
  • More of the park is open  — These days, visitors can venture deeper into the preserve than ever.    Earlier this year, a significant part of it reopened after being closed to the public for years.   It's the first time since 2008 that people can visit the observation tower and nearby walking paths toward the back of the park.  Why was it closed?
  • We know the reason, only two possibilities — eventually correctable or neutralized and should be on a priority list for re-evaluation.  Unless I am told different I would like to know when the last testing for arsenic took place. Both the water table and the land surface.
  • We do know they were closed due to arsenic contamination.  Largo was forced to remove and replace several inches of soil around the tower, which had been identified as an “ Arsenic hot spot." The city removed a few more spots of contaminated soil in the next months, but federal and state regulators are satisfied enough that the entire preserve is safe for visitors.   If you stay on the paths, don’t eat anything from the area, no swimming, take no flowers or shrubs,  etc.
  • Parts of the nature preserve used to be a landfill, so it has long been the subject of environmental testing.   Arsenic was found throughout the preserve at varying levels. Officials think some of the contamination may be from naturally occurring background levels or past uses.  And the other problem was the use of Arsenic ladden lumber used for towers and boardwalks. 
  • When the boardwalks and tower were built it created mounds of Arsenic laden preserved wood sawdust eventually mixing with the earth —   The Department, Of Environmental Protection ( DEP)pretreated lumber, and sawdust had the city dig up contaminated soil around the observation tower, where tests found levels of arsenic more than 11 times higher than Florida's target level for cleanup of arsenic in industrial areas.  
  • Arsenic can be toxic, but the likelihood and degree of harm is related to exposure, experts say. The mere presence of arsenic does not mean there's a health risk.   "There are a handful of small areas where we removed some additional soil. But we don't have any reason to close the park," said Largo city engineer Leland Dicus at that time.   “ It's a passive park, so you're walking on the trails. The soil with higher arsenic levels is off the trails.”


THE ARTICLE — 2008 — 

  • The Times Tore Into Them — Not Satisfied With Their Attempts at Cleanup  — One place was not buying it — This is an article Published Jan. 30, 2008 and Updated Feb. 4, 2008 —  Best described as a wakeup call to the City Fathers of LARGO and, well, a do-nothing attitude that prevailed at that time —  for whatever reason —It’s a lot different today, with openness and transparency —  

  • ED:  I am proud of the work that the LARGO CITY Government has done to improve our city — New roads and dressed Islands, widening, better access, traffic, great parks with kids and pets in mind, trails, bike lanes, entertainment, its a nice place to live with great city agencies, Fire,  Police, Utilities and Trash Removal — Shredding days —  building renewals, education, public programs, and Sports facilities —  the list goes on.  Almost every segment of good living is upgraded in Largo.  If it wasn’t, I would be writing about it.

THIS WAS THE ARTICLE 

  • 2008  — It is difficult to decide whether to be appalled that state officials took almost four years to figure out there could still be an arsenic problem in a Largo nature preserve, or relieved that they unearthed the problem from wherever things go that fall between the cracks and that now they seem eager to make up for lost time. 
    How fortunate that the arsenic in the Largo Central Park Nature Preserve is not considered an immediate - as in emergency - health threat, because then you'd have tragedy compounding the bureaucratic lethargy. 

  • 2008  — State and Largo officials have known since 2002 that there is arsenic in the soil of the nature preserve, which is near the intersection of East Bay Drive and Highland Avenue, behind a golf driving range.   In May 2002, a consultant hired by the city sampled the top 6 inches of soil in six locations around the preserve land and found arsenic in all of them. The levels were high enough to require action to protect the public from exposure to arsenic, which can raise the risk of cancer. 
      — Levels of arsenic were particularly high in an area around the observation tower, leading city officials to theorize that the arsenic contamination in the park came from the use of pressure-treated lumber to construct the tower and walkways.   However, the property also is an old landfill, so the source of the arsenic is not truly known.

  • 2008  — Largo notified the state in April 2004 that in response to that finding, the city had taken several steps to keep the public safe from exposure, including fencing off some areas, putting a 24-inch-deep "dirt cap" and flowers atop other contaminated areas, and erecting signs telling visitors to stay on designated trails. 
    — The state had wanted more soil samples as well as water samples taken from the highly contaminated area around the tower, but in that April 2004 letter to the state Department of Environmental Protection, a Largo official said the city “ does not ... feel that the sampling is warranted.” 

  • 2008  — That's where everything stopped. There was no further action by the state or city. Meanwhile, people hiked and jogged and picnicked in the Central Park Nature Preserve.   Boy Scouts and other groups slogged through it picking up trash. Canoeists paddled in the ponds and canals. And sporting events and other public activities were held there regularly. 

  • 2008  — If anyone at the state or local level had any concern about the health of all those folks using the preserve, no one pursued it.   Then the state DEP sent a letter to Largo announcing that it had reviewed the file on the nature preserve (the letter noted the last correspondence on the issue was in April 2004), and found the city's corrective actions there, and even the original soil sampling, INADEQUATE. 

  • 2008  — The letter notes that in 2005 the DEP was given new authority to review and enforce action at contaminated sites around the state. Apparently, Largo's contaminated property eventually got reviewed and got snagged.   
    — The DEP letter contains some disturbing information, including that the “ plume" of arsenic contamination never was determined - in other words, how deep and wide it had spread - and the leaching potential of the arsenic is not known. This in an area dotted by ponds and surrounded by subdivisions,  a golf course with large ponds,  and mobile home parks. 

  • 2008  — Has the arsenic leached into the ponds or below ground into the water table? Has it spread from the city-owned property? It is impossible to know the answers when only six 6-inch soil samples were taken. 
    — The good news is that the DEP, armed with new authority under state law, apparently intends to use it to ensure that the public is protected in the future. Largo should share the state's eagerness to get to the bottom of the arsenic problem at the Central Park Nature Preserve.


FOLLOWUP STATE OKAYS LARGO'S ARSENIC CLEANUP PLAN, BUT WANTS OTHER PROPERTIES TESTED — BY  TIMES STAFF WRITER PUBLISHED MAR. 13, 2012 —  

2012  — LARGO — The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has weighed in on the city's plans to clean up arsenic contamination in Largo Central Park Nature Preserve, nine months after the city submitted its cleanup plans for approval.  The department's answer:    We approve.  But you're not done yet.  More needs to be done and it has been approved but something else is needed.

CHEMICAL DATA:  Arsenic is a dangerous chemical element with a long history of medicinal, combat, and agricultural uses. It exists within many minerals, though it can also appear as a pure elemental crystal. There are many types, with the most common being gray arsenic.
The element has potent neurological effects and can dramatically damage the liver, lungs, bladder, and skin. Inorganic compounds of arsenic are typically more toxic than organic, but biological systems can convert organic compounds into inorganic compounds, making them just as dangerous.

06/02/2022



*-07/16/2022