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Mutton Snapper

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
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.

Latest Mutton Snapper Fishing Reports and Spots

Mutton Snapper - 5/26/2023 3:59:15 PM

Mutton snapper typically spawn on the reefs around Key West the month of May which makes them very active The Mutton Snapper scientifically kno (View)

Spring Monsters! - 5/23/2023 9:02:34 AM

The spring fishing has improved lately with catches of kingfish Mutton Snapper and a trophy African Pompano. Join us for a trip on the Lady K! (View)

Key Largo Offshore Fishing – Mutton Snapper! - 4/18/2023 12:35:05 PM

Mutton Snapper fishing here in Key Largo! One of my favorite types of fishing here in the Florida Keys. These fish fight hard taste great are b (View)

Reef Slam - 3/25/2023 10:01:01 PM

Reef Slam- Our anglers from Destin Florida enjoyed a beautiful day on the Atlantic ocean today. and as for the fishing….it was FIRE! young angl (View)

Unbelievable Fishing in Key Largo! - 3/6/2023 5:11:30 PM

Fishing here in Key Largo was amazing!  We pretty much had limits 1/2 way through the fishing trip. Mangrove Snappers were chewing the paint of (View)

King Mackerel and Mutton Snapper Lady K and a Perfect Day - 3/2/2023 5:04:40 AM

Join us for 4 hours aboard the Lady K!  (561)588-7612 The post King Mackerel and Mutton Snapper Lady K and a Perfect Day appeared first on Bar (View)

February 25th 2023 – 12hr Split Trip - 2/26/2023 9:51:38 AM

The split trips have been paying off in spades. Capt. Anthony has been putting the smackdown on the Mutton Snapper vermilion snapper triggerfis (View)

Fish Box This Week - 2/23/2023 5:19:19 AM

It’ time for Cobia to show up on the reef edges along Lantana! Along with a nice King Mackerel and Mutton Snapper any reasonable fisherman woul (View)

Back to the basics February 8 2023 - 2/8/2023 7:49:00 AM

Arman was back in the skiff today with his brother Aria and the goal was to just catch fish for dinner.  This is a change of pace for me since (View)

My how things have changed! January 25 2023 - 1/25/2023 9:51:00 AM

It's incredible to me how the inshore fishery in Biscayne Bay has changed.  In past January's I'd be cast netting bait and primarily fishing fo (View)