Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus)
Other Common Names
Yellowbreast sunfish, redbelly, red throat
Basically olive to brownish gray along the back, merging to blue with a golden cast along its sides and a bright orange to yellow underside. Has several irregular bluish stripes on its cheek and gill cover. Identifiable by a long, black opercular(gill) flap. Reaches about 8 inches.
Rivers: South Fork Shenandoah, Nottoway, Rapidan, Rappahannock, Maury and Cowpasture.
Small spinner baits, spinner bucktails, grubs and tiny crankbaits. Spring and fall are the best times, but they are active throughout the summer.
Feeds on insect larvae, snails, tiny clams, small crayfish, small fish and terrestrial insects.
Shadows and holes around submerged rocks or near shore along overhanging banks and often at the ends of long swirling currents, in streams and rivers.
Late April and early May. Male fans out a nest in coarse sand or gravel near shore in 1 to 4 ft. of quiet water. Male guards the nest and keeps eggs "dusted" of silt until they hatch.