Lakes & Reservoirs

There are so many different lakes and reservoirs that are home to a variety of sunfish.  You can catch these fish a number of different ways.  Take a look at some of the spots you should be targeting while fishing for sunfish on lakes and reservoirs.


Bridges offer good structure for sunfish.  Most bridges will have some rock in the water, which attracts baitfish and plenty of sunfish.  The bridges that have access to shallow and deep water with some other type of cover will hold a lot more fish.  Add some weeds, timber and brush or submerged brush piles and there’s a good chance that you will find bass, rock bass, crappie, bluegill and pumpkinseed all in a similar area.

Docks are usually loaded with sunfish.  The nice thing about docks is that sunfish will hold tight to the wood or in the shade just below off the side of the dock.  This gives anglers a huge advantage because it is easy to pinpoint their location.  With some accurate casting, you can catch hundreds of bluegill, pumpkinseed, rock bass and crappie along the docks.  Bass will also hold tight to the docks as well.


Weeds will always hold a variety of different types of sunfish.  Bluegill, pumpkinseed, rock bass and many other types of sunfish can be found around the weeds from spring through fall.  The shallow weeds will hold more fish during the spring as water temperatures warm.  During the summer months, the deep weed edges will hold more quality fish, while the shallow weeds will hold lots of smaller fish.  During the fall, you can find sunfish scattered throughout the shallow and deep weeds.


Timber and brush will hold sunfish throughout the year.  While the bigger trees and laydowns are more popular for bass, you will find many other species of sunfish right there with them.  Bluegill, pumpkinseed and other types of sunfish will all be found in the timber and brush.  Most timber and brush is located in shallower water from 2 to 6 feet.  This shallow water cover provides some excellent fishing for sunfish during the spring and fall.  Most of the bigger fish will move out of the shallow timber to find cooler temperatures in deeper water during the summer.  The deep water brush piles will hold good numbers of sunfish during the summer.

Rocks & Boulders

Rocks and boulders will always hold some fish.  Bait fish will use the rocks and boulders as cover to hide and you can usually find plenty of sunfish right there with them.  Some of the bigger sunfish will target crayfish in these rocky areas, especially in the shallower areas during the early mornings, late evenings and at night.

Sunfish will always be found on the shallow flats from the spring through fall.  The spring will hold the greatest numbers of sunfish on the flats and this is when you will find the biggest fish in shallow.  During the summer, some sunfish will be found on the shallow flats, especially if there is some type of cover such as rocks, weeds, timber, etc.  Most of these fish are going to be much smaller than the fish you will catch in deeper water during the summer.  In the fall, good numbers of sunfish move back into the shallows, but you can also catch them out deep as well.  If you prefer fishing shallower, the shallow flats will hold some bigger sunfish during the fall compared to the summer.  Find the weeds and you’ll catch more quality fish.


Fishing on the drop-offs is one of the ways to consistently catch bigger sunfish during the summer months.  Good numbers of bigger fish such as bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, rock bass and crappie are going to be found deeper during the summer.  The drop-offs are great because they offer easy access into shallow and deep water.  Sunfish will often move into the shallower water to find an easy meal, then move back into the deeper, cooler water where they are more comfortable.  Find a drop-off with some type of rock, weeds or brush piles and you’ll find more fish.

Open Water

Catching sunfish in open water isn’t that difficult if you can find the fish.  Once you find the schools of sunfish, you just need to have enough weight on your line to get down to 10 feet of water or more.  Some fish will be suspended in water as deep as 30 feet of water.  Slip bobbers work extremely well because they allow you to get your bait to the correct depth.

Vertical jigging with jigs and jigs tipped with live bait will produce some good results.  Other anglers prefer drifting in open water with live bait or jigs.  Drifting can be a good way to find active schools of sunfish.  Once you find them, drop anchor and keep your baits right above them.