Post date: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 12:28
Updated date: 3/28/14
Redbreast Sunfish Lepomis auritus

Other Names: Robin, Redbelly, Yellowbelly Sunfish, Bream, River Bream, Sun Perch, Redbreast Bream


The redbreast sunfish is a strikingly colored, east coast variety of sunfish. Common across the Atlantic slope, from Florida to Maine, the redbreast is a beautiful, sporty panfish with a pugnacious nature that makes it as fun to catch as it is good to eat. They feed on a wide variety of small organisms, from terrestrial and aquatic insects to shrimp, crayfish, and small minnows.





The redbreast is one of the most colorful of all the sunfishes, and easy to identify. The elongated, narrow, black opercular flap is a key characteristic to look for, along with the red-orange or yellowish breast. The ear of the redbreast sunfish is actually longer that that of the longear. Redbreast sunfish are one of the larger species of sunfish - topping two pounds in weight.




Redbreast sunfish are creatures of flowing water. That's why they are often called "river bream". Redbreast sunfish prefer sandy or rocky areas, especially where sand and rocks are found along with woody cover such as tree roots or undercut banks. They can be found in creeks down to a few yards wide, and even survive in tidal areas where the fresh stream water mixes with saltwater.




Small lures and flies work great for redbreast sunfish, and they will attack surface lures with reckless abandon. This makes fly tackle perfect for this species. Wading up a shallow, rocky river and punching a cast at every likely hole is a great way to prospect for redbellies. If a fish doesn't hit your fly after a few twitches, pick it up and drop it into a different spot. Fishing a worm or cricket under a small float is deadly for this fish as well. Hang your bait a foot off the bottom for best results, and cast as close to cover as you can.



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