Also known as
Warming´s lanternfish, warmouth bass, warmouth perch, goggle-eye, redeye and goggle-eyed perchBack to Top
What they look like
Lepomis, the generic name, is Greek and means "scaled gill cover". The species label gulosus is Latin and means “gluttonous”. Warmouth gets its common name from the stripes around the mouth of the fish bearing a resemblance to war paint.
Warmouth have a dark brown or dark olive back, yellow-brown or olive sides, with a tan or yellow belly. Its sides have faint dark blotches or mottling, irregular light spots, and/or diffuse dark vertical bars. Three to five reddish-brown lines radiate backwards from the its reddish eye. The gill cover has a black spot with a light margin. Their dorsal, caudal, and to a lesser extent anal fins have dark mottling and/or dark spots and the pelvic and pectoral fins are lightly pigmented to dark in color. The dorsal fin has 2 lobes, broadly joined by a membrane and appearing as one fin, the first with about 10 spines and the second with 9-10 soft rays. Warmouth body is laterally compressed and deep, slightly elongated with a slightly forked and rounded tail. It has a large mouth with pads of small teeth.
Breeding adults are similar to non-breeders, but with more intense colors. Juveniles are similar to adults.
Rock bass, warmouth and green sunfish all look very similar to each other. To tell them apart, remember that the rock bass has five (or more) spines in its anal fin, while the warmouth and green sunfish have only three. The warmouth has a small band of teeth near the tip of its tongue, and fewer than 45 scales in the lateral line. The green sunfish has no teeth near the tip of the tongue, has more than 45 scales in the lateral line, and has a dark spot at the base of the last three soft dorsal rays. Both rock bass and warmouth have reddish eyes, especially noticeable in freshly caught rock bass.Back to Top
Where they live
Warmouths inhabit swamps, marshes, shallow lakes, slow-moving streams and canals with soft, muddy bottoms. They prefer to stay around aquatic vegetation, stumps, and snags and under the banks of streams and ponds where they can hide and wait for food. They have more tolerance for muddy water than most species. They may also occur in turbid waters with little or no vegetation.
They are currently found in Silver Lake in Cowlitz County, plus a dozen or so other smaller lakes in Cowlitz, Lewis and Thurston counties. The first known stocking in the Evergreen State was into Loon Lake in Stevens County in 1892. During this same period, separate releases were made in the Boise River (Idaho) and with mixed plantings in the Willamette River.Back to Top
What they eat
Warmouths are carnivorous. Young warmouth feed on zooplankton and small insects. Adults feed on crayfish, mollusks, shrimp, insects and small fish. Most of its feeding is done in the morning, as it seems to rest at night.Back to Top
Warmouth range in size from 4 to 10 inches, but can grow to more than 12 inches, and weigh up to 2.25 pounds. They are capable of living up to eight years.Back to Top
Warmouth reach sexual maturity at 3 to 4 inches, and spawn in the spring, when water temperatures reach 70° F, and continuing through the summer. Warmouths are solitary nesters and males construct a disc-shaped nest by fanning their tails and removing silt and debris over nesting site. Nests are made in 1.5 to 4 feet of water near a stump, clump of vegetation or other large, submerged object. Females produce 4,000 to 63,000 eggs during spawning season. After the female lays her eggs, the male fertilizes the eggs and aggressively defends the nest, eggs and fry from any intruder including other females. After an incubation period of three days, the young hatch. The fry leave the nest five to six days after hatching and grow to 1 to 2 inches by the fall. Warmouth hybridize (crossbreed) with bluegill and green sunfish.Back to Top
8.48 oz. caught in Silver Lake, Cowlitz County by angler Linda Hatlelid on May 27, 1996