Fishing for sunfish is an exciting and rewarding activity that can be enjoyed by anglers of all ages and skill levels. These vibrant, feisty fish are found in a variety of habitats across North America and are known for their aggressive strikes and spirited fights. But when is the best time of year to fish for sunfish? Let's dive into the details.

The Sunfish Species

Before we delve into the best times to fish for sunfish, it's important to understand a bit about the species itself. Sunfish are part of the Centrarchidae family, which includes over 30 species, the most popular of which are the Bluegill, the Redear Sunfish, and the Pumpkinseed.

These species are known for their distinctive, laterally compressed bodies, spiky dorsal fins, and wide, mouthy grins. They are typically found in freshwater environments such as lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers and streams.


The Bluegill is arguably the most popular sunfish species among anglers. Known for their deep blue and purple hues, these fish are a favorite among fly fishermen due to their aggressive nature and willingness to bite a variety of baits.

Bluegills are typically found in shallow waters with plenty of vegetation, where they feed on a diet of insects, small fish, and crustaceans.

Redear Sunfish

Also known as shellcrackers, Redear Sunfish are larger and more robust than their Bluegill cousins. They are named for the distinctive red or orange spot on the "ear" region, just behind the eyes.

Redears prefer slightly deeper waters and are known for their fondness for snails, earning them their nickname of 'shellcracker'.


The Pumpkinseed is a smaller sunfish species, known for its vibrant coloration and the distinctive red spot on its gill cover. These fish are often found in clear, cool waters with plenty of cover.

Pumpkinseeds feed on a diet of insects, small crustaceans, and fish eggs, making them a favorite target for light tackle and fly fishermen.

Best Times of Year to Fish for Sunfish

Now that we've covered the basics of the sunfish species, let's move on to the best times of year to fish for them. While sunfish can be caught year-round, certain times of the year are more productive than others.

It's important to note that the following recommendations are general guidelines and can vary based on local weather patterns, water temperatures, and the specific habits of the sunfish in your area.


Spring is arguably the best time of year to fish for sunfish. As the water temperatures begin to rise, sunfish move into the shallow areas of lakes and ponds to spawn. This makes them more accessible and aggressive, resulting in excellent fishing opportunities.

During the spawn, male sunfish will create nests in the shallow water and defend them vigorously, striking at almost anything that comes near. This makes them particularly susceptible to a variety of baits and lures.


Summer is also a great time to fish for sunfish. While the spawn is typically over by early summer, the warm water temperatures keep the fish active and feeding.

During the summer months, sunfish can be found in both shallow and deeper waters, depending on the time of day and water temperatures. Early morning and late evening are often the most productive times to fish during the summer.


Fall can be a challenging time to fish for sunfish, as they often move into deeper waters as the temperatures drop. However, with a bit of patience and the right techniques, you can still have a successful outing.

During the fall, focus on fishing in deeper waters during the warmest parts of the day, when the sunfish are most likely to be active and feeding.


Winter fishing for sunfish can be a bit of a challenge, as the cold water temperatures can make the fish less active. However, for those willing to brave the cold, ice fishing for sunfish can be a fun and rewarding experience.

When ice fishing for sunfish, focus on fishing in deeper waters, where the fish tend to congregate during the colder months.

Booking Your Sunfish Fishing Trip

Whether you're a seasoned angler or a beginner looking to catch your first sunfish, booking a fishing trip can be a great way to ensure a successful outing. A professional guide can provide you with local knowledge, equipment, and expertise to help you land a trophy sunfish.

When booking your fishing trip, we recommend checking Getmyboat first. They offer a wide variety of boat rentals and charters, making it easy to find the perfect option for your needs.

Choosing the Right Boat

When booking your fishing trip, choosing the right boat is crucial. The type of boat you choose will depend on the type of fishing you plan to do, the size of your group, and your personal preferences.

Getmyboat offers a wide range of options, from small fishing skiffs perfect for a solo angler, to larger charter boats equipped with all the amenities for a group outing.

Booking a Charter

If you're new to sunfish fishing or simply want to maximize your chances of success, booking a charter can be a great option. A charter will typically include a professional guide, all necessary equipment, and a boat equipped for fishing.

Again, we recommend checking Getmyboat first when booking a charter. They offer a wide range of options, making it easy to find the perfect charter for your needs.

Final Thoughts

Fishing for sunfish is a fun and rewarding activity that can be enjoyed year-round. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a beginner, understanding the habits of the sunfish and the best times of year to fish for them can greatly increase your chances of success.

So grab your fishing gear, book your boat or charter on Getmyboat, and get ready for an exciting day on the water. Happy fishing!

Ready to Cast Your Line?

Now that you know the best times to fish for sunfish, why not make it a boat day with Getmyboat? With the #1 app for boat rentals and charters, you can easily find and book the perfect vessel for your fishing adventure. Whether you're after a captained experience or prefer to steer your own course, Getmyboat connects you with boat owners and captains for a secure and hassle-free booking. Don't miss out on the fun—search among 150,000 boats and start planning your personalized boating experience today!