The bluegill

A black dot on the bluegill’s “ear” is notable. Their faces are blue, even purple, with yellow to orange bellies. They have dark vertical bands spaced down their sides.

Bluegill live in the shallow waters of lakes and ponds, along with slow-moving areas of streams and small rivers. They prefer water with heavy aquatic vegetation, and hide within fallen logs or water weeds. They can often be found around weed beds, where they search for food or spawn.

In the wild they feed on insects, zooplankton, worms, and small fish. They will eat almost any human food scraps thrown into the water, such as bread, corn, and crackers.

Spawning season for bluegills starts late spring and extends into the summer. The peak of the spawning season usually occurs when waters hit 67 and continues to rise to 80 °F. 

  • Choccolocco Creek: It is advised to NOT eat any fish caught from Choccolocco Creek. 

(Lepomis macrochirus) 

Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) are the iconic bream species that many of us have fond memories of catching as a kid and still enjoy to this day. The world record bluegill, at 4 lbs 12 oz, came from Alabama in 1950.

redbreast sunfish

The redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus), big surprise, has a red breast. It has a long black ear flap. Bluish green stripes extend back from the mouth. The back is olive green. The edges of the soft dorsal fin and the tail fin are yellow to orange.

The redbreast prefers vegetated and rocky pools and sloughs for its habitat.

In the wild they feed on insects, zooplankton, worms, and small fish. They will eat almost any human food scraps thrown into the water, such as bread, corn, and crackers.

The redbreast sunfish is a spring spawner in sand-gravel substrate depending on location, or when water temperatures reach 60-80 °F.

Choccolocco Creek: It is advised to NOT eat any fish caught from Choccolocco Creek. 

(Lepomis auritus)

The redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus), big surprise, has a red breast. It has a long black ear flap. Bluish green stripes extend back from the mouth. The back is olive green. The edges of the soft dorsal fin and the tail fin are yellow to orange.

redear sunfish

The Redear’s appearance is pretty dull, and the distinguishing characteristic is a red edge around their ear flap.

You’ll find Redear in moderate to large streams, rivers, reservoirs, lakes, and other standing-water habitats.

Redear feed on mollusks and benthic aquatic insect larvae. 

Spawning occurs from late April to early June.

  • Choccolocco Creek: It is advised to NOT eat any fish caught from Choccolocco Creek. 

(Lepomis microlophus

The redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus) is more commonly known as the shellcracker because they fancy snails as part of their diet. Because they have a bit of a niche in the snail-eating department, they can be stocked in ponds with bluegill without competing with them for food.

The green sunfish

The green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus), called so because its body is mostly green, is distinguished by its orange tipped fins.

Compared to most bream, they are pretty tolerant of poor water quality conditions and can live almost anywhere (that has water of course).

A Green’s diet can include aquatic insects and larvae, insects that fall into the water, crayfish, snails, turtle food, some small fish, zooplankton, and other small invertebrates.

Begins in mid-April and can continue all summer.

  • Choccolocco Creek: It is advised to NOT eat any fish caught from Choccolocco Creek. 

(Lepomis cyanellus)

Greens don’t grow very large; the state record is  1 lbs 9 oz. In ponds, they are undesirable because they grow compete with bluegill for food but never reach a good size for consumption. 

longear sunfish

Longear’s have a long ear
flap which is black with a light colored edge. They have a dark colored back which transitions to a bright yellow or orange belly.

Longear prefer moving water.

White bass largely feed on shad.

Longear are mostly a carnivorous fish that eats aquatic insects, small crustaceans, fish eggs, young bass, and even young sunfish.

  • Choccolocco Creek: It is advised to NOT eat any fish caught from Choccolocco Creek. 

(Lepomis megalotis)

Longear Sunfish (Lepomis megalotis) are a beautiful, brightly colored bream.  Breeding males have bright blue spots all over their sides. They are very small; the state record is just 8 oz!