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Hunting for the perfect Pumpkinseed in Northern Illinois

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#1 DissidentMantis

  • NANFA Guest
  • Illinois

Posted 21 October 2019 - 04:10 PM

 Ever since I began cycling my 75 gallon native tank and stocking it with rocks, driftwood, plants and substrate from my local stream, I have been on the lookout for beautiful pumpkinseeds in Illinois.  The problem isn't finding them, it's finding ones that are not hybridized with bluegill or green sunfish.  


After finding a sunfish "honey hole" on the Salt Creek in DuPage Illinois, I was finally able to get what appears to be a juvenile Pumpkinseed. I caught 23 sunfish and only 2 appeared to be pumpkinseeds, the rest were Juvenile greens or bluegills.  I am not sure if this is a pure Pumpkinseed or a hybrid because it seems a little too fusiform and only has a very faint red portion on it's "ear". I introduced it to my tank with the hopes that I would find one more to keep him company.


It seems that the perfect fish is often caught when you are unprepared.  Yesterday I was fishing for trout at Busse North pool in Cook County, Illinois.  Nothing was hitting my bobber so I went with a small Carolina-rig.  I felt a bite, set the hook and reeled in what I thought was a small trout, but ended up being one of the most beautiful sunfish that I have ever seen.  This was a large, pure Pumpkinseed.  It's colors were bright and staring at this magnificent fish in the orange tinge of the setting sun was the highlight of my week.  I wanted to take this fish home and acclimate it to my aquarium so badly, but I had no bucked to transport it with.


I've learned my lesson and I am never fishing without a bucket and portable aerator again in case I come across a perfect fish. Lost opportunity, but still an awesome experience.

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Edited by DissidentMantis, 21 October 2019 - 04:14 PM.

#2 olaf

  • NANFA Member

Posted 23 October 2019 - 07:45 AM

My car is always full of stuff I probably won't need but have just in case something excellent and fishy happens. I might be driving to the grocery store 5 minutes away, but there are fishing rods, dipnets, buckets, etc., handy. 

That pumpkinseed's still not as perfect as you can find around here. I don't know if it's just a sub-standard individual or has some other sunfish species in its family history. At first I thought the cheek looked kind of redear-ish. I don't know if they stock redears in that pond and am not suggesting it is one. 

I don't know if I'd even call the top fish a pumpkinseed, though it may have relatives who are. Looks like mostly green sunfish. 

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#3 DissidentMantis

  • NANFA Guest
  • Illinois

Posted 24 October 2019 - 11:35 AM

Yes, I am still on the hunt.  I am going to check out Big bend lake off of Golf Road.  I heard there may be some in a little pool that connects to the Des Plaines River.

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