Illustration by Duane Raver
(Enlarge image)

Scientific Name: Lepomis gibbosus

Classification: Game Fish

Abundance: Reservoirs throughout NC, as well as many coastal rivers.



State record pumpkinseed (1 lb, 6 oz., from Trent River by John Koonce on 5/21/2003)


Additional Information

One of the smaller sunfish, the pumpkinseed is a very colorful, chunky fish with a small mouth. Its cheek area has four to eight wavy lines that are often bright blue. The breast and belly are orange to yellow, with lighter-colored sides in a variety of bright colors. The ear flap is black but has an orange-red spot on the outer margin that is often bordered in white.

A native of eastern and central North America, pumpkinseed sunfish have been widely introduced in other states. In North Carolina, pumpkinseed are found in shallow areas of lakes and slow-moving rivers and prefer areas with submerged vegetation and brushy cover. They can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, including acidic swamp habitats and brackish estuarine waters. Pumpkinseeds eat aquatic insects, snails, small clams and other invertebrates

The following fishing regulations are effective Aug. 1 of each year.

Inland Fishing Regulations
Regulatory authority between the Wildlife Resources Commission and Division of Marine Fisheries. Inland game fish regulations include Manner of Taking, Seasons and Using Trotlines and Set-hooks.

Warmwater Game Fish
Game fish size and creel limits. Also, Bass and Morone (striped bass) Identification Charts.

Fishing Techniques:

Fish for pumpkinseed using natural baits, such as worms, with small hooks and light lines. Small spinners and flies can also be used. Anglers should concentrate along the edges of dense vegetation or woody debris.

Good Places to Fish:

Most lakes and reservoirs in North Carolina have populations of pumpkinseed, with coastal rivers and brackish estuaries offering quality angling opportunities as well.