Redear Sunfish


The Redear ​Sunfish⁤ (Lepomis microlophus) is a ​member ⁤of the Centrarchidae⁤ family, widely known for its distinct markings and ​coveted as a popular game fish. This sunfish ​is nicknamed “shellcracker” due to its habit of feeding on snails.

Conservation‌ Status

The Redear​ Sunfish is currently listed as Least Concern on the conservation status.⁣ Despite frequent fishing for sport, it’s common throughout ‍its range, and‌ populations are⁣ healthy thanks to extensive conservation efforts, including habitat protection and propagation programs.


Length Average: 24 ⁣cm
Range:⁢ 20-30 ‌cm
Weight Average: 0.45 kg
Range: ⁣0.2-1 kg
Average Lifespan 5-6⁣ years
Other⁤ Stats Max‌ Age: 10 years
Max Weight: 4.5 kg


The Redear Sunfish is native to the southeastern United States ‌and has been introduced to many other ‌locations throughout the country.‌ It⁢ doesn’t migrate and ⁣remains year-round within its established habitats.


Redear ⁤Sunfish‌ prefer freshwater ⁢ponds, lakes, and reservoirs. ‌They ⁤tend to like warm, quiet waters,⁤ particularly those with⁤ sand or gravel bottoms and aquatic vegetation. The depth‍ range⁣ is generally shallow waters up ​to 12 ft deep, and the temperature ‍range is from 12-30°C.

When and Where to See

They‍ can be seen throughout the year, ⁤but they are ​most active during warm weather. As they are diurnal, they are most visible during the⁤ day.

Best Fishing Locations

Here is the top 10 list of​ places known for Redear Sunfish:

  1. Lake Havasu, Arizona
  2. San​ Joaquin River, California
  3. Cumberland River, Kentucky
  4. Black Warrior River, Alabama
  5. Mississippi River, Mississippi
  6. Apalachicola River, Florida
  7. Lake Okeechobee,⁢ Florida
  8. Green River, Kentucky
  9. Arkansas River, Arkansas
  10. Toledo Bend Reservoir, Texas/Louisiana

Look for‍ Redear Sunfish near structures‌ like fallen trees, rocks, and ‌aquatic‍ vegetation.

How to ⁢Catch

Redear Sunfish have a diverse diet but have a preference for snails and⁢ other small invertebrates. Anglers often⁢ use small lures, worms,‌ or crickets. For techniques, consider​ bottom fishing since they are often found ⁣near the bottom.​ The best time⁣ to fish for ‍Redear Sunfish is in the late spring, especially during their‌ spawning​ season.

Identification Guide

They have a blunt head, olive ‌color on the back transitioning into a blue body,‌ and possess ⁤a narrow black “ear”⁣ surrounded by ‍red on the gill cover. They do look similar to Bluegill Sunfish but can be distinguished by the spot⁣ behind its ears.


Redear ⁢Sunfish offer a mild,⁢ sweet⁢ flavor, and light⁤ texture. They are‌ great for ​pan-frying or grilling.‌ Remember to verify local regulations about the limit you can catch before preparing⁣ your feast.

Additional‍ Information

  • Feeding Habits: Redear Sunfish, often feed on the bottom, consuming ⁤snails and other small invertebrates.
  • Threats: Predators include larger fish ‌and birds; humans affect their population through fishing and habitat alteration.
  • Cultural Significance: The Redear Sunfish is popular among anglers, and record-breaking catches often make local news headlines.

References and Further Reading

For more information, see the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s guide ⁣ and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Page.