The bluegill is a freshwater fish native to North America (United States, Mexico and Canada) and commonly found east of the Rocky Mountains.  Humans have also introduced them to Europe, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Asia, South America and Oceania.  Bluegill have many nicknames and are often referred to as gills, brim, bream, sunfish, panfish, copperhead, copper nose, and shell crackers.  Whatever you call them, bluegill can be found in many different types waterways including lakes, rivers, creeks, ponds, reservoirs and streams. 

Depending on the time of the year, bluegill move between shallow and deep water and are often found in large groups called 'schools'.  Most of the time, bluegill schools are near some form of underwater structure.  Underwater structure used by bluegill are docks, aquatic vegetation, logs, bushes, stumps and more.  They use the structure to hide from larger predators - largemouth bass, snapping turtles, eagles, heron, northern pike, muskellunge, trout, or walleye.  

Bluegill have a dark olive green colored back and upper sides that blend with a copper color as you move toward their belly.  The belly of a bluegill is a yellowish-orange belly.  One way to tell a bluegill from other sunfish is by the dark spot at the base of the dorsal fin, which is the large fin on their back. 

The average size of a bluegill is between seven to ten inches, and weigh less than a pound.  However, they can grow up to thirteen or fourteen inches and to over four pounds!  Smaller bluegill eat mainly plankton (tiny organisms floating in the water - bacteria, algae) and aquatic vegetation, while the larger bluegill eat insects. leeches, snails and larvae.   

Although they are small, bluegill are a favorite of anglers because they are fun to catch and they are abundant in most lakes.  The most common method for bluegill fishing is to use a bobber and live bait on a small hook with a lightweight rod and reel.  Common live bait used are worms, crickets, minnows, grasshoppers or whatever else you want to try.  On the other hand, a lot of anglers are successful with artificial lures too.  


SCIENTIFIC NAME:  Lepomis macrochirus

HABITAT:  Aquatic vegetation (lily pads, reeds, buggy whips, milfoil, and more), docks, logs, stumps

RANGE: North America



DIET: Omnivore

NICKNAMES: Gills, Brim, Bream, Sunfish, Panfish, Copperhead, Copper Nose, Shell Crackers

FUN FACT:  The bluegill is the state fish of Illinois. 

Tags: fish  -  luke-groschen  animal 


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