The Pumpkinseed is a Panfish species closely related to the Redear Sunfish. Its brilliant coloration alone makes it a favorite of many fishermen, but it also yields tasty fillets that rival Bluegills.
What sets the Pumpkinseed fish apart from the Bluegill, which is a similar size, is its ability to eat snails, the intermediate hosts of several fish parasites. Redear Sunfish have traditionally been stocked for this purpose, but the Wisconsin DNR does not allow Redear stockings, and severe winters in the upper Midwest may kill them. They may take pellets if natural food is short, but the natural food will always be their preference.
Pumpkinseeds are native to all of Wisconsin and most of Illinois, making them a terrific choice for snail control. Bear in mind, however, that Bluegill must also be present to focus the Pumpkinseed’s foraging habits predominantly onto the snails. Therefore, when stocking a new pond, we recommend about 100 Pumpkinseeds and 200 Bluegill per surface acre. When stocking a pond already established with Bluegill, we recommend 100-500 Pumpkinseeds, though the amount depends on many factors. Contact Keystone Hatcheries for advice.