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What an Alabama Fishing License 2012 Gets You.

RedEar Sunfish

February 25, 2012

Of all the sunfish the Redear is my favorite. They are just one sharp looking fish.

What do they look like?

Probably the biggest thing to look for in a RedEar Sunfish is the red (male) or orange (female) border on the outside of the earflap. After that look at the body, it is spotted and will often have red/orange flecks on or near its belly. In the picture below you can see the distinct coloration on the earflap. Note that the red goes around the entire border. Pumpkinseed sunfish will have red on only part of the earflap (see the sunfish quiz to practice telling the difference).

Picture of Redear Sunfish
Image provided by Texoma Hatchery.

Where Do Redear Sunfish live?

Originally they lived in the southeastern US but have now been introduced to lakes across the country (and other countries). If you're in the US there's a good chance a local lake will have Redears.

What do they eat?

Redear Sunfish are often called Shellcrackers because they eat a lot of snails which they are able to grind up in their throat. Other food includes insects, small fish, and small crayfish. They have been known to eat clams as well. The type of food they eat is found near the bottom of lakes and pond and near vegetation. If you want to catch Redear Sunfish think of where you'd find snails.

How to Catch a Lepomis microlophus

The Redear probably won't hit flies or top water lures. You best bet is to go with natural baits such as worms. Since Redears are often near the bottom, especially near aquatic vegetation, you'll need to let your bait sink. Early summer is a good time since they'll be closer to shore in spawning beds if you're having trouble catching one otherwise.

You may want to check with people who know the lake to see if Redear are present. If they aren't you'll need to try a different lake.

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