The result of setting minnow traps recently in southern Illinois yielded some cool creatures, including these fine fish. Younger examples, like this one, can sometimes have a purplish sheen to their sides.
A type of sunfish, Warmouth usually range in size from 4 to 10 inches, but can grow to over 12 inches in length and weigh up to 2-1/4 pounds. They prefer to hide around aquatic vegetation, stumps and snags, and under the banks of streams and ponds.
This highly aggressive and hardy fish can live in polluted waters (such as the junk=strewn environment shown in the first photo where I caught mine), with low oxygen levels where other species of sunfish cannot survive.
The primary diet of the Warmouth consists of insects, crayfish and other fish. It has a huge mouth and will attempt to eat just about anything that comes near it.
Other local names for this fish are Molly, Redeye, Goggle-eye, Red-eyed bream and Strawberry Perch. This was my first encounter with this tough fish and I was glad to finally experience one in the wild.