Redear Sunfish: Lepomis microlophus
A bright red mark on the back edge of the gill cover is very distinctive.
Redear prefer hard bottoms, congregating in deeper water than bluegill.
They prefer snails and clams, giving them their common nickname. Shellcracker grow larger than bluegill, with fish over 1 pound common.
State Record: 4.86 lbs.
Big Catch minimum: 11 inches or 1.25 lbs.
Fishing Tips and Facts: Redear sunfish are caught most often on earthworms around the full moons of March and April when their spawning activity peaks.
Image Credit: Duane Raver, Jr.