I've sat back and watched this for awhile - simply because I see a trend in the replys.
There are those that control the environment of the bluegill that have a certain size 'gill they "expect" to see and call a trophy.
Then there are those who don't have that luxury, and are at the mercy of public fishery management of public waterways that have a slightly lower (smaller) defination of a trophy 'gill.
Most of the members on this site have daily access to the quality of fish that I can only dream about coming from my local waters. For myself, on the waterways I fish - each holds a different criteria for a trophy 'gill. One waterway is small, overpressured, and managed by the PFBC. A trophy from this waterway would be anything in the 9" range. Weight would be phenominal if it crested 10ozs.
Another larger waterway, open to the public, and managed by the DCNR holds its' trophy status in the 11" slot. The two that I have been fortunate enough to outsmart weighed in at 15.3ozs. and 1lb. 4ozs.
Yet another - a private pond, managed by a private biologist, holds fish in the 11" range, but pushes the scales much higher.
So what would be considered a trophy? A fish exceeding the standards of the waterway it comes from, or a closed environment specimen that exceeds all the waters in the state?
Interesting side note: Pa does not acknowledge fish from private waterways as state records.
These may not qualify as trophy bluegill according to my own self-imposed rules, but they sure were fun to catch. Tonight was one of those magical evenings. My water has really cooled, and only the bass have been feeding for the last couple of weeks. But it warmed considerably today, and there were lots of bugs on the water this evening. The fish were hitting them like crazy. A flock of turkeys came within about 50 yards of me. Three deer stood off in the distance, just watching. It was a beautiful sunset.
Before the sun when down, I grabbed my fly rod and a small Wal-Mart fly that looked like what was landing on the water. I caught a number of bass from 6-15 inches, one 12-inch crappie, and a bunch of 6-9 inch bluegill. But, I also caught two 10-1/4 inch bluegill -- a male and a female. Both were very "thick." The way they fought, I thought I had a catfish both times.
I wanted to get them back in the water as soon as possible, so I didn't weigh them. But, they were both about an inch thick. The last photo shows them in the cat's water bowl, which is 9-inches across, on the inside.
Well, as far as I'm concerned... if it's bigger than the biggest you ever caught, then it's a trophy. Personally, the biggest I've ever caught was 1-1/4lbs. He was 12" from his lips to the end of his tail, and he was about 2.5" thick. He was what we call a "Hoss". Not a record, but a record for me. But, I'll consider anything a pound or better to be worth bragging on for the places I fish. And, I agree that trophies come in different sizes depending on what is average for the waters they come from.
I have no "set" length or weight for what I consider a trophy bluegill.
As Jeff just brought to light, it should be different for different waters. I fish with some regularity, a local canal where a 3/4 lb bluegill would be a sure trophy and 1/2 lb. is quite rare.
My local area quest is for a 1 pound true bluegill from PUBLIC waters. That would be a trophy here. ole Mike
10" is trophy in northern states while 12" in southern States but 12" is very rare! I guess that 11" is trophy in southern states!
I readed Al Lindner said that he still search for 1 and half pound bluegills and its rare!
I caught and release 9 bass from 6 lbs to 10.98 lbs in 20 years and one pound bluegill is rare than 6 lbs bass! Big bass easy to get food like shad, small sunfishes, minnows, etc! While few lakes that's perfect for bluegills to grow big! Less fishing pressure, lot of insects, weeds, clear water and some openwater to create bigger 'gills! I noticed that many big bluegill fans keep good size bluegills to eat. Good idea to let 9" plus bluegills back to water while to keep some 6 to 8 inch for meals! I caught a lot of 8" and I noticed that after 8.5" number drop very steep!