The Sunfish family (Centrarchidae) includes 30 species, and is found only in North America. This family includes the Black Bass
(Micropterus) and Crappie (Pomoxis). This family is one of the most popular and widely known gamefish groups in North America.
Anglers like Sunfish because of their fierce tenacity when caught
by hook-and-line, and their firm, white flesh.
Different types of Sunfish often crossbreed, resulting in hybrids that have some characteristics of both parents. Hybrids may even crossbreed with other hybrids or with their parents. Even experienced biologists have trouble identifying fish from a hybridized population. Small hybrid sunfish are a nuisance in many lakes, but some hybrids are often superior to the parent fish. For example, Redear Sunfish, when crossed with Green Sunfish, produce a fast-growing, hardfighting hybrid.
Sunfish can adapt to almost any type of water in Kansas. They live in small ponds, natural lakes, reservoirs, small streams and rivers. Some species of Sunfish produce so many young that they overpopulate a lake or pond. An individual spawning bed may contain as many as 200,000 fry. If a high percentage of young fish survive, they deplete their food supply, resulting in a population of stunted fish. Overpopulated lakes seldom produce keeper Sunfish. The largest fish usually come from lakes with relatively low numbers of Sunfish.