FWS Focus

Overview

Characteristics
Overview

Bluegill are normally managed by recreational fishing regulations that include creel, season, and size limits. They are a popular sport fish and stocked in many lakes and ponds for this purpose. Conservation, restoration, and preservation of prime bluegill habitat is another way of sustaining healthy, sustainable bluegill populations. The bluegill is a common host fish for freshwater mussels. The fish provides the mussel with a place to live (usually on their gills) for the first part of its life.

Bluegill have also been called bream, brim, sunny, or copper nose or generically called “perch” in some localities. In actuality, the bluegill is not a perch at all since perch belong to a separate family of fish not related to bluegill. 

Scientific Name

Lepomis macrochirus
Common Name
Bluegill
Kingdom

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers

TSN:

Characteristics

Characteristic category

Physical Characteristics

Characteristics
Size & Shape

The common length for bluegill is 7.5 inches (19.1 centimeters) with the maximum reported length being 16 inches (41 centimeters).

Color & Pattern

The name bluegill comes from the bluish region on the cheek and gill cover. They are a deep, slab-sided (tall and flat) fish with a small mouth. 

Weight

The heaviest published weight for a bluegill is 4 pounds 12 ounces (2.2 kilograms).

Characteristic category

Lifecycle

Characteristics
Reproduction

Bluegill are prolific breeders and normally spawn in late spring through and early summer when water temperatures rise within the range of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 26 degrees Celsius). A male bluegill will sweep or fan out a 6 to 12 inch diameter dish‐shaped nests. Once the bluegill nest has been established, the female will enter the nest and deposit her eggs, which is where the male fertilizes her eggs with his milt (sperm). The male bluegill will aggressively defend their nests against any intruders that come near the nest. Bluegill are considered colony spawners, meaning 50 or more males may construct their nest in one location.

Lifespan

Bluegill can live up to 11 years with average lifespan of 5 to 8 years.

Geography

Characteristics
Range

Bluegill range in North America extends from Canada to northern Mexico. 

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