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Information & facts

Species Namebluegill
(Lepomis macrochirus)

Common Names
Bream, Brim, Copper nose, sun perch, sunfish

Size Range
Average 4–8 inches. Bluegill can grow to 6–11 inches in quality populations.

Bluegill is one of several "panfish" species in BC which is popular because they are easy to catch, they are a great "family fishing activity" and they make excellent table fare. Often mistaken for pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegill are distinguishable by a darkened blue spot on the posterior edge of the gill plate.  The sides of the head and chin are often a dark shade of blue and there are 5–9 vertical bars along the sides of the bluegill; however, these are not always distinct.

BluegillBluegills (Lepomis Marcochirus) are the most recognizable pan fish to anglers. Depending on the region bluegills can also be referred to as bream, brim or copper nose. One of the most interesting traits of the bluegill is how bold they can be. Many bluegills have no fear of the angler trying to catch them. In fact, at Lake Scugog in Canada there are bluegills that will allow humans to actually stroke them. Many anglers catch bluegills to in turn use them as bait for larger species of fish, such as largemouth bass and catfish. Bluegills are a great fish for new anglers or young children to go after since they can easily be caught thus encouraging interest in fishing for children at a young age.

BluegillBluegills are commonly found in shallow water or in slow moving sections of a stream or river. They are easily identifiable by their deep blue color, purple face and gill flap, along with their dark olive colored bands on their sides and the beautiful orange to yellow belly. They can grow to be over 12 inches long and over 4 pounds. Bluegills are schooling fish and you’ll usually find them in groups of 10 or more and that can include other types of pan fish. Depending on the size of the bluegill they eat aquatic insect larva, crayfish, leeches, rotifers, small fish, snails, water fleas and if there is a lack of food they will consume aquatic vegetation. They are most active when spawning which starts in May and can extend all the way out to August.

How to fish for Bluegill

Bluegills are a popular panfish that can be caught with live bait (worms, maggots, crickets, grasshoppers) flies, crappie jigs, pieces of corn, small crankbaits and spinners.  During their spawning period (water temperature >70°F) bluegill can be caught on almost anything (even a bare hook) cast near their nest.  While catching bluegill in general is easy, catching quality-size bluegill is more difficult.  Quality-size bluegill are not found in every water bluegill live in because their populations are quite cyclic with regard to the abundance of large fish.  Bluegill fishing is best in spring and summer as fish congregate to spawn. 
Bluegill feed mainly on aquatic insects, which are slow-moving creatures. Rarely will a bluegill chase food items; therefore, it's important to fish very slowly. This is true whether you use artificial lures or live bait.

Bluegills have small mouths and a small hook is essential: sizes 6 or 8 seem best. Hooks with long shanks are easier to remove from their small mouth, especially if the bait is swallowed. Thin wire hooks are the choice with live bait because the bait will stay alive longer and will be more enticing to fish as it squirms on the hook.

Artificial baits suitable for catching bluegill are numerous. One-thirty-second and one-sixty-fourth ounce lead-head jigs with a plastic skirt, although tough to cast with anything but ultra-lite gear, are exceptional bluegill catchers. Leadheads tipped with marabou feathers, rubber grubs, or twister tails all work well. A small piece of worm or maggot attached to the lure will often increase bites when the fish are exceptionally choosy. All colors catch bluegill, but black is preferred by the most ardent 'gill fishermen. Tiny spinner-baits, spinners, and weighted flies can be used with spinning gear to catch big bluegill. Fish these baits as slowly as possible for best results. Dry flies and small poppers can be used with a spinning rod if a small float is attached about 4 feet from the lure. Long casts with a jerky or twitching retrieve will take bluegill when they are feeding on the surface.

If you are fly fishing for Bluegill you can use almost any dry fly or terrestrial and almost any nymph. There are also specially designed panfish popper flies, many of which can also be used with ultralight spinning tackle. The most popular terrestrial patterns are crickets, grasshoppers, foam spiders, and ants. A clever fly setup, especially at spawning time, is a panfish popper with a dropper line and a weighted nymph, such as a beadhead hare's ear. (This can be done using ultralight tackle, as well). Try popping and stopping at different speeds. When the fish are active, work the rig quickly and they'll strike the popper. When they're less active, just pop a few times and stop for up to 1 minute at a time. The nymph will swing down and suspend in front of their faces. For dry flies, remember that Bluegills may take much longer than trout to smack your fly. If you're not getting bites and you know the fish are there, try letting it sit a while longer, up to 1 minute at a time.

Bluegill Fishing Tips, Tricks and Tactics

Bluegill Fishing Resources

Below you’ll find some additional resources to help you catch bigger, better bluegills. I hope the information provided on this page will help improve your bluegill fishing success and your success as an angler overall. Feel free to share this website with your fellow anglers to show your support for my website. I know, who wants to share the fishing secrets but the best way to thank me is to promote my website.