Warmouth: Lepomis gulosus
It has a stout, deep body similar to other panfish. A red eye and large mouth are conspicuous field marks. Three or four dark stripes radiating back from the eye across the cheek and gill cover like war paint confirm the identity.
Warmouths inhabit swamps, marshes, shallow lakes, slow-moving streams and canals with soft, muddy bottoms. They stay around aquatic vegetation, stumps and snags and under the banks of streams and ponds. They have more tolerance for muddy water than most species.
Warmouths are solitary nesters that prefer to nest adjacent to a submerged object. Nests are found over a wide range of water depths. They often spawn more than once a year usually between April and August. Crayfish, shrimp, insects and small fishes make up the bulk of their diet. Most feeding is done in the morning, as it appears to sleep at night.
State Record: 2.44 lbs.
Big Catch minimum: 9 inches or 0.5 lbs.
Fishing Tips and Facts: Any of the same baits or lures that work well for bluegill and redear sunfish will catch warmouth.
Image Credit: Duane Raver, Jr.