Flatfishes, sunfishes, and perchlike fishes

Pumpkinseed Pumpkinseed
Lepomis gibbosus


To 10" (25 cm); 1 lb (500 g). Deep, short, compressed; back dark greenish gold mottled with reddish orange, sides greenish yellow, mottled orange and blue-green, belly yellow-orange. Head small; mouth extends to eye; opercular flap "ear" stiff, with spot, black anteriorly, bordered by white above and below, red posteriorly; cheeks with wavy bluish lines. Pectoral fin long, pointed; soft dorsal fin spotted, edge yellowish to white; 3 anal fin spines. Lateral line complete, 36-47 scales.

Related Species

Spotted Sunfish (L. punctatus) lacks wavy blue lines on cheeks; pectoral fin short, rounded; occurs in sluggish water with vegetation in Mississippi River valley south from Illinois to Coastal Plain drainages, and S. North Carolina west to Texas.


Cool, quiet, shallow waters of slow streams, ponds, marshes, and lakes with dense vegetation.


From New Brunswick west to S. Manitoba; south along Atlantic Coast to NE. Georgia; Great Lakes and upper Mississippi River system south to S. Illinois. Widely introduced.


The Pumpkinseed is not sought by most experienced anglers, but is often caught by beginners. It is aggressive and will take a variety of bait.