Sunfish are considered a warm-water species, and are usually found in lakes, ponds and large rivers.
"You don't find them much in fast-flowing waters, but you can find them just about anywhere else. You'll even find them in the pools of fairly swift rivers like the New and the Greenbrier. Primarily, though, they're a lake or pond species," Scott explained.
Regardless where they're found, they're seldom difficult to catch.
"They're a great beginner's fish," Scott said. "Probably everyone's first fish was a sunfish. My first one was bluegill, caught from a pond. A great way to introduce a kid to fishing is to get some waxworms or mealworms for bait, put a bobber on the line, take the kid to a pond and let them catch some sunfish."
Earthworms, grasshoppers and crickets are also popular sunfish baits. Anglers who prefer artificial lures lean toward soft-hackled wet flies, foam spiders and small rubber-legged popping bugs.
Scott said fly anglers can catch a lot of sunfish in a very short time, especially in late May and early June when most sunfish species tend to spawn.
"The prime time to hit them is while they're on their nests," he said. "You don't have to be a great caster, either. Just flop a fly out there and you'll get some."
DNR officials award Trophy Fish Citations for sunfish that measure 10 inches or more or weigh more than 1 pound. Scott said two bodies of water consistently produce bragging-sized specimens.
"[Fayette County's] Plum Orchard Lake has some big ones, and so does [Greenbrier County's] Lake Sherwood," he said. "But there are big ones just about everywhere; you just have to find them."
Reach John McCoy at 304-348-1231 or johnmc...@wvgazette.com.