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Panfish, Perch & Sunfish Fishing In Arkansas

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Guide to fishing for sunfish in AR lakes and ponds.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Panfish fishing in Colorado

Arkansas offers fantastic panfish fishing opportunities, making it an ideal destination for anglers, especially young ones, looking to enjoy a day on the water. Panfish, such as sunfish and perch, are abundant in Arkansas's lakes, ponds, and rivers, providing exciting and accessible fishing experiences for youth anglers. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about panfish fishing and identify popular sunfish fishing waters in the state.

Bluegill Fishing Basics Video

The core principles shown in this video will work for most sunfish, perch and other panfish.

Sunfish, including bluegill and redear sunfish, are among the most popular panfish species in Arkansas. Bluegill, with their vibrant colors and feisty nature, are prevalent in many bodies of water across the state. They readily bite on various baits, such as worms, crickets, or small jigs. Bluegill are known for their aggressive strikes, making them an exciting catch for young anglers.

Redear sunfish, also known as shellcrackers or "bream," are another sought-after species in Arkansas. They can be found in lakes, ponds, and rivers, and are known for their delicious meat. Redear sunfish often require slightly different tactics compared to bluegill, as they tend to feed on snails and other bottom-dwelling creatures. Anglers targeting redear sunfish often use smaller baits and fish closer to the lake bottom.

Perch, or yellow perch, are also present in some Arkansas waters, particularly in the northern part of the state. While not as abundant as sunfish, perch can be found in certain lakes and reservoirs. They are known for their beautiful markings and tasty flesh. Anglers can target perch using small jigs, spinners, or live bait such as worms or minnows.

Panfish fishing in Arkansas provides a great opportunity for youth anglers to learn the basics of fishing and develop their skills. The relatively small size of these fish makes them perfect for kids to handle and reel in. Additionally, the action can be fast-paced, keeping young anglers engaged and excited throughout the day.

Arkansas's commitment to youth fishing is evident in the numerous stocked ponds and lakes designated specifically for youth fishing. These locations often provide fishing piers, easy access, and a safe environment for young anglers to learn and enjoy the sport. Programs like the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's "Family and Community Fishing Program" promote youth fishing events and workshops throughout the state.

With its abundance of sunfish, perch, and youth-friendly fishing locations, Arkansas offers an ideal environment for young anglers to develop their fishing skills, foster a love for the outdoors, and create lasting memories with family and friends. Panfish fishing in Arkansas provides a gateway to the world of angling for youth anglers, sparking their interest and paving the way for a lifelong passion for fishing.

Throughout the state you can find waters with sunfish, including bluegill, flier sunfish, green sunfish, longear sunfish, redear sunfish, rock bass, tilapia, warmouth, white bass, yellow bass and yellow perch.

Panfish & Perch Lakes

All lakes as well as rivers and streams in Arkansas have one or more species of panfish. The larger lakes like Beaver Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, DeGray Lake, Greers Ferry Lake, Lake Chicot, Lake Conway, Lake Dardanelle, Lake Greeson, Lake Hamilton, Lake Jack Lee, Lake Maumelle, Lake Millwood, Lake Ouachita, Nimrod Lake, Norfork Lake and White Oak Lake tend to have quality populations of panfish with little fishing pressure.

Top Producing Panfish Lures & Bait

Check out the top producing lures and bait for bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass and warmouth, as well as other smaller sunfish. Click here for the best lures for white bass, yellow bass, white perch and yellow perch.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Arkansas

In-state panfish, sunfish and perch



World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 4 oz

Flier Sunfish

Flier sunfish

World record: 1 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 0 lbs 14 oz

Green Sunfish

Green sunfish

World record: 2.2 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 11 oz

Longear Sunfish

Longear sunfish

World record: 1.75 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 2 oz

Redear Sunfish

Redear sunfish

World record: 5.4 lbs

State Record: 2 lbs 14 oz

Rock Bass

Rock bass

World record: 3.0 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 8 oz



World record: 4.4 lbs

State Record: 3 lbs 14 oz



World record: 2.4 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 8 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

State Record: 5 lbs 6 oz

Yellow Bass

Yellow bass

World record: 2 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 2 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 1.24 lbs

Click the images and links above for species details.

Arkansas State Record Sunfish

The state record bluegill was caught from an unknown pond.

The state record flier sunfish came from the Saline River.

The state record green sunfish came from a pond in Dierks.

The state record longear sunfish came from Table Rock Lake.

The state record redear sunfish came out of Lake Bois dArc.

The state record rock bass was caught in Norfork Lake.

The state record tilapia came out of a private pond.

The state record warmouth came out of Black Dog Bayou.

The state record white bass came from the Mississippi River.

The state record yellow bass was served up by Gillham Lake.

The state record yellow perch was caught from Bull Shoals Lake.

The term "panfish" comprises many species, each called by a variety of names. The bluegill tops the list and is the most common.


One or more species of sunfish populate virtually all warm water streams, ponds and lakes throughout Arkansas, and around the world for that matter. They can survive in waters that provide their natural food source of minnows, insects, crustaceans and worms. Their competitive nature amongst themselves, for food, makes them relatively easy to catch.

Panfish are prolific spawners and repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested. A common problem with panfish fishing is that the waters are under-fished causing panfish to overpopulate. As a result they tend to stay small in size due to lack of food source.


Sunfish information in other states.

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