Crappie VS Perch: 7 Differences Explained

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If you are an avid angler, two of the fish that you are probably familiar with are crappies and perch. Yes, both fish are great to catch. They both taste good, they don’t take any special gear to haul in, and they aren’t too hard to catch either.

So, when it comes to crappie vs perch, what are the differences? Some people may thing that these are the same fish, but they aren’t, not in the least. Crappie and perch come from different fish family, they have different coloration and body shapes, and they taste different too.


Are Crappie And Perch The Same Thing?

crappie fish

If it is not clear already, no, crappie and perch are not the same thing at all.

We will discuss this in the section of differences below, but the important thing to note here is that not only are these two not the same fish, but they also come from different families and have a different genus as well.

Sure, they’re both fish, but that’s about it. This is like asking if tigers and leopards are both the same animal. Sure, they’re both large felines, but still essentially and totally different animals.

7 Differences Between Crappie and Perch

Now that we have established that crappie and perch are in fact two completely different animals, let’s take an in-depth look at the differences between the two.

perch fish

1. Family

One of the major differences between these two fish is that they are not part of the same family or the same genus.

First off, crappies are a part of the fish family known as Centrarchidae. They are closely related to both largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Crappie also have their own genus, known as Poxomis, which is broken up into two groups, with the white crappie being in the Pomoxis Annularis genus and black crappie being in the Pomoxis Nigromaculatus.

On the other hand, we have the perch, which is part of the Percidae family of fish, and are very closely related to walleye and sauger.

What is interesting to note is that perch are the only fish in their genus, known as Perca Flavescens.

2. Shape

These fish also have different shapes. First, crappie have fairly flat and tall bodies, making them look much rounder than long.

Crappie also have very large dorsal and anal fins, with the dorsal fin featuring anywhere from six to eight spines.

On the other hand, perch are much more torpedo-like in their appearance, as their bodies are more elongated and not nearly as tall.

They are much more streamlined and aerodynamic than crappie. Perch are also a bit longer than crappie, with the larger perch featuring noticeable humps on their backs.

Finally, perch have two dorsal fins, whereas crappie only have one.

3. Color

Crappie and perch also do not have the same appearance in terms of coloration.

Crappies are usually slightly green on their upper bodies, although this does depend on where they live.

If not green, then their bodies are usually white with hints of silver, complete with black stripes or sometimes black flecks.

There are two main types, the black crappie, which usually has flecks and spots, and the white crappie, which generally has stripes.

Then we have the perch, and in North America, the only commonly found perch is the so-called yellow perch.

These fish tend to be green at first, but as they age, their backs usually turn yellow or orangish in color, complete with white bellies.

They may also have up to eight dark green stripes running down their sides. The tails of perch are usually green, with the anal, pectoral, and pelvic fins being orange or yellow.

4. Spawning Habits

Next, crappie and perch also have different spawning habits.

Now, both of these fish do spawn in the spring, but that is where thew similarities end.  Perch are unique in the sense that they will spread their eggs onto weeds to allow the males to fertilize them, and then after fertilization, perch no longer look after the eggs.

On the other hand, crappie tend to spawn in shallower waters, usually no deeper than seven feet, and they prefer to lay their eggs in bowl-shaped nest on clear or sandy bottoms.

Male crappie will swim around the nest and guard it until the eggs have hatched.

5. Taste

In terms of taste, perch is usually considered best for people who like a fishy flavor, whereas crappie are best for people who like minimal fishiness, something we will discuss in more detail in the taste section further below.

6. Preferred Water Depth

Another notable difference between perch and crappie is the depth at which they like to swim and reside.

Crappie generally prefer shallower waters and they like sticking fairly close to the shoreline, although you can find some crappies in deeper waters, particularly during the winter.

That said, in terms of water depth, perch are the ones who like to swim in deeper waters. You can find many big schools of perch in deep water, given the right location and time of year.

7. Swimming Ability

The other major difference between these two fish is that crappie tend to be the better swimmers when compared to perch.

Although you would assume that perch are the more agile swimmers due to their torpedo-like bodies, it’s actually the crappie that is the more proficient swimmer of the two.

Perch & Crappie: Similarities

There are a few similarities between crappie and perch that are worth noting, so let’s take a quick look right now.

1. Attraction to Lures & Baits

One of the main similarities between these two fish is that both perch and crappie tend to go for the same types of baits and lures, with the main reason for this being that both fish tend to grow up in similar or even the exact same environments.

Jigs, spinners, and even crankbaits all work quite well to attract both perch and crappie. Moreover, both fish love live bait, with the favorites across the board being minnows, worms, and various insects.

2. Approximate Size & Weight

In terms of size and weight, although crappie and perch are not exactly the same, they are similar.

Perch will usually grow to around 7.5 inches in length and weigh around 2.2 pounds, with crappie usually being just a few ounces heavier, with an average length of around 10 inches.

Yes, crappie tend to be a bit bigger and heavier than perch, but not by much.

3. They’re both Delicious

What most people can agree on is that both crappie and perch taste great. They are both ideal fish for grilling, pan frying, and deep frying.

4. They Both Prefer Cover

The other similarity between perch and crappie is that both of these fish like to swim under cover.

Now, it does depend on the season, but both of these fish must be weary of predators, both larger fish and predatory birds, which is why they often prefer to swim under docks, around weeds, and under any sort of visible or sunken cover that is available to them.

Crappie VS Perch Taste: Which is Better?

When it comes down to it, which of these fish you like more than the other is of course a matter of personal preference.

Crappie features a fairly sweet and mild flavor, although it can be a bit bland, and it features soft meat that is fairly flaky.

People who don’t like the taste of fish all that much tend to like crappie due to its limited fishiness.

On the other hand, perch taste a bit fishier than crappie, and are a bit less sweet. Perch has flaky white meat that falls apart when properly cooked.



As you can see, although both crappie and perch can be found in the same parts of the world, even in the same waters, they are essentially two different fish.

Sure, they do share some similarities, but in the grand scheme of things, they are more different than they are alike.

Jason Downs

I created Fishtackly to share my 30 years of fishing experience and knowledge with others with the aim to help, and hopefully get more people involved and educated in this fantastic hobby that I love.