Dianne Timmins: 603-271-2501
John Magee: 603-271-2501
May 19, 2023

Especially as juveniles, many sunfish species look very similar. The telltale sign that you have hooked a green sunfish is that the maxilla (jaw) extends to nearly the middle of the eye.

Concord, NH – New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHFG) fisheries biologists have confirmed the presence of non-native, invasive green sunfish in the Piscataquog River downstream from the Weare Reservoir, also known as Horace Lake, and at Waukewan Lake. In 2022, biologists at the NH Department of Environmental Services discovered three specimens in the Little Sugar River in Charlestown. Green sunfish are a concern because they compete for habitat and food resources with the state’s native sunfish.

Green sunfish are members of the sunfish family, as are their native relatives the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, redbreast sunfish, and pumpkinseed among others. They can be found in a variety of habitats including lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, and tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions. The native range of green sunfish includes much of the central United States east of the Rocky Mountains, including the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basin. Their large mouth enables them to consume a wider variety of prey than native pumpkinseed or redbreast sunfish, and this advantage may allow them to outcompete native species for food. They are now found in all 48 contiguous states.

Green sunfish are a popular aquarium fish often kept by hobbyists. This is likely the reason they have made their way into Granite State waters. Help us protect New Hampshire’s natural resources by not releasing any aquarium fish into the natural environment—it’s illegal and a threat to a variety of native wildlife.

Also, if you suspect you have caught a green sunfish, do not release it. Humanely terminate the fish, being careful to preserve its coloration and identifying characteristics. Take a clear photo, record the location, and email your findings to

To learn more about identifying green sunfish visit
Lepomis_cyanellus.pdf (