Sunfish, Perch & Bluegill
The green sunfish is one of the most abundant sunfish and is found in creeks, streams, rivers, ponds and reservoirs. It has the blue tab on its gill cover but is somewhat less saucer shaped than the bluegill and has a noticeably larger mouth. Fins are usually edged in yellow. The green sunfish can be undesirable in ponds and lakes, since it will easily overpopulate and become stunted. However, the "greenie" is a great fish for kids and will nearly always hit small baits and lures. They are usually found very close to the shore, especially along riprap.
The bluegill is a saucer-shaped sunfish with a namesake blue tab on its gillcover, the bluegill is a popular sportfish that readily takes bait or small lures. It is a fine eating fish as well. Bluegill are commonly caught on "the beds" in early June when they move into the shallows and dish out small nests for spawning. Fly gear is particularly effective at this time, as the fish will aggressively attack flies or poppers that land above or near the nest. Bluegills do best in clear ponds with vegetation.
The redear sunfish is similar in shape to the bluegill and has a red trim around the tab on its gill cover. Redears get bigger than bluegill and are generally tougher to catch. Called shellcrackers in the South, redears will feed on snails and other mollusks. Redears generally prefer deeper water than other sunfishes and are not usually found near shorelines.