4.75 pounds, caught in Ketona Lake, Alabama, in 1950
Description: Bluegills have small
mouths and oval-shaped, almost rounded, bodies. Body coloration is highly
variable with size, sex, spawning, water color, bottom type, and amount
of cover. In general, they are somewhat lavender and bronze with about
six dark bars on their sides. Males tend to have a copper-colored bar
over the top of the head behind the eyes. The breast is silver to
slightly blue most of the year, with some yellow or orange during spawing
season. Females are generally lighter colored than males. Two distinctive
characteristics are the prominent black spot on the rear edge of the
gill-cover and a black spot at the base of the posterior portion of the
bream, blue bream, sun perch, blue sunfish, copperhead, copperbelly,
Two are recognized: the northern bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus
macrochirus), and the Florida bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus mystacalis)
The bluegill also hybridizes with other members of the sunfish family.
Range: Found throughout Oklahoma in
lakes and ponds because of widespread stocking.
Habitat: Bluegills prefer the quiet,
weedy waters where they can hide and feed. They inhabit lakes and ponds,
slow-flowing rivers and streams with sand, mud, or gravel bottoms, near
Spawning: Habits Bluegills are well
known for "bedding" in large groups, with their circular beds touching
one another. Bedding occurs in water two to six feet deep over sand,
gravel or mud bottom, often among plant roots. Spawning occurs from April
through October with the peak in May and June, when water temperature
rises to about 67 degrees. A female may lay 2,000 to 63,000 eggs which
hatch 30 to 35 hours after fertilization.
Feeding Habits: Insects, insect
larvae and crustaceans are the dominant foods of bluegills, with
vegetation, fish eggs, small fish, mollusks, and snails being of
secondary importance, although they may dominate their diet during
certain times of the year.
Growth: Growth is rapid in Oklahoma.
A two-year-old fish may be four inches long. Spawning may occur the first
year. Bluegills can live up to 11 years. The rate of growth varies
considerably in different bodies of water. However, a five-inch bluegill
in Oklahoma is typically two to four years old.
Sporting Quality: Because of its
willingness to take a variety of natural baits (e.g., crickets, grass
shrimp, worms) and artificial lures (e.g., small spinners or popping
bugs) during the entire year, its gameness when hooked, and its excellent
food qualities, the bluegill is one of the more important sport fish in
Eating Quality: Excellent; the flesh
is white, flaky, firm and sweet. They are generally rolled in cornmeal or
dipped in pancake batter before frying. Many rank the bluegill as the
most delicious of all freshwater fish.
Additional Information Supplied by:
ODWC-Central Region- Fisheries
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