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Green Sunfish Fact Sheet

Green Sunfish Information


Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)(green sunfish) are common in much of the US and are good to eat.

  • Green Sunfish Description - Larger mouth than most sunfish and thicker, longer body, more like a warmouth than other sunfish. Dorsal fins are connected and there is an extended gill cover edged with light red, pink or yellow. Body is brown to olive green with bronze to emerald green sheen, yellow-green on lower sides and yellow or white belly. Bright green or blue spots on the head and often wavey lines of those colors there , too. The mouth is larger than most sunfish, again more like a warmouth, and has small but visible teeth.

  • Green Sunfish Size - World record is 2 pounds 2 ounces caught by Paul Dilley in 1971 in the Stockton Lake in Missouri.

  • Green Sunfish Distribution - Native to the US west of the Appalachian mountains and east of the Rocky Mountains, has been introduced in most other areas, too. Not found in the Florida peninsular and most of the northeast US.

  • What Green Sunfish Eat - Worms, insects and small minnows are the Green Sunfish's main sources of food.

  • Green Sunfish Spawn - In shallow water in late spring and summer. The males guard the nests after the female lays the eggs.

  • Green Sunfish Attraction to Light - They will come to a light source to feed on insects and minnows there.

  • Green Sunfish Life Cycle - Spawned in late spring to eary summer, fry feed on microscopic animals and plants until big enough to eat worms, insects and small minnows. They grow to four to six inches long and start reproducing. They are often the first fish to repopulate a dried up stream and tolerate low water quality.

  • Green Sunfish Problems Green sunfish are very aggressive and tend to overpopulate a body of water. They usually are small with fish four to seven inches long most common.

  • Forum Discussion - See my response to a forum post and add your own about green sunfish.

Green Sunfish are not a preferred species for ponds or streams. They are good to eat with white, flaky meat but tend to over crowd a body of water and don't get very big.
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