Bluegill Bonanza

There are sunfish that grow larger and there are sunfish with “gills” that streak bluer. No one follows around the bluegill stocking trucks, yet the prolific bluegills have their followers.

The bluegill is often overlooked and underappreciated by many anglers. Some of this is because you have to downsize your gear. They have tiny mouths and so you have to use a small lure or bait hook.

Bluegill do not need supplemental stocking because they are hardier than trout, capable of not only tolerating, but thriving in conditions with relatively high temperatures and lower oxygen. Plus, they can spawn multiple times a year.

Often found in large, loose groups, these fish can be harvested in large numbers. Pennsylvania has a limit of 50 per day with no size limit, while Oklahoma has no limit, period.

Well known as great table fare, these fried micro fillets are addictive. I’ve even learned of some anglers who like to remove the head and insides of small bluegill and simply fry them whole.

This time of year, bluegills can be found rather shallow, feeding on small insects near the surface. If you are not into flyfishing, flies still can be casted using a “casting bubble” and light spinning tackle. It works like a bobber except the line slides through the “bubble” up to the leader swivel or stopper to prevent fish detection.

But be advised: even though these are relatively small fish, you may catch so many that your arm will be tired the next day. In addition, your face may be sore from several straight hours of smiling.

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.