The Redbreast Sunfish is known as being one of the easiest and fun fish to catch. They are sometimes known by these other names: redbelly, robin, bream, longear sunfish, sun perch, river bream, redbreast bream and yellowbelly sunfish. Redbreasts are easily one of the brightest and vibrant in color out of all the sunfishes. The male and female vary in colors, with the males having a yellow, orange or red breast, green upper side which blends into a light-blue on the lower sides and light blue streets along their cheeks. Females, however, are less vibrant and are typically a yellow or pale red. The most unique distinction in their looks is a long and skinny extension of the gill cover that is solid black.
The Redbreast Sunfish is a freshwater fish and is native to the rivers of the United States and Canada. They are commonly found in lakes, coastal-plain streams and rivers in almost every inch of the U.S. These fish are extremely versatile in that can live in rocky areas along with sandy-bottom locations. When they are coming together to spawn, they frequently make themselves home around logs, aquatic vegetation and around boulders.
The Redbreasts mature very slowly, compared to other sunfish. Their average length is 8 inches and it typically takes about three to four years to reach their full size. It is rare for the Redbreast to live past seven years. The reproduction process is extremely similar to any other sunfish and usually occurs between May and August when the water temperature is between 68 and 82 degrees. The Redbreast sunfish spawn in water between one to three feet deep and usually occupy homes that have been left by other sunfish. The numbers of eggs laid in a season vary with the age and size of the female but are somewhere between 1000 to 10000 eggs.
Their diet is likely one of the most diverse out of all the sunfishes. Redbreast Sunfish have been known to eat everything from small fish to clams. They typically stick to bottom-dwelling insect larvae, crayfish and other smaller organisms that reside in the bottom of the water.
The most effective way to catch a Redbreast Sunfish is to draw them in using live bait. Try experimenting with crickets, flies, worms, grasshoppers and small minnows to see what gets them biting. Be sure to keep the line still because they will typically not bite if the lure is moving too much. One common mistake that beginners often make is using large or colorful bobbers. Redbreast Sunfish are known for being easily caught but they still require some coaxing and are often spooked by a heavy line or the lure jerking around too much. The best location to catch these fish is from a drifting or even slowly powered boat, but even fishing from the bank can be effective. They usually stay in shallow water and typically never go farther than 20 feet deep. If the Redbreast isn’t biting, try using different baits and see which ones attract more attention. You could also glide your lure slowly then allow it to remain still again to gain attention to the bait.
Although they typically can be caught by beginners, they will put up a good fight and are considered prized game fish. If you have caught a larger fish then 8” you can see if it qualifies as a ‘Big Catch’ program, depending where you live. The world record of a Redbreast Sunfish was made in 1984 with a catch of 1 pound, 12 ounces. Their meat is a favorite for many fish lovers due to its sweet, flaky white flesh. They are commonly dipped into a seasoned pancake batter then fried and ate. Although the Redbreast Sunfish is a favorite catch with anglers, hobbyists are also known to keep them in aquariums due to their vibrant colors.