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Panfish Fishing In Georgia

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Guide to fishing for panfish, sunfish, perch and bluegill in lakes and ponds.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Throughout the state of Georgia you can find waters with populations of panfish, including bluegill, flier sunfish, green sunfish, redbreast sunfish, redear sunfish, spotted sunfish, warmouth, white bass and yellow perch.

Panfish Fishing

Pan Fish Fishing Options

Bluegill Fishing Basics Video

The core principles shown in this video will work for most sunfish, perch and other panfish.

What Are Panfish?

Sunfish and panfish are terms encompassing various freshwater species like bluegill, sunfish, and perch. Panfish are opportunistic feeders, consuming a diverse array of prey. Their diets commonly consist of aquatic insects, small crustaceans, and even smaller fish. However, different species of sunfish preferences may shift based on seasonal variations and local conditions. During warmer months, when insect activity is high, panfish tend to focus more on insects and larvae. As temperatures drop, they may switch to feeding on smaller fish, worms or crustaceans.

Types Of Panfish

Mostly from the sunfish family, panfish that we cover in this website include bluegill, eight species of sunfish, rock bass, white and yellow bass, and white and yellow perch. Panfish are prolific spawners and repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested.

Sunfish Size

Bluegill, perch and sunfish generally range from less than half a pound to over 4 or 5 pounds at world-record size. The world record for tilapia is over 9 pounds.

Fishing For Panfish

Sunish are eager feeders, making them an excellent target for youth fishing outings. The most popular method is using ultralight tackle, such as light rods and small reels, paired with tiny hooks and light line - ideally 2-6-pound.

Annually, panfish exhibit predictable movement patterns influenced mostly by water temperature and spawning instincts. As temperatures rise in spring, panfish migrate from deeper waters towards shallow areas, where they spawn. This migration provides anglers with prime opportunities to catch panfish, as they tend to congregate in large numbers. At this time, they will be found in shallow bays, spawning beds, or near submerged vegetation. In summer and winter they drop into deeper water.

Pan Fish Baits And Lures

Baits like live worms, insect larvae, and small minnows are commonly used to entice bites. Tiny jigs, spinners, soft plastics, and prepared baits are also effective. Miniature size is important to mimic the delicate feeding habits of freshwater panfish. A small bobber or float can be attached to the line to suspend the bait at a desired depth. Experiment with colors and sizes to match the preferences of the targeted species.

Common Sunfish Species In Georgia


Bluegill
Bluegill/Shellcrackers

One of the easiest fish to catch, all types of bluegill aka in Georgia as shellcrackers are eager to take most types of sunfish bait and lures. They are sight feeders and prefer slightly stained water with little or no current. Bluegill tend to run in schools and congregate near their food supply. These aggressive eaters can survive in most warm-water fisheries, preferring water temperatures ranging from 60° to 85°. Ideal hook sizes are #6 to #10.


Flier Sunfish

Found primarily in the southern part of the USA, flier sunfish prefer rivers and weedy lakes with warmer water temperatures. This is a favorite for private ponds. Its diet can include insects and small invertebrates. Use standard sunfish bait, fished on a size 12 hook. Fliers can be taken on flies and are fun to catch on ultra light equipment.


Green Sunfish
Green Sunfish

Another species that adds variety to panfish fishing in the state is the green sunfish. While they may not be as numerous as bluegill, they are still sought after by many anglers. The green sunfish is native to lakes and ponds and prefers areas with heavy vegetation or other cover. Use standard sunfish bait, fished on a size 8 to size 12 hook.


Redbreast Sunfish
Redbreast Sunfish

The males are quite colorful with red, orange or yellow breasts, and dark green upper bodies. Females are colored the same but in drab shades of the same colors. Redbreast sunfish are also commonly called longear bream, redbreasted bream and yellowbreast bream., Use standard sunfish bait fished on a size 10 to size 12 hook.


Redear Sunfish
Redear Sunfish

Also known as shellcrackers, redear sunfish are less common but can be found in certain waters throughout Georgia. They are slightly larger than bluegill and are recognized for their distinctive red ear flap. The red stripe along the edge of the ears is the distinguishing mark for males, and is orange on females. Use standard sunfish bait, fished on a size 8 to size 10 hook.


Spotted Sunfish
Spotted Sunfish

Green on the top and often reddish to brown on the lower sides, they have a dark or black ear covering which looks like a black spot. The spotted sunfish naturally inhabits streams, creeks and rivers. They prefer areas with gravel or sand, and plenty of vegetation. They are small but quite good eating., Use standard sunfish bait, fished on a size 10 to size 12 hook.


Warmouth
Warmouth

The warmouth sunfish has a larger mouth than most sunfish and can eat larger prey. Adult warmouths feed on insects, mollusks, minnows and small fish. They prefer sandy bottoms of quiet areas in creeks, streams and rivers. They look for heavy vegetation to use as cover. Use standard sunfish bait, fished on a size 6 to size 10 hook.


White Bass
White Bass

Often called sand bass, stripes, barfish and silver bass, white bass have silver sides with horizontal dark stripes. They are a good fighter, fun to catch and tend to run in schools, often schools of several hundred or more. Their primary diet is bait fish and other smaller fish but they also eat worms and insects. Fish for white bass on light tackle with jigs, spoons, minnow-imitation lures and live bait.


Yellow Perch
Yellow Perch

Yellow perch are found in ponds, lakes, and slow-moving rivers, ideally in clear water near vegetation. They are often misnamed as perch, rock perch and many other names. Their primary diet consists of minnows and other small fish, insects and worms. Yellow perch prefer water temperatures from 66 to 70 degrees but remain active in temperatures outside this range. They are a favorite of many ice fishing enthusiasts.


Panfish fishing in Georgia is a great way to introduce kids to the joys of fishing. The small size of these fish makes them perfect for small anglers. Their willingness to bite ensures a positive experience for young anglers. Taking kids fishing is a great investment in their future. With numerous youth fishing events and family-friendly locations across the state, panfish fishing in Georgia is a fantastic way to create lasting memories and foster a love for the outdoors in the next generation of anglers.

Best Panfish, Bluegill, Sunfish & Perch Lakes

Panfish fishing in Georgia

Georgia lakes are virtual fish factories. Panfish like most species flourish in the warm waters with long growing seasons. All major lakes including Banks Lake, Blue Ridge Lake, Carters Lake, Chatuge Lake, Clarks Hill Lake, Lake Allatoona, Lake Burton, Lake Blackshear, Lake Chehaw, Lake Eufaula, Lake Harding, Lake Hartwell, Lake Jackson, Lake Lanier, Lake Nottely, Lake Oconee, Lake Oliver, Lake Russell, Lake Seminole, Lake Sinclair, Lake Tobesofkee, Lake Tugalo, Shamrock Lake and West Point Lake have a population of panfish.

Georgia State Fish Records

Bluegill

Bluegill

World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 5 oz

Flier Sunfish

Flier sunfish

World record: 1 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 1 lbs 4 oz

Green Sunfish

Green sunfish

World record: 2.2 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 7 oz

Redbreast Sunfish

Redbreast sunfish

World record: 2 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 1 lbs 11 oz

Redear Sunfish

Redear sunfish

World record: 5.4 lbs

State Record: 4 lbs 2 oz

Soptted Sunfish

Spotted sunfish

World record: N/A

State Record: 0 lbs 10 oz

Warmouth

Warmouth

World record: 2.4 lbs

State Record: 2 lbs 0 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

State Record: 5 lbs 1 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 9 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Georgia State Record Sunfish

The state record bluegill was caught from Shamrock Lake.

The state record flier sunfish came from a private pond.

The state record green sunfish came from a private pond.

The state record redbreast sunfish came out of a private pond.

The state record redear sunfish came out of a private pond.

The state record spotted sunfish was caught in a private pond.

The state record warmouth came out of a private pond.

The state record white bass came from Lake Lanier.

The state record yellow perch was caught from the Savannah River.

 

Sunfish fishing information in other states.

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