The Florida Redbreast Sunfish
A very long black ear flap distinguishes this fish from other Florida bream.
Also known as river bream and redbellies, these are the flowing water cousins of bluegill. Redbellies often can be found in backwater areas with less flow, especially where there are sandy bottoms. Common in rivers of north Florida, but absent from south Florida.
The redbreast’s diet is probably the most varied of any of the sunfishes. Principal food organisms are bottom-dwelling insect larvae, snails, clams, shrimp, crayfish, and small fish. Compared to some sunfish, redbreasts grow slowly. Redbreast reach six inches in about two to three years.
2.08 lbs. Big Catch: 10 inches total length or 0.75 lbs.
Fishing Tips and Facts:
The same live baits that work for bluegill will also catch redbreast sunfish.
The species native range is condensed to eastern North America, in Canada and south to the rivers emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. The species has been introduced as far west as Texas. This fish primarily feeds on small insect larva, small crayfish, and sometimes small fish. Lepomis auritus thrives in streams and rivers with shelter and structure, usually around banks with the water pH around 7.0-7.5. The redbreast sunfish is a spring spawner in sand-gravel substrate depending on location, or when water temperatures reach 16-26°C. Average clutch size for the sunfish is around 2000 depending on the age of the female. The average length of the sunfish is around 11 cm with a record 30.5 cm. The record weight for the fish is 1.75 pounds. Rarely are limits set on the number of fish that can be harvested due to their large numbers and high reproductive capabilities. If a particular area is subject to overfishing or habitat destruction, managements plans should be put into effect to preserve the population.
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