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Green Sunfish

Green SunfishScientific Name

Lepomis cyanellus

Other Common Names

Blue sunfish


Basically bluish green in color, with faint, alternating blue, brown and brassy gold stripes. Olive colored on its head with pale blue spots and wavy lines on its upper lip. Has a dark opercle (gill flap) spot and some orange and yellow-olive on its lower fins. Is a stocky, thick fish with a large head and large mouth.

Best Fishing

Small lakes, pond or quiet coves on large reservoirs where they have been introduced.

Fishing Techniques

Found in almost any small lake, pond or quiet cove on large reservoirs. A ready striker of any small crankbait, spinnerbait, wet or dry flies as well as live nymphs, minnows and worms. Fish occur near the shore, often under the smallest of overhanging banks, or small dugout areas.

Feeding Habits

Aquatic and terrestrial insects and insect larvae, small crayfish and small fish.


Native to the New and Tennessee River drainages. Not numerous, but most are found in the lower Roanoke, lower Potomac and middle and lower Dan River drainages. Likes the backwater pools of slow-moving rivers, small lakes, ponds and the quiet bays and coves or large reservoirs. Not tolerant of saline waters but can tolerate turbid waters.

Spawning Habits

Spawn in late-May through August, after bluegills and in the same areas, usually with or just after the common sunfish. Fans out a saucer-shaped nest often right up against the shore in very shallow water over hard bottom.