warmouth fish

 

Another popular member of the bass and sunfish family is the warmouth or warmouth bass.

The species is native to the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins, as well as drainages of the  Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The warmouth prefers ponds, small lakes, swamps, and slow-moving sections of streams or rivers.

When identifiying warmouth, anglers should note the large mouth and pattern of dark colored bars on the fish’s cheeks. During the breeding season, males can be identified by their bright red eyes.

Depending on its habitat, the warmouth may appear dark brown, olive-brown or greenish in color. Adult fish are marked with a pattern of mottling and  barring as well as spotting on their fins.

Warmouth average 8-9 inches in length. Trophy fish occasionally reach lengths of 12 inches, weighing one pound or more.

The warmouth is one of 3 sunfish that are characterized by heavy bodies and large mouths. The other two species, green sunfish and rock bass, are both similar in appearance.

The warmouth  frequently hybridizes with bluegill or green sunfish, producing fish with a wide range of markings.

Regional names for the fish include goggle-eye, stumpknocker, warmouth bass, warmouth sunfish and others.