The biggest 'gill I have caught was 10.5" and weighed right at 2lbs. I thought I had done great until my cousin caught one that was almost an inch longer. We put them in a 5 gallon bucket and they almost completely covered the bottom of it. I am on my way in the morning to try to catch another one like it only this time I want to catch it thru the ice.
I agree with some of what I've seen posted here, length is one measure of a trophy gill, however girth, weight and indeed coloration add alot to it. Where I fish in Pennsylvania an 8-inch gill is a good sized one, 10+ for a trophy and consideration given to the thicker but shorter fish. One thing I always appreciate is the coloring of the fish, next to the native brook trout the bluegill is the most colorful fish I've caught, and what a variety of colors they offer~!
Did you pet it? You know you gotta pet it! I wonder just how tuff them big gills are. I forgot about some in the live well one night! This has happened only once. A lil beer drankin got me distracted. I was intendn on puttin on Ice but after a few beers and some good conversation I forgot. Needless to say when I remembered 2 days later.....only one of almost 20 fish were dead. Heck I felt so confident that these jokers earned the rite to live after that..... I hooked the boat up and took it to the launch to meet a buddy of mine to do some dock fishin. I mixed the creek water in over the next 2 hours to keep em from goin into shock and let em all go. He asked why we fishin if you already got all them in the boat? Just bait your hook Mark and dont ask stupid questions cause they always gonna lead to a stupid answer! LOL
My thoughts on one pounders being trophies is... throw em back if your trophy fishin' if you meat fish like me...keep half the pounders and throw the rest back for spawnin. Over 11 inches and at least one and three quarter pounds is trophy material. Ten inches are commoners. But the girth is important. A short ten inch fattie that goes more than a pound and a half is a neat fish but not quite the 12 inch slot fish, and its really a bonus when a 12 inch gill is bigger around than it is long and yes in Northern Michigan this animal exists.
Today I went to Cabela's in Hoffman Estates near Chicago. I saw 3 bluegills mounted on the wall near Fly Fishing Section. WOW! 13 inch 2 lbs 10 oz monster Bluegill, Second is 12 inch 1 lbs 14 oz Bluegill and third is 10 inch 14 oz Sunfish!
Over 2 lbs is true monster and dream trophy Bluegill! 24 oz (1 1/2 lbs) is trophy Bluegill!
Over 1 pound is trophy in almost everywhere and far northern states!
Make your goal is one at a time and after catch one pound then make your next goal is 1.5 lbs and let 1 pound back to water! That would be great for big bluegills in the future!
Lived in south Georgia where the private ponds have monster flish...I live in Minnesnota again ( my hometown ).. but I have caught alot of 9 1/2 and a scant few 10 +...those were quite common down south..
I would be as happy as a goat in a trash pile if I could find a pond with 9" average 'gills. Now, they would not be trophies, but, I fish for food (sometimes). As for where the biggies grow, my aging memory picks southern ponds. I think the record came from an experimental pond at Auburn University - somewhere around 4 lbs. It also depends on the individual properties of the habitat. Once, in Ohio, I had the honor to fish in a spring-fed pond where the owner had installed a light over the water and an automatic feeder loaded with soya bean cake broken up. I went home with 8 or 10 bluegills that averages around 10 inches. Should have released them because their flesh was "peppered" with black grub. As a fisheries biologist, I knew that cooking would kill the grubs and they were safe to eat. However, I was not quite hungry enough that time. Racoons in the nearby woods feasted that night.
I fish in the Kentucky River at Frankfort, KY and a big Gill would probably run about 8" and about 3/4 LBs here. I don't think that qualifies as a trophy, but I would be a happy camper to bring 5 or 6 of that size back to be cooked!
I have to agree with some of the guys... that a bluegill of any size caught on a fly rod is a trophy fish. Especially if you tied your offering yourself. I remember fishing a sink tip line at Bernasconi Beach one day with a little scud artificial that I tied myself... got hit in about 10 feet of water... (I was s l o w l y dragging bottom) pulled in a beautifully coloured Redear... about one pound... fought like the dickens on my 3 wt rod... thought Moby Dick was no longer Melvilles problem... I consider it a Trophy fish and a Trophy memory.
When fishing Ultra Light Gear my son Jon Jon and I consider a fish of 10 inches 1.5 Lbs to be a Trophy fish... anything over 2 lbs is a "Specimen" and we would consider to be a 'fish of a lifetime'.