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Orangespotted sunfish illustration

Orangespotted Sunfish

Sunfish Family: Sunfish family members are deep and stockily built, attractive in coloration and popular as panfish. Most sunfish spawn in early summer, when water temperatures warm to the mid-60 and low 70-degree range. Male sunfish build nests by excavating soft substrate with their fins to expose sand, gravel, roots or other firm objects for females to lay their eggs over.

Orangespotted Sunfish Identification

  • Dorsal fin has a spiny front portion and a soft-rayed rear portion
  • Similar in shape to the bluegill
  • Usually smaller in size than the bluegill with adults only 3 to 4 inches in length
  • A very colorful fish, owing its name to the abundant orange spots on its head and side
  • Black tipped gill cover that is edged in white


They prefer shallow, turbid lakes and rivers.

It is not common in North Dakota.

These fish are seldom caught by anglers and therefore are not observed often.

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