Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Pumpkinseed Sunfish

Posted by  //  September 3, 2019  //  Articles, Creature Feature

This time of year, it seems you can’t go into a coffee shop or candle store without seeing pumpkin latte this or pumpkin spice that.  So in keeping with this popular seasonal trend, let’s learn a few things about the pumpkinseed sunfish. For starters, it’s our state’s most colorful fish, sporting brilliant shades of yellow, orange, turquoise, green and red.  The average one is between 4-8” long. This feisty fish shares the same family with largemouth and smallmouth bass, and when its larger, more coveted gamefish cousins aren’t biting, the pumpkinseed can salvage an otherwise dud of an outing for anglers.  Most fishermen fondly recall that “sunnies” were the first fish they ever caught as kids, likely on a simple worm and bobber set up. They may also remember, less fondly, being pricked in the hand by the sharp dorsal spines along the fishes’ backs. Pumpkinseeds are found in a broad range of habitats:  lakes, ponds, rivers and even small streams. They school up in the shallows and aggressively prey on insects, crustaceans and small fish. Spawning occurs in late spring through early summer when the male creates the nest — a circular depression — by fanning his fins on the lake bottom. After the female deposits her eggs and departs, it is he who guards the eggs and newly-hatched young, some times for 3 weeks or more.

Article & Photo by Margie Manthey

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