Mutton Snapper

The mutton snapper is a fish of the Lutjanidae family. Largely a Caribbean species, they can be found from North Carolina to South America. They prefer low-relief reef structure searching for fishes, shrimps, crabs, squid, and snails. In the Florida Keys, they may be encountered in shallow water, over coralline bottom. In that habitat, they are very colorful with olive-tinted backs and red sides. In deeper water, they can easily be mistaken for red snapper (L. campechanus). Also a favorite of spear fishermen, the mutton snapper is an often difficult target, as they do not allow close approach.

Mutton snapper are a highly prized fish by saltwater anglers; they can be caught on a variety of baits, but are most commonly caught on live or frozen shrimp, whole or cut squid, minnows, and smaller bait fish (such as live or dead pinfish). Mutton snapper have been caught on artificial baits, but seem to prefer live bait. They can generally be found in deeper (50 to 200 ft or deeper) water, although catches (generally of juveniles and smaller fish) are not uncommon in more shallow water. They are also caught on the surface during night-fishing expeditions. Mutton snapper are typically known as great fighters relative to other snapper species, so are harder to land on lighter tackle. Many are often landed as a "bycatch" of anglers targeting other species of snapper or grouper.

Mutton snapper, especially adults, tend to be solitary, but can be seen in smaller schools. Their flesh is considered by most as excellent table fare. Like most of the snapper family, the meat is white, flaky and light; and is excellent prepared in a variety of ways.


  • Color olive green on back and upper sides
  • All fins below the lateral line having reddish tinge
  • Bright blue line below eye, following contour of operculum
  • Anal fin pointed
  • Small black spot below dorsal fin
  • V-shaped tooth patch on roof of the mouth

Mutton snapper are similar in appearance to lane snapper, L. synagris.  Mutton snapper's anal fin is pointed whereas it is rounded in the lane snapper.

Mutton snapper are an inshore species associated with grassbeds, mangroves, and canals.  Larger adults are  occasionally found on offshore reefs.

These snapper spawn in July and August.  Mutton snapper feed on fish, crustaceans, and snails.

Species Information

Scientific Name:Lutjanus analis
Environment:Inshore, Nearshore
Ideal Temp:60-70°F (15-21°C)
Technique:Bottom Fishing, Jigging
Lure Type:Bottom Rig, Jigs
World Record:30.4 lbs. near Dry Tortugas
Other Names:mutton snapper, mutton fish, king snapper, virgin snapper, ariocó, , caranho, caranho-vermelho, cioba, sioba, vermelho-de-fundo, carde clair, oreille noire, sorbe, vivaneau sorbe, lucjan muton

Latest Mutton Snapper Fishing Reports and Spots

mutton snapper fishing - 11/22/2013 8:05:02 AM

Offshore Tips There is really no casting for muttons offshore – you will be strictly bottom fishing or deep jigging. The trick for being success (View)

Cooler Waters Makes Shallows Better - 1/26/2021 2:51:05 AM

January 24th 2021 – Cooler waters are making the shallows better for fishing. The past few days have been super pretty. Light winds and 70 degre (View)

Snapper and Grouper Fishing Fort Lauderdale - 1/15/2021 5:36:25 PM

Snapper Grouper Fishing Fort Lauderdale   For the last couple of weeks the current has slowed down the moon was right and the bottom fishing of (View)

A Good Bite to End 2020 - 1/8/2021 1:41:05 PM

Mutton snapper for Lee (View)

Mutton Snapper and King - 1/8/2021 1:41:03 PM


Put Some Meat In The Box Reef Fishing - 12/13/2020 9:12:28 AM

December 13 2020 – Early December has started off with some great weather with cooler temps and a back to normal feel here in Key West getting o (View)

12 Hour Trip Saturday December 12th 2020 - 12/17/2020 8:37:29 PM

On Saturday December 12th 2020 we ran a 12 hour trip out of Jacksonville. We had a total of 56 triggerfish around a dozen vermilion snapper a f (View)

Storm after storm we're finally back to fishing! - 10/13/2020 7:41:04 AM

The last 2 weeks have been really windy and rainy from either big systems or a really wet Tropical Storm. The couple weeks prior the bite was p (View)

Grouper Season Opened May 1st 2020 - 11/8/2020 12:01:29 AM

On May 2nd 2020 we brought grouper season in with a bang The boys went to work and landed 5 scamp grouper a couple mutton snapper some jacks an (View)

September 5th 2020 - 11/8/2020 12:01:17 AM

The fishing in Jacksonville is pretty hot right now whether you choose a short day trolling for king mackerel barracuda occasional sailfish cob (View)