Green Sunfish

Green Sunfish
Fish image provided under agreement from Windsor Nature Discovery, LLC. Fish image created by Ron Pittard. Click here if you would like to purchase a print of this fish.
Green Sunfish
Lepomis Cyanellus
green perch, black perch, pond perch, creek perch, sand bass, blue-spotted sunfish, rubbertail
Dorsal region brown to olive, with many emerald reflections; sides lighter, with 7-12 faint dark, vertical bars; belly yellow to white. Head with emerald spots, and at times with backward radiating emerald lines; opercular flap with black center and with a broad, light-colored margin. Fins generally pigmented; bases of rear dorsal and anal fins usually with a vague, dark blotch. Young similar to adults, but lacking bands on sides and spots on cheeks and fins. Breeding male with prominent, yellowish white line along margin of the dorsal, caudal, and anal fins, and with dark, vertical bars along sides
In Wisconsin, the green sunfish occurs in the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan drainage basins. It is well distributed in streams and lakes in the southern one-third of the state, and it is widely dispersed northward. The green sunfish usually inhabits quiet pools in warm, shallow waters of ponds, lakes, small brooks, and rivers of low gradient.
Spawning takes place late May to early August. Green sunfish typically bring off multiple hatches each season, spawning every 8-10 days. The male builds a nest by clearing a depression in the lake or stream bottom to expose gravel. The nest usually is situated near the shelter of rocks, logs, or clumps of grass. After the femal spawns the male guards the nest, fanning it with his fins to keep it clean and well oxygenated.

State Green Sunfish Records:

  • Illinois State Record:
    2 lbs 1 ozs caught by John Stein caught on Farm Pond on June 28, 1981.
  • Indiana State Record:
    1 lbs 10 ozs caught by Terry Keller caught on Pit on January 1, 1987.
  • Iowa State Record:
    2 lbs 1 ozs caught by Ralph Mayer caught on Farm Pond on July 1, 2000.
  • Michigan State Record:
    1 lbs 8 ozs caught by Julius R. ("Chip") Drotos caught on Kirkwood Lake on January 1, 1990.
  • Minnesota State Record:
    1 lbs 3 ozs caught on Scheuble Lake on January 9, 1984.
  • Wisconsin State Record:
    1 lbs 9 ozs caught on Wind Lake on August 23, 1967.