Post date: Monday, March 17, 2014 - 15:20
Updated date: 10/17/14
Pumpkinseed, Lepomis gibbosus


The pumpkinseed is one of the most colorful fish found in our local waters. Breeding male pumpkinseeds are especially colorful. The fish’s breast and belly are orange to red-orange, and its back and sides are brown to olive. Its sides and back are speckled with orange, yellow, blue, and emerald spots. Pumpkinseeds look a bit like bluegills, and they are often found in the same habitat. The best way to tell them apart is by looking at the opercle flap. It’s black in both species, but the pumpkinseed has a distinctive crimson spot in a half-moon shape on the rear edge. Also, pumpkinseeds have 7-8 dark vertical bands on their sides that are irregular and fainter than those found on the bluegill. Additionally, the pumpkinseed has several narrow wavy stripes, alternating orange-brown or light blue, on the cheek.




Pumpkinseeds prefer heavily vegetated areas with clear water. Small open pockets in thick weeds are pumpkinseed magnets. Use heavy presentations as big pumpkinseeds prefer their meals served near the bottom. While fishing plastic worms for bass, you'll often get violent strikes with no hookup. Scale down or switch to heavy flies, as the culprit is often a large, aggressive pumpkinseed attacking a bait longer than itself.



Pumpkinseeds will aggressively attack most small lures and natural baits. Flyfishing for pumpkinseeds is deadly and highly entertaining. Pumpkinseeds like to pick grubs off the undersides of lily pads, so listen for the tell-tale "smacking" sounds they make while doing this, and you just might find your way to pumpkinseed paradise.


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