Bluegill
(Lepomis macrochirus)
The  bluegill  is a  colorful fish  that  grows  4 - 10  inches long.  The body is deep and highly  compressed with a long, pointed pectoral fin and  a distinct spot  on the soft dorsal fin.  The bluegill is  a greenish olive  color above  and pale below  with traces of six to eight double, vertical dark bars on its  sides.  The breast is yellowish white except in breeding males when it takes on a red color.  The lower jaw is pale blue, and  this color  continues backward to  the gill membranes.  The gill  flap is blue/black,  without  a  pale margin.   Bluegills  are often mistaken for pumpkinseeds, but they lack the orange/red spot on the gill flap.

The bluegill  is widespread throughout  New York State.   It is found in  slow-moving or standing water  with plenty  of vegetation or other shelter such  as  docks  and  logs.  Bluegills  feed during  the  day and most  actively in  the morning  and afternoon.  Their  food consists of small  fish,  crustaceans,  insects,  and  plant  materials.  

The  New York State  record bluegill was caught in Kohlbach Pond in 1992.   It weighed 2 lbs. 8oz.   Bluegills are  often caught  in shallow water  near  weedbeds  on  bait,  artificial  flies,  and  lures.
Their flesh is delicious, making them one of the most sought-after pan fish in New York.
Finger Lakes Aquaculture 7627 County Rd. 36 
Naples, NY 14512 
(585) 374-2974 
Phil Faber - Owner 


Bluegills  nest in colonies  where  their nests  are so close  they often merge  together.  They  prefer to  build  their nests  on firm  sand or mud  with some  debris but  little vegetation.   The nests  are  8 to 12 inches  in diameter and  located  in water  that  is 1 to 3 feet deep or shallower.   In New York  spawning  occurs  from  zlate May through July, when water  temperatures reach the 70's F.  Bluegills will start reproducing in their second year, and they have been observed to live as  long  as  11  years. 

The bluegill  has frequently  been stocked  in farm  ponds  and  other impoundments.  They  thrive  in warm, shallow farm ponds to the point where  they  sometimes  overpopulate  and their  growth  is  stunted.

If  the  bass  eat all of  the minnows and  shiners in  a pond,  then the bluegill  may provide  a  continuous  source  of  food  for them.   If a pond   becomes   overpopulated   with  bluegills,   a  more  aggressive predator such  as walleye  may be stocked to reduce their population.
Bluegill provide an excellent supply of food for bass, as they will spawn throughout the summer and produce an abundance of small fish for bass to feed upon.

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