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Species Information

Scientific Name:Lepomis macrochirus
Environment:Lake, River, Stream
Ideal Temp:60-80°F (16-27°C)
Technique:Casting, Fly
Lure Type:Crankbaits, Flies, Spinnerbaits
World Record:2.15 kg (4 lb 12 oz) Ketona Lake, Alabama , USA
Other Names:bluegill, bluegill bream, blue bream, sun perch, blue sunfish

The bluegill or bluegulli occurs naturally in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains from coastal Virginia to Florida, west to Texas and northern Mexico, and north from western Minnesota to western New York. Today they have been transported most everywhere else in North America, and have also been introduced into Europe, South Africa, Asia, South America, and Oceania. Bluegill have also been found in the Chesapeake Bay, indicating they can tolerate up to 1.8% salinity.

The bluegill is noted for the darkened spot that it has on the posterior edge of the gills and base of the dorsal fin. The sides of its head and chin are a dark shade of blue. It usually contains 5-9 vertical bars on the sides of its body, but these stripes are not always distinct. It has a yellowish breast and abdomen, with the breast of the breeding male being a bright orange.The bluegill has three anal spines, ten to 12 anal fin rays, six to 13 dorsal fin spines, 11 to 12 dorsal rays, and 12 to 13 pectoral rays. They are characterized by their deep, flattened, laterally compressed bodies. They have a terminal mouth, ctenoid scales, and a lateral line that is arched upward anteriorly. The bluegill typically ranges in size from four to 12 inches.

Bluegill live in the shallow waters of many lakes and ponds, along with slow-moving areas of streams and small rivers. They prefer water with many aquatic plants, and hide within fallen logs or water weeds. They can often be found around weed beds, where they search for food or spawn. Bluegill tend to be absent in northern Minnesota lakes, as the water gets too cold. In the summer, adults move to deeper water to avoid food competition. Bluegill try to spend most of their time in water from 60 to 80 °F (16 to 27 °C), and tend to have a home range of about 320 square feet (30 m2) during nonreproductive months. They enjoy heat, but do not like direct sunlight - they typically live in deeper water, but will linger near the water surface in the morning to stay warm. Bluegill are usually found in schools of 10 to 20 fish, and these schools will often include other sunfish, such as crappie, pumpkinseeds, and smallmouth bass.

Young bluegills' diet consists of rotifers and water fleas. The adult diet consists of aquatic insect larvae (mayflies, caddisflies, dragonflies), but can also include crayfish, leeches, snails, and other small fish. Their diet can also include the waxworm and nightcrawler that can be provided for them by anglers. If food is scarce, bluegill will also feed on aquatic vegetation, and if scarce enough, will even feed on their own eggs or offspring. As bluegill spend a great deal of time near the surface of water, they can also feed on popping bugs and dry flies. Most bluegills feed during daylight hours, with a feeding peak being observed in the morning and evening (with the major peak occurring in the evening). Feeding location tends to be a balance between food abundance and predator abundance. Bluegill use gill rakers and bands of small teeth to ingest their food. During summer months, bluegills generally consume 35 percent of their body weight each week. To capture prey, bluegills use a suction system in which they accelerate a water into their mouth. Prey comes in with this water. Only a limited amount of water is able to be suctioned, so the fish must get within 1.75 centimeters of the prey.

Bluegills are popular panfish, caught with live bait, flies, pieces of corn, small crankbaits, spinners, American cheese pushed around a hook, maggots, small frogs, or even a bare hook. They mostly bite on vibrant colors like orange, yellow, green, or red, chiefly at dawn and dusk. Some of the easiest baits to use for them are earthworms, live crickets and grasshoppers, white bread, cheese, or a corn kernel. Other efficient baits are redworms, waxworms, and other worms. They are noted for seeking out underwater vegetation for cover; their natural diet consists largely of small invertebrates and very small fish. The bluegill itself is also occasionally used as bait for larger game fish species, such as blue catfish, flathead catfish and largemouth bass.

Latest Bluegill Fishing Reports and Spots

Smith Mountain Lake August Fishing Report - Timing and bite windows bait size and covering water - 8/3/2023 6:44:28 PM

August is one of my favorite times to fish out here. That might seem against the grain since most fishing handbooks tell you summer time fishin (View)

Fishing Report weekly updates 7/30/2023 - 7/30/2023 2:02:07 PM

Good morning from a bass pond near Wamic Oregon. We took the weekend off from trout and joined our friends at their orchard near Mt Hood and we (View)

BlueGills On Fly - 7/24/2023 8:05:00 AM

Summer light fly rods and hangry bluegills is some all American goodness. Throw in a pulled pork sammich and some unsweet tea and that’s A level (View)

Smith Mountain Lake July Fishing Report - Big schools bluegill eaters and night time brush pile fishing - 7/5/2023 9:04:40 PM

July bring on the heat baby!!!!! We have had one strange spring but we are finally getting some super hot days (heat index over 100) and that i (View)

June 10 Fishing Report - 6/10/2023 8:42:00 PM

On Cape Cod June can be an awesome time for shore and boat anglers alike in both fresh and saltwater. We have LOTS of reports from many differe (View)

May 5th Guntersville fishing report - 5/5/2023 9:46:50 AM

Shellcracker season is here!!! It only lasts a few weeks and this is the most fun fishing trip there is. I caught 200 big bluegill and shellcr (View)

Good Catches Fresh and Salt - 3/31/2023 5:49:25 PM

As expected area freshwater fishing remains solid into the spring season.  Cane pole and light tackle fans have indicated that bluegill have re (View)

maumee river report- march 27 2023 - 3/27/2023 5:28:12 AM

SUNRISE/ FIRST CAST-7:26  SUNSET/ LAST CAST-7:54 pm WEIGHT:  1 Oz and heavier BLUEGRASS ISLAND: Do not cross  All the bait and tackle you need (View)

Bluegill season is in full swing! - 5/29/2021 11:08:37 AM

Its been a while since my last update. We have seen the Crappie spawn come and go and now I am hearing that there are some decent... (View)

Smith Mountain Lake June Fishing Report - Topwater or bottom baits? You choose - 6/21/2021 11:18:46 AM

The weather is out of this world nice right now in south west Virginia. Lows in the 50-60’s each morning and highs in the mid 80’s is keeping t (View)