Engbretson Underwater Photography

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News From Behind the Scenes at Engbretson Underwater Photo and Stories about the Freshwater Environments We Visit.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Prettiest Freshwater Fish

Pumpkinseed Sunfish by Engbretson Underwater

"A very beautiful and compact little fish, perfect in all its parts, looking like a brilliant coin fresh from the mint." - David Jordan and Barton Evermann-American Food and Game Fishes, 1905.

One of the most colorful of our common freshwater fish is the​ Pumpkinseed Sunfish. Like other sunfish, I think the most striking photographs of pumpkinseed are images of male fish photographed in the spring when they display their vibrant spawning coloration.  They look like jeweled treasures. However, pumpkinseeds retain much of their brilliant hues all year as evidenced by this photo I took in mid September. 

One of the most interesting things about Pumpkinseeds is the strong instinct they have for a home range. Pumpkinseeds have a remarkable ability to find their way back to a familiar location. In fisheries studies, pumpkinseeds that have been captured, marked, and then released in another part of the same lake, are often recaptured near the location where they were first caught.

As fall began I was able to take pictures of several gorgeous Pumpkinseeds staging in deep water along well defined weed-lines in a northern Michigan lake. Aren't they magnificent little fish?  You can view all of my newest underwater pumpkinseed images in our ​Pumpkinseed Sunfish Gallery here.