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Redbreast Sunfish

Redbreast SunfishScientific Name

Lepomis auritus

Other Common Names

Yellowbreast sunfish, redbelly, red throat


Basically olive to brownish gray along the back, merging to blue with a golden cast along its sides and a bright orange to yellow underside. Has several irregular bluish stripes on its cheek and gill cover. Identifiable by a long, black opercular(gill) flap. Reaches about 8 inches.

Best Fishing

Rivers: South Fork Shenandoah, Nottoway, Rapidan, Rappahannock, Maury and Cowpasture.

Fishing Techniques

Small spinner baits, spinner bucktails, grubs and tiny crankbaits. Spring and fall are the best times, but they are active throughout the summer.

Feeding Habits

Feeds on insect larvae, snails, tiny clams, small crayfish, small fish and terrestrial insects.


Shadows and holes around submerged rocks or near shore along overhanging banks and often at the ends of long swirling currents, in streams and rivers.

Spawning Habits

Late April and early May. Male fans out a nest in coarse sand or gravel near shore in 1 to 4 ft. of quiet water. Male guards the nest and keeps eggs “dusted” of silt until they hatch.