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Facts About Shellcracker


Shellcracker - Red Ear Sunfish (Lepomis microlophus )(picture) are a favorite of fishermen. They grow big and fight hard, and taste great when fried. Also known as chinquapin, stump knocker and yellow bream.

  • Shellcracker Description - Light green to brown on the back with darker spots, fading to gray or silver sides. Belly from head to tail is light yellow to white. The head is mottled with brown to dark orange spots. The ear flap has a red or orange spot which gives it the name Red Ear Sunfish.

  • Shellcracker Size - World record is 5 pounds, 7 ounces. Most will run from 8 to 11 inches long as adults and weigh 3/4 to 1 pound.

  • Shellcracker Distribution - Native to the US Gulf states from Texas to Florida and north to Indiana and NOrth Carolina. Transplants have expended their range to the West Coast and north to the Great Lakes. Can be found in brackish waters, too.

  • What Shellcracker Eat - Freshwater mussels, snails, worms, shrimp, insects and grubs.

  • Shellcracker Spawn - From April to June, usually on the full moon. They usually spawn only once each spring.

  • Shellcracker Attraction to Light - They may come to lights on docks at night to feed on insects but not as much as other sunfish. They feed best during the day.

  • Shellcracker Life Cycle - Shellcracker spawn in shallow sandy areas in the spring. They can be caught on a varitey of tackle when spawning.

  • Shellcracker Problems - They coexist well with other sunfish since they eat different foods like mussels and snails.
Shellcracker are a good food fish to stock in ponds and they can be found in most waters from streams to rivers, lakes and swamps.

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