The dark color of the male crappie is most evident in May through June, which is their spawning season. For the rest of the year the color difference between the two sexes is less pronounced. The male crappie will come up from deeper water to begin nesting in water temperatures as cool as 60 degrees. Spawning activity is more prevalent at mid 60 degree temps. Crappies are more prolific reproducers than other members of the “pan fish” family. Large females can carry as many as 100,000 eggs. When a pond owner is considering adding crappies to their ecosystem a vibrant predator population should be in place to consume a significant percentage of the hatchling crappies. Crappie can open their mouths wider than other pan fish and therefore eat larger forage than a blue gill or pumpkinseed. Older adult crappies can grow to 15” or even larger with an adequate food supply.