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Warmouth Lepomis gulosus


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credit: Ken Hammond

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Family: Centrarchidae, Sunfishes view all from this family

Description Besides their distinctive spotted patterns, warmouths can be easily identified and distinguished from other panfish or sunfish by their proportionally large mouths (except green sunfish which also have a proportionally large mouth). Other panfish of the same weight will have mouths 2-3 times smaller than that of the warmouth, whose oral proportions are in line with those of largemouth/black bass. It is often stated that warmouths have the body of a bream (a small common sunfish) and the head of a bass, leading to rumors that it is a man-made crossbreed.

Dimensions Up to 10" (25 cm); 2 1/4 lbs (1 kg).

Habitat Lakes & ponds, Rivers & streams.

Range It is native to a wide area of the United States, from Minnesota to western Pennsylvania in the north and from the Rio Grande in New Mexico east to the Atlantic in the south, inhabiting the heavily vegetated, muddy-bottomed habitats typical of the sunfishes. The Warmouth has also been stocked outside of its native range.

Discussion Warmouths can be very aggressive, and will often strike at lures and baits even after being released by anglers moments before. They are rarely targeted by anglers but are an occasional accidental catch. The world record was caught in Florida and weighed 2lbs 7oz.