Bluegill Information, Photos, and Facts

Bluegill fishing is very popular because the fish bite year round and fishing for bluegill with young children can be an excellent way of getting kids hooked on the sport.

The Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) is a species of freshwater fish and one of the most common in North America. American Expedition is proud to present information, interesting facts, and photos of bluegill.

Bluegill facts, information, photos, habitat, and fishing tips from American Expedition


Bluegill Information

The bluegill is small freshwater fish normally measuring around 6 inches, but can get up to 12 inches. These fish typically weigh less than a pound. The fish’s body is dark green in color and oval shaped with dark bars running vertically down their sides. Behind their eyes is a black ear flap. The belly of a female bluegill is yellow, while the belly of a breeding male is a rusty red color. The bluegill has two dorsal fins and a small mouth. The body of the bluegill is very condensed.

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Spawning season begins in late May and doesn’t end until August. The male bluegills first arrive at the mating site and the make a spawning bed in shallow water. As a female bluegill approaches the nest, the male will circle around and make grunting noises. The females are more attracted to the larger male fish. After the female bluegill chooses her mate, she joins him in the nest and they both circle each other. If the female still decides to stay, they settle in the middle of the nest and the pair touch bellies and spawn. After the female drops the eggs, the male chases her out of the nest and guards the eggs. He will stay there until they hatch (5 days) and are able to swim on their own. Bluegills are generally sexually mature at one year of age. The lifespan of a bluegill is 5-8 years old.

Bluegill Facts

  • The breeding males are the most colorful fish of all bluegill.
  • In some states, bluegills are used as bait fish.
  • Bluegills are also called sunfish, bream, or copper nose.
  • A female bluegill can lay between 10,000 and 60,000 eggs.
  • Young bluegill feed on microscopic animals.
  • Bluegills are often found in schools of 10-20.
  • Bluegills are very good swimmers and have the ability to change directions very quickly.
  • The world record bluegill was 4 pounds, 12 ounces. It was caught in the year 1950.

Bluegill Habitat

The bluegill is native to eastern North America, but is now found all throughout the country. They inhabit almost every pond, lake and other bodies of quiet water in the United States. They prefer shallow water with vegetation and fallen limbs and logs for protection.

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What Do Bluegill Eat?

Bluegills are not picky when it comes to food. In the wild they feed on insects, zooplankton, worms, and small fish. They will eat almost any human food scraps thrown into the water, such as bread, corn, and crackers.

Bluegill Fishing Tips

  • Feeding habits depend on a variety of different factors such as weather, season, and time of day.
  • Bluegills bite year-round.
  • Bluegills are one of the easiest fish to catch.
  • Although they are small, a bluegill will put up a fight when you are reeling it in.
  • Find the correct fishing reel that you feel most comfortable using. The spin cast reel is the easiest to use for a beginner.
  • The most common bait for bluegills is worms. However, they will bite nearly anything including bread, minnows, small jigs, insects, and bugs.
  • Remember to use a very small hook because a bluegill’s mouth is not very large.
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  • Each state has varying fishing regulations. It is important to educate yourself on them before going out to fish.
  • Remember to acquire a fishing permit if taking up this sport. Fishing without a permit is illegal and could result in a fine. Many states allow young children or veterans to fish without a permit.
  • Although many fish have an open season of all year, there are some that do not. Look at your state’s regulations to find out when you are allowed to fish.
  • Most states have a length limit for their fish. If the fish you caught does not measure the minimum, it is required that you let it go. There are sometimes maximum limits for certain fish as well.
  • Most states also have daily limits, or the amount of a certain fish you can keep in one day.
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Bluegill being held in hands

Bluegills are also called sunfish, bream, or copper nose.

Bluegill underwater

The bluegill is native to eastern North America, but is now found all throughout the country. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region on Flickr

Bluegill on a hook

Bluegills bite year-round.

Bluegill being held up for camera by hand

Although they are small, a bluegill will put up a fight when you are reeling it in.