Pumpkinseed Sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus)
The pumpkinseed is the most widely distributed and abundant sunfish in New York, occurring throughout the state including Long Island. They seem to prefer weedy, warmwater lakes and ponds, using weed patches, docks, and logs for cover and usually staying close to shore. They are present in the calm pools of most rivers. The average pumpkinseed is about 5 to 6 inches in length, although some may approach 10 inches.
Pumpkinseeds bite voraciously on nearly any type of natural bait, providing it is small, and on a variety of small artificial lures; flies are especially effective. Their wide distribution, abundance, unhesitating tendency to bite on worms, and close proximity to shore have made them a favorite among youngsters. They make fine eating, but their small size limits their potential as sport fish.
Distribution of pumpkinseed in NY state. Dark dots represent where actual samples of pumpkinseed were taken. White dots represent historic distributions.
An image of the pumpkinseed sunfish is also available for download.