Similar in size and general appearance to the pumpkinseed and a member of the Centrarchidae family of sunﬁsh, the longear sunfish is a small, excellent gameﬁsh on light tackle, although in many places it is generally too small to be avidly sought. The white and sweet ﬂesh is excellent to eat.
IdentificationWith a stout body, the longear sunfish is not as compressed as the bluegill or the pumpkinseed, its close relatives. It is one of the most colorful sunfish, particularly the breeding male, which is dark red above and bright orange below, marbled, and spotted with blue. The longear generally has red eyes, orange to red median ﬁns, and a blue-black pelvic fin.
There are wavy blue lines on the cheeks and the opercles, and the long, ﬂexible, black ear ﬂaps are generally edged with a light blue, white, or orange line. The longear sunﬁsh has short and rounded pectoral fins, which usually do not reach past the eyes when they are bent forward. It has a fairly large mouth, and the upper jaw extends under each eye pupil.