The white crappie is a laterally compressed, deep-bodied fish with relatively large dorsal and anal fins. The completely joined dorsal fin contains five to six spines and 14 or 15 rays. The anal fin is slightly larger than the dorsal fin and has five to seven spines and 16 to 18 rays. The distance from the rear margin of the eye to the dorsal fin origin is usually longer than the length of the dorsal fin base. The back and upper sides are light gray to green, the lower sides are silvery, and the venter is white. Eight to 10 vertical, dark gray reticulated bars occur along the sides, with gray mottling on the venter and between the lateral bars. Dark margins occur on numerous scales in the nape and breast region, particularly during the spawning season. The dorsal, caudal, and anal fins contain several alternating light and dark bands. Adult size: 12 to 20 inches.