Lepomis Cyanellus



Lake, River, Backwater, Gravel Bottom

1 - 2 pounds

3" - 12"

Green Sunfish 

Also Known As: Black Perch, Ricefield Slick, Shade perch , Slicks, Mud Bass, Rubber-tail, Pond Perch, Bluespotted Sunfish, Sunfish, Green Perch, Sand Bass

Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) Fish Description

A popular panfish among anglers, the Green Sunfish is a freshwater fish that can be either caught live as a pet or for eating. Despite being known as a sunfish, it doesn’t really have the shape of the sun. However, the Green Sunfish gets its name for its fins that are more like rays rather than spines. The Green Sunfish like its cousin, the Ocean Sunfish, can be quite bony.  

As its name states, the Green Sunfish is blue-green in color. It has yellow flecks on both its bony scales and some parts of its ventral sides. The Green Sunfish also has broken blue stripes which is why some people confuse it with the Bluegill. One of its most distinctive features is the dark spot that it has. The Green Sunfish has three areas where those dark spots are: one at the back end of the dorsal fin, another at the base of the anal fins, and one on the ear plate. However, it still can be difficult to tell the Green Sunfish apart from its other cousins since they frequently cross-breed. Another one of their distinct features is that they have a large mouth which is bigger than most of their sunfish cousins.


Green Sunfish Diet and Size

Green Sunfish are omnivores but they do have a preference for live food. They love bloodworms, aquatic insects, most available worm-based baits (i.e. waxworms, bloodworms and, mealworms). However, the Green Sunfish also like eating crayfish and snails. Some hobbyists also noted that they don’t have issues eating turtle food either. 

They also take in some smaller fish, fish eggs, some zooplankton and, easy to pick invertebrates.

Green Sunfish usually are 3-7 inches approximately in length. They also usually weigh less than a pound. However, someone managed to capture a Green Sunfish at 30 cm (that’s basically 1 foot!) with its weight at 960 grams (2.2 lbs).


Interesting Facts about the Green Sunfish

  • Green Sunfish are not usually recommended for consumption.
    • These fish are quite bony and it can be quite irritating for those who are starting a diet on fish.
    • These fish aren’t meant for child consumption either unless the child knows how to flake a fish.
  • Green Sunfish are known for cross-breeding.
    • This makes it difficult even for experienced anglers to tell the difference.
    • Although the Green Sunfish has some specific distinctions, their cross-breeding can make it hard which is why they’re mistaken for their cousins.
  • Although Green Sunfish are a popular game fish and native to North America, they are considered an invasive species.
    • The Green Sunfish have a nasty tendency to overpopulate and many anglers say they don’t even grow to an admirable size.
    • Their inability to grow to a decent size may be due to their tendency to overpopulate. The less space the fish has, the more it’ll stunt its growth.
  • Apparently, people need a license to own a Green Sunfish!
    • Because they’re considered an invasive species in New Jersey and Florida, they are immediately killed especially if you’re an angler in New Jersey.
    • People usually keep Green Sunfish only if they have a license to own them which is usually a license for research.
  • Green Sunfish can be quite aggressive.
    • Once they’ve established their dominance in a certain area, they won’t hesitate to attack other small fishes and possibly even swimmers.
    • The Green Sunfish are known to bite. So, don’t go in the water if you know that you’re in a Green Sunfish infested area!
    • Their aggression may be due to also the nature of their courtship dance. The Green Sunfish are observed to exert physical force if they find another fish nearing its nest.


Green Sunfish – Fishing Techniques: How to Fish for a Green Sunfish

When fishing for Green Sunfish, the first thing to get is live bait. The more alive, the better. Some anglers recommend using nightcrawlers, waxworms, mealworms, and blood worms. Bloodworms may be the easiest to procure though they should be alive. Most stores especially pet stores sell bloodworms frozen. 

Once you have your live bait, head over to a freshwater body. Some say that the more debris there is, the better. The Green Sunfish love hiding among the debris as it makes a good substitute for their nests. They also like weed beds which serve as their camouflage. 

When fishing for the fierce Green Sunfish, many anglers recommend the pole fishing method. Primitive but, the pole fishing method allows you to detect when the Green Sunfish will strike. The lighter it is, the better. Some even say that the material that your pole matters a lot when fishing for the Green Sunfish. They usually say a good Carbon Fiber pole would do. It’s light but it’s sturdy enough to withstand the weight of its strikes.

Using a pole will also help you do a little bobbing especially if your bait is a little dead. The more it shows some movement, the higher the chances the Green Sunfish will strike. 


Green Sunfish Habitat and Distribution 

Green Sunfish are quite adaptable fish which is why they can also be considered an invasive species. As long as there is vegetation, they will go for it. However, they do have a preference for slow streams and sluggish moving bodies of water. Probably a preference especially when they begin setting up their nest and laying eggs. Check among the weeds too; they’re usually found there hiding.