Redear Sunfish

Because this fish has specialized molar-like teeth for crushing snails, it is often given the common name Shellcracker.

Description: To 14″ (36 cm); 5 1/2 lb (2.5 kg). Moderately elongate, compressed. Back olive, with brown speckles; sides greenish yellow, with brassy reflections and dark speckles; belly yellowish orange; dark olive spots on sides of head, no wavy lines; black spot on ear flap, with broad bright reddish-orange border posteriorly. Young have 5–8 dusky bars on sides. Mouth reaches eye. Pectoral fin long, pointed, extending to near middle of anal fin base; 3 anal fin spines. Lateral line complete, with 35–44 scales.



The Bluegill is the most common sunfish and probably the most popular freshwater game fish in the United States. It is also commonly stocked in ponds as forage for larger fishes.

Description: To 12″ (30 cm); 4 3/4 lbs (2.2 kg). Deep, compressed, profile rounded under dorsal fin; body and median fins dark olive-green; sides lighter, olive with brassy reflections, often with dusky bars; belly whitish. Mouth terminal, not extending past front edge of eye; opercular flap broad, moderately long, dusky to black. Pectoral fin long, pointed; second dorsal fin with black blotch near middle of posterior rays; anal fin base about half length of dorsal fin base. Lateral line complete, 39-45 scales.

Green Sunfish

The Green Sunfish, one of the most common sunfishes, is tolerant of a wide range of environmental conditions.

Description: To 10″ (25 cm); 2 1/4 lbs (1 kg). Robust, moderately elongate, depth less than distance from snout tip to dorsal fin origin; yellowish olive, sides sometimes with dusky bars, belly pale olive, median fins olive to dusky, edges whitish to light orange. Head broad; preopercular flap not extended; mouth extends to middle of eye. Pectoral fin short, rounded; posterior base of second dorsal and anal fins often with black blotch. Lateral line complete, 40-52 scales.


The Pumpkinseed is not sought by most experienced anglers, but is often caught by beginners. It is aggressive and will take a variety of bait.

Description: To 10″ (25 cm); 1 lb (500 g). Deep, short, compressed; back dark greenish gold mottled with reddish orange, sides greenish yellow, mottled orange and blue-green, belly yellow-orange. Head small; mouth extends to eye; opercular flap “ear” stiff, with spot, black anteriorly, bordered by white above and below, red posteriorly; cheeks with wavy bluish lines. Pectoral fin long, pointed; soft dorsal fin spotted, edge yellowish to white; 3 anal fin spines. Lateral line complete, 36-47 scales.