Skip to Main Content


Scientific Name

Centrarchus macropterus

Other Common Names

Round sunfish, millpond flier


A deep-bodied, almost round fish, with many spines on both dorsal and anal fins. Color is a yellow-green, or brassy-olive, to brownish gold, with a dark brown to black spot on each scale, appearing of rows of spots. A dark vertical streak extends downward from the eye to the lower edge of its cheek. It has large, rounded fins, much like a crappie, with a head and mouth similar in shape to a bluegill’s. Slow growing, they reach up to 10 inches in length.

Best Fishing

Lakes: Drummond, Airfield, Kilby, Cohoon, Meade, Lee Hall, Motts Run. Rivers: Dismal Swamp Canal, Nottoway, Blackwater.

Fishing Techniques

Most are probably caught incidentally by fishermen fishing for crappies in early spring. They will hit dry and wet flies, as well as small minnows and worms using typical small panfish rigs. Fish around stumps, sunken brush, cypress trunks and knees and near or under bridges.

Feeding Habits

Aquatic and terrestrial insects and insect larvae, small crustaceans, worms, small fishes and algae.


Inhabits Virginia’s coastal plain mainly in southeastern Virginia, but as far north as the Rappahannock River drainage. It favors dark, tannin-stained, acidic waters of coastal swamps, creeks, ponds and canals. Likes quiet backwaters of large rivers, impoundments and swamps with dark, acidic waters.

Spawning Habits

Spawns early in spring, sometimes as early as late-February into May. Males build nests and defend territories when water temperatures reach 55°F. Males will guard newly hatched young.