Post date: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 12:24
Updated date: 11/12/14
Central Longear Sunfish Lepomis megalotis breeding male


A small, pugnacious, and colorful fish, the Central Longear is clearly distinguished from the Northern Sunfish by the horizontal ear flap. Found across the southern half of the central USA, it is most commonly found in streams and rivers. Longears seldom get more than five inches long and thus, are not often persued by anglers.


Other Names: Central longear sunfish, White River longear sunfish, creek perch, sunny, sun perch






The Central Longear Sunfish is one of the most colorful varieties of fish in the world. It is a small, rounded species of sunfish with a small mouth. The male is much more colorful than the female. The head is covered in electric-blue markings mixed with red or orange, the lower part of the body is brilliant fiery orange, and the back varies from emerald green to turquoise blue. Females are more drab than males, tending to be more yellowish than reddish. Still, the female longear is a colorfu fish in her own right, with flecks of blue and red mixed into a bright yellow and green background. Young longears are almost indistinguishable from Dollar Sunfish - count the scale rows on the cheek below the eyes (Longears will have 5 or 6 scale rows, dollar sunfish only 3 or 4).


To distinguish the Central Longear Sunfish from the Northern Sunfish, take a look at the operculum or ear flap:



It's easy to spot the difference. Also, Northern Sunfish are even smaller than their southern kin, and less colorful.




The Central Longear Sunfish generally prefers stream habitats, unlike its northern cousin. Moderate current and cover in form of rocks, brush, or undercut banks are where the Central Longear prefers to set up shop. Smaller rivers and streams can hold large populations. Longears are fairly comfortable in shallow waters.



Any small bait or lure will work for longears. They are a great target for kids with cane poles or for adults with flyrods. Crockets, worms, grubs, leeches, or worms are all good baits. Flies, both wet and dry, can raise a great many longears.


Video of Longear Sunfish males Fighting in an Ozark Stream









Range Map

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