Fish and Aquatic Conservation

illustration of a Bluegill


Lepomis macrochirus (Rafinesque, 1819)

Cool Facts

A Bluegill are one of the most popular sport fish in the U.S. The oldest reported age for a bluegill is 10 years. The heaviest published weight for a bluegill is 2.2 kg (4.8 lbs.) Bluegill have been widely introduced throughout the world. Some countries have reported negative impacts of bluegill introductions in their country. Bluegill can compete for food and habitat with native fishes.

SIZE: Common length for bluegill is 19.1 cm (7.5 inches) with the maximum reported length being 41 cm (16 inches).

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

HABITAT: Prime habitat for bluegill include weed beds, off deep points or in creek channels around sunken islands. They like quiet streams, ponds, lagoons and small to medium sized lakes. They can also be found in the shade of piers, swimming rafts, tree‐shaded shores, where the overhanging limbs cast a shadow upon the water’s surface and under, beside and within submerged aquatic vegetation or underwater brush piles.

DIET: Bluegill are opportunistic feeders and will feed on insects, insect larvae, small crustaceans and worms.

Natural History

Bluegill are prolific breeders and normally spawn in late spring and early summer when water temperatures rise within the range of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21.0 to 23.8 degrees Celsius). A male bluegill will sweep or fan out a dish‐shaped nests. Once the bluegill nest has been established, male bluegill will aggressively defend their nests against any intruders that come near the nest.


Bluegill are normally managed by recreational fishing regulations that include creel, season and size limits. They are a popular sport fish and have been 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.