All the warmwater fish
The Little Sunfish
 
"...the fight does not begin until the fish finds that it is hooked, but from then on the
fight is of the most vigorous kind, and is kept up to the end with a persistency and
uiciousness that make the bluegill 'the gamest of all fishes for its size' "

— David Jordan and Barton Evermann - American Food & Game Fishes, 1905
 
 

Bluegill
Redear Sunfish
Orangespotted Sunfish
Pumpkinseed
Longear Sunfish
Mud Sunfish
Redbreast Sunfish
Green Sunfish

Black Crappie
White Crappie

Ozark Bass
Rock Bass
Roanoke Bass
Sacramento Perch
Shadow Bass
Warmouth


   

Bluegill:

Lepomis macrochirus
Name translation: Lepomis---scaled gill cover, macrochirus---large hand, possibly in reference to the size of the pectoral fin.

Other common names: bluegill sunfish, northern bluegill sunfish, common bluegill, blue sunfish, bluemouth sunfish, sunfish, pale sunfish, chain-sided sunfish, bream, blue bream, bluegill bream, coppernosed bream, blackear bream, roach, dollardee, sun perch, strawberry bass.

 

U.S. Record Bluegill: 4 pounds, 12 ounces from Kefone Lake, Alabama, April, 1950

Special features: The bluegill is probably one of the most popular sport fish in America and certainly one of the most abundant. Several books have been written on fly fishing for bluegills.

   
How to identify: Iridescent blue color on the lower portion of both the jaw and gill cover give the bluegill its common name.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 dorsal fin. Body coloration is highly variable with size, sex, spawning, water color, bottom type, and amount of cover. . Darker water yields darker bluegills with olive to black backs that get lighter toward a yellowish belly. Clearer water produces bluegills with blue-green backs giving way to white bellies. Males have brighter colors than females, especially during breeding, when they may have orange to rusty-red breasts; immature males have white breasts. Bluegills have five to nine dark, vertical bands running down their sides. The bands get lighter as they go down the side, disappearing near the belly.
   

Habitat: Bluegill prefer quiet, warm waters with abundant vegetation. While bluegill prefer water temperatures of 85 to 88 degrees, they can tolerate temperatures up to 95 degrees. Their preference for warm water makes them particularly fond of shallow lakes. In the spring they seek the warmth of slow-flowing streams, shallow bays or marshy channels that heat up sooner than deeper, cooler areas. Bluegill avoid direct sun, preferring the cover of aquatic vegetation and submerged brush.

Location: Historical records indicates that bluegill were native to much of eastern North America (excluding the coastal area north of Virginia and east of the Appalachians), and central North America south from the Great Lakes Region to Gulf Coast states and into northeastern Mexico. In the last century, bluegill have been introduced widely throughout much of the United States and parts of northern Mexico.

Feeding Habits: Bluegill feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects, mollusks, small fish, and small pieces of aquatic vegetation. Bluegills follow a daily migratory pattern that tends to bring them closer to shore at night and into open water during the day. They feed primarily at dawn and dusk, though they will feed throughout the day. Feeding patterns vary greatly with the season as bluegills feed on whatever is available. During the summer when food is abundant bluegills may consume up to 35 percent of their own body weight weekly.

Spawning and life cycle: Bluegills spawn several times a year, in waters ranging from 65-80 degrees. As such, the first round of spawning ocurrs earlier in southern waters (March or April) and much later further north (May to July). While females leave the nest immediately after spawning, males tend the eggs, fanning them with their caudal fins to keep them aerated and free of debris. The protective father may even stay with the fry, guarding them for several days.Growth depends on food availability and year-round water temperature. A Florida bluegill can reach 4 inches in the first year, while a bluegill from northern Wisconsin may only reach 1.5 inches in the same 12 month period. Likewise, a 6 inch bluegill in Florida is generally from 2-4 years old,while in northern Wisconsin, such growth might take as long as 9 years. Bluegills have been recorded as old as 12 years.