Two centrarchids, Lepomis megalotis and L. macrochirus, were compared in laboratory studies of prey capture success, swimming endurance, morphology, hydrodynamic drag, and thermal tolerance, as well as field observations of focal point velocity and depth. For both species, capture of planktonic prey declined as current velocity increased, but L. megalotis was more efficient than L. macrochirus at higher current velocities. Capture of floating prey was not influenced by current velocity, but L. megalotis was more efficient overall at all velocities. Of the two species, L. megalotis was significantly more streamlined, had relatively lower hydrodynamic drag, and had higher swimming endurance in current. Both species had significantly higher critical thermal maxima (CTMax) in summer than in winter, but variance in CTMax was greater for L. megalotis than for L. macrochirus in both summer and winter. Differences between L. megalotis and L. macrochirus in performance and morphology may have direct influence on their relative abundances in small streams. Field observations showed L. megalotis was more common than L. macrochirus in faster, shallower microhabitats.