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

Lifelist Entries

Post date: Friday, June 15, 2012 - 12:19
Mulberry River, Redding Recreation Area, Ozark National Forest, AR
Post date: Sunday, September 1, 2013 - 17:43
Ozark Mountains, AR
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Current River, MO
Post date: Monday, January 18, 2016 - 18:52
Post date: Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 21:49
Nashville, TN
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Poplar Bluff
Post date: Monday, September 15, 2014 - 21:52
Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 00:00
Bee Creek. College Station, TX
Post date: Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 22:17
Big Piney Creek near Newberg Missouri
Post date: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 10:00
Caney Creek outside Oak Haven Farms subdivision, Montgomery County, TX
Post date: Saturday, June 8, 2013 - 13:47
Post date: Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 19:19
Fox Creek at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, KS
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Strip pits.
Post date: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 23:48
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Caught in Caney Creek behind Oak Haven Farms subdivision, Montgomery County, TX.
Post date: Sunday, July 8, 2012 - 16:53
Lake of the ozarks
Post date: Sunday, July 6, 2014 - 15:01
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Meramec R. MO.
Post date: Monday, March 26, 2012 - 17:45
Big Piney River, MO
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Conecuh River, near Andalusia, Alabama
Post date: Sunday, June 22, 2014 - 09:36
Urbana, IL
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Post date: Friday, March 16, 2012 - 08:42
Secret stream WI
Post date: Monday, May 27, 2019 - 12:29
Sprewell Bluff Park, Flint River, Georgia