(See Fish Gallery Below)
The sunfish family is the 2nd largest fish family in North America, comprised of 30 species. They are the most common lake and pond fish and have been widely introduced for sportfishing throughout the country. Anglers divide this group into the sunfish and the bass. Sunfishes (bluegill, pumpkinseed, redear, green, and others) and crappie (white and black) are the most common pond fish, widely popular with children. They are small (up to 2 pounds) laterally compressed fish that are abundant, easily caught, and provide good eating. The bass and sunfish have 2 dorsal (top) fins which may appear as one, but the 1st has hard spines and the 2nd has soft rays. The most common of the bass are the largemouth and smallmouth bass which can grow up to 15 pounds and are more streamlined than the sunfishes.|
Sunfish can spawn multiple times throughout the spring and summer months in shallow nests scooped out of the pond bottom by males. Males vigorously fan and guard the eggs and aggressively defend nests and young from other males and predators. Sunfish feed on plankton and bottom invertebrates, and small fish. Bass quickly become voracious fish eaters. Both sunfish and bass form loose schools (aggregations) around underwater structures (reefs, brush piles, piers).
They are the foundation of warm water sport fishing in ponds and lakes. are usually abundant, readily caught, and good eating. Largemouth bass is the most widely distributed and commonly sought sportfish in the United States. At one extreme, professional bass fishing tournament anglers compete for prizes up to $1 million.