Doing business with DNREC during the coronavirus period. More Info

Delaware.gov logo

Pumpkinseed Sunfish


The Pumpkinseed Sunfish, also known as the "sunny", is an attractive fish.

They are orange, green, yellow or blue in color, with speckles over their sides and back and a yellow-orange breast and belly.

The ear flap is black with a distinctive red-orange spot at the rear edge.

Pumpkinseed Sunfish Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season Open Year-Round
Size Limit No Size Limit
Daily Limit / Person 50 panfish total (no more than 25 Pumpkinseed Sunfish)
Delaware Range Statewide
Abundance in Delaware Waters Abundant
General Habitat and Food Preferences Pumpkinseed Sunfish live in many ponds, along with slow-moving areas of streams and rivers. They prefer water with many weeds.

They mainly feed on insects, but also consume crayfish, leeches, snails, and small fishes.
Did You Know? Pumpkinseed Sunfish are very popular with young anglers due to their willingness to bite on worms, their abundance, and their close locations to the shore.

The Pumpkinseed Sunfish is closely related to smallmouth and largemouth bass.
Common Lures and Baits Pumpkinseed Sunfish can be caught with artificial flies, small spinners, and jigs.

Bait often includes crickets, meal worms, small worms, and even pieces of bread rolled into pearl size balls fished suspended under a bobber.
Typical Sizes Caught Pumpkinseed Sunfish are commonly caught in the range of 5 to 7 inches in length by Delaware anglers.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Pumpkinseed Sunfish are not currently eligible for a Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament or Live Release award.
Delaware State Record Pumpkinseed Sunfish are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.



+