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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Pumpkinseed - Lepomis gibbosus

Non-native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNA

Agency Status


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General Description
The pumpkinseed is Montana's most widespread small sunfish, but like the others it has been introduced. Pumpkinseeds were first found here in 1910 in sloughs near Kalispell and now are found nearly statewide except for southwestern Montana. Pumpkinseeds are beautiful little fish, and in their preferred habitat of clear ponds with abundant aquatic vegetation they can grow up to 1 pound and provide some fun fishing. However, most populations are stunted. The pumpkinseed is another example of a fish which has become widespread through illegal introduction.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Gill rakers short and stubby.

Species Range
Montana Range


Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 675

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Ponds, small lakes, some large lakes, and slow streams. Prefers quite, clear water with an abundance of aquatic vegetation submerged brush.

Food Habits
Mostly snails and aquatic insects; but almost any organism of suitable size is eaten on occasion.

May cross with bluegill and green sunfish but no hybrids reported in Montana.

Reproductive Characteristics
Sexually mature in 2-3 years. Spawns late spring-early summer.

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Citation for data on this website:
Pumpkinseed — Lepomis gibbosus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from