World Record: 4 lbs, 12 oz
Ketona Lake, Alabama
April 9th 1950
Length: 4-12 inches
Found in: Lakes, Ponds, Streams, Rivers
Warm Waters 30C


The bluegill is noted for the darkened spot on its dorsal fin. The sides of its head and chin are a dark shade of blue. It usually contains 5-9 vertical bars on the sides of its body, but these stripes are not always distinct. It has a yellowish breast and abdomen, with the breast of the breeding male being a bright orange. The bluegill has three anal spines, ten to 12 anal fin rays, six to 13 dorsal fin spines, 11 to 12 dorsal rays, and 12 to 13 pectoral rays. They are characterized by their deep, flattened, laterally compressed bodies. They have a terminal mouth, ctenoid scales, and a lateral line that is arched upwards.


Bluegill live in the shallow waters. They prefer water with many aquatic plants, and hide within fallen logs or waterweeds. They can often be found around weed beds, where they search for food or spawn. In the summer, adults move to deeper water to avoid food competition. They tend to have a home range of about 320 square feet during non-reproductive months. They enjoy heat, but do not like direct sunlight – they typically live in deeper water, but will linger near the water surface in the morning to stay warm. Bluegill are usually found in schools of 10 to 20 fish.


Young bluegills’ diet consists of rotifers and water fleas. The adult diet consists of aquatic insect larvae (flies, dragonflies) as they spend a great deal of time near the surface of the water, but can also include crayfish, leeches, snails, and other small fish. Their diet can also include the wax worm and night crawler that can be provided for them by anglers. If food is scarce, bluegill will also feed on aquatic vegetation, most bluegills feed during daylight hours. Bluegill use gill rakers and bands of small teeth to ingest their food. During summer months, bluegills generally consume 35 percent of their body weight each week. To capture prey, bluegills use a suction system in which they accelerate water into their mouth.