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Great day on the ice + ID help?


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I live in St Paul and have spent time over the past several winters exploring little, overlooked waters in the TC metro. If you're willing to walk a long way and fish places no one else tries, there are good fish to be found.

Yesterday, I found a great afternoon bite on a little metro pond. I released all the big sunfish and kept a limit of 7"ers. The biggest one was (optimistically) close to 10", but maybe (realistically) closer to 9". I need to add some fresh lines to the tape on my ice scoop.

After 4 or 5 fish on a waxie, I decided to use the active bite to build confidence in artificials. I caught most of my fish on plastics, but I played around with bigger baits as you can see from the last pic. full-34532-27971-photo3.jpg



So, now I need help. The top 2 are obvious bluegills. The bottom one had me stumped. It had a large mouth which made me think green sunfish or green/bluegill hybrid, but no orange on the fins or turquoise wormy markings. This was the only pic I took before releasing, so it's all the evidence I have. What are we looking at?

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I know the usual suspects will chime with 100% confidence that it is a Lepomis xyz x Lepomis xzz cross because of color (the worst thing to go from), but your best bet is to examine gill rakers and other morphological differences or do genetic testing (ridiculous but really the only foolproof way). Phenotypically, it's a bluegill - green sunfish cross. From the description of the waters you fished, that would fit the profile best as well. One of the other things to remember with all these crosses is probability. Crosses are the exception, not the rule, and some species are just really hard to find comparatively speaking (orange-spots, warmouth,...pumpkinseeds to a lesser extent, etc.) The waters you describe (small metro ponds, water retention sites) are best suited to bluegills and green sunfish.

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I'll trust you guys. The greens and green/blue hybrids I am used to are much more brilliantly-colored, but this is a new waterbody for me. Maybe the forage or water clarity just makes for a different color range than I'm used to seeing.

I appreciate the input!

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