Green sunfish rarely become large enough to be pursued by most anglers, except youngsters. They are often considered a liability because they compete with more desirable game fish and readily stunt in the face of competition.
Features: Green sunfish have more of a bass-shaped body and a larger mouth than the other sunfishes, other than the warmouth. Also, unlike other sunfish except the warmouth, the pectoral fin is rounded, rather than pointed. Green sunfish are olive green on the back and sides with a yellowish-copper or brassy hue on the lower sides of the belly. Dusky, vertical bars are often present. Turquoise mottling, often in the form of bars, radiates backward from the snout and eye. They have a dark spot at the base of the rear lobe of the dorsal fin.
Habitat: Green sunfish are found in a variety of habitats, from slow streams to shallow lakes or ponds. They are more frequently associated with smallmouth bass than the other sunfish, since they are better adapted to stream life. However, they can also survive in waters too small for most other sunfish. Green sunfish are often found around weed beds because of cover and abundance of food. They feed primarily on aquatic insects.
Technique: Green sunfish are found in many of the lower elevation ponds, lakes, reservoirs and river backwaters throughout the state. In general, green sunfish prefer shallow, warmwater areas with abundant aquatic vegetation and cover. Most are not tough to catch, but you may have to spend time looking for schools of them. Green sunfish are best targeted during the late spring when they are spawning and can be found in shallow water. Look for them in ½ to 6 feet of water in wind-protected areas such as the back ends of coves. They will often be over sand or gravel bottoms where these are available. Spawning begins when the temperature approaches 68 degrees F. At other times of the year find them near weed beds, along drop-offs or around submerged woody debris. Use a bobber rig and size 10 or 12 hook baited with worms, meal worm, crickets, piece of nightcrawler or other natural bait. Green sunfish also readily take small artificial lures such as a jig or tiny spinner, and small wet or dry flies.