Fish absent from Iowa for 80 years discovered

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The unexpected discovery of a sunfish near Muscatine not seen in Iowa in more than 80 years has fish experts perplexed and excited.

Last month while collecting fish for an educational program, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources fisheries technician netted what appears to be the first longear sunfish identified in Iowa waters since 1932. It was taken from a pond at the Fairport Fish Hatchery along the Mississippi River. On Wednesday, two more suspected longear sunfish were found in a hatchery pond.

Fish experts say anytime an uncommon species is documented it’s exciting.

DNA tests will confirm the species. The longear sunfish grows to 7 inches long, weighs up to 4½ ounces and is considered one of the most beautiful freshwater fish species by some fish experts.

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