Bluegill occur naturally from Minnesota east to Lake Champlain and south
to Florida and Texas. They have been widely introduced into Oregon.
Bluegills, like bass, are members of the Centrarchidae Family.
Bluegills are olive green in color with a gold or orangeish belly.
They have a
dark blotch which appears on the posterial portion of the dorsal fin.
They lack crimson coloration along the edge of the opercular flap;
instead they have a uniform blue-black marking, hence the name "blue
Bluegill feed on minute plant and animal organisms, insects, insect larvae, and small fish. Bluegill do not readily accept artificial food; production is limited to their natural environment. Bluegill typically reach 5-6 oz in weight and 6" in length. Bluegill can grow up to 10-12". The average life expantancy of bluegill is around five to six years, but some have been found that were up to 11 years in age.
Bluegills prefer heavily vegetated areas affording plenty of cover in
ponds that are fertile, non-turbid, and have a stable water level.
Bluegill spawn later than bass, waiting until the water temperature
reaches 75 F.
Spawning occurs throughout the summer.
The male prepares the nest or redd in sandy or silty areas.
Eggs are deposited by the female; the male guards the eggs and resulting
appear as light, circular areas on the pond bottom in shallow areas.
Many nests may be established in a small area.
Oftentimes a cloud of silt is dispersed above the redds as the spawning
fish flee from perceived threats.
Bluegills are rapid growers when provided warm-water, adequate food
supply and cover.
They will spawn as yearlings and can easily overpopulate a pond.
When overpopulation occurs, bluegill will eat bass eggs and fry and
An overpopulated pond is characterized by uniformly sized bluegill
If overpopulation becomes a problem, intervention can include destruction
of redds, more intensive fishing and trapping fish.
Special Considerations: In the absence of predators, bluegill will reproduce to the point of severe stunting. When fishing, it is recommended that you do not release any bluegill regardless of size. Bluegill must be fished out of the pond at the same rate they were stocked (generally 3-5 bluegill for every bass caught).