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Sunfishing

Like all anglers, I love big fish.  The bigger the better.  Big, bad, predator fish turn my crank.

But, I also love the variety.  In fact I spend at least some time every year just tossing a small “bobber” and catching some sunfish.

Does watching a bobber go under ever get old?  Or maybe I should ask, are you ever too old to not get excited seeing a bobber go down?  If you do, then you should quit fishing.

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Now, I said “sunfish” on purpose.  Sure, bluegills are the most commonly caught sunfish species, but there are others, and again, I love the variety.

And you know what?  All of the sunfish species are purdy, especially when they are near spawning.  That is another reason I like ’em.

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Male bluegill
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Redear sunfish

For the first time in several years, I got another one this spring.  This one a little more uncommon:

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Pumpkinseed

Let me illustrate the variety, and beauty of our Nebraska sunfish a little more.  Let me also point out that hybridization between these species does occur.

This “montage” was put together by an avid Nebraska angler who has put some miles on traveling the state catching a variety of fish.  It also includes two more Lepomid, sunfish, found in Nebraska, the green sunfish and orangespotted sunfish.

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Scott Buss photos. THANKS SCOTT!

The top five panels show the sunfish species, bluegill, redear, green, orangespotted and pumpkinseed, clockwise starting with the upper left.  The bottom three photos, from the left, show a pumpkinseed X bluegill hybrid, a redear X bluegill hybrid, and a green X bluegill hybrid.  Those hybrids all occur in the wild, and are not uncommon.

They all are willing to bite, fun to catch, and beautiful fish!

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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