Do you love big bluegill?
I never thought about this until I read a recent post. What size pan fish do you harvest? I believe most of the gills I keep are 7" and the crappies have to be at least 9" in PA.
we prefer to keep 7 1/2 -8 1/2 inchers for the table, probably 9 and up for the crappies. let alot of the bigger gills go (sometimes) just depends on the lake.
I like keeping 7.5-8.5" for Gills and releasing bigger but don't often keep Gills to eat .Perch in the he 10-11" are good eating size .Crappie 15" and bigger released usually .Again I am not eating many fish but do enjoy the caught meals a few times a year .
Very rarely do I keep any fish… looking back on last season we harvested for a dinner 3 times… 2 of those were other than b.gill. since populations of size and quantity are down for b.gill throughout the state and the country as well I would look for other species that are not hurting. Then again it comes down to the lake… some lakes seem unaffected by some light fishing pressure and could use some harvesting. This becomes personal management where knowing the lake one could establish a slot limit since each lake is different in supporting a good panfish population.
This one particular lake I will harvest from… we’ve established a release of 7.75 and over to maintain a good gene pool. Since 25 in our state is overgenerous on limit quantity we limit for the meal and try not to freeze any.
As for other species such as crappies I support slot limits as well. For crappie I look at the lake and if there is a top range of 12” I will use my 80% rule and let the top 20% length crappies go for future angling quality effort keeping the 10” or under.
For me fishing has been catch and release for most of my angling years stretch as far back as the age of 13 years old. Being able to go out and feel a good tug on the line was more important.
Nowadays im seeing a nationwide increasing interest in the Blue Gill as a game fish and im loving it!.
I MUCH PREFER THE ONES AROUND 7 TO 9 INCH;; HOWEVER 6 INCH ONNES ARE GOOD TO ! NOTHING BELOW 6 INCH ARE KEPT;; HERE IN MY AREA;; THERE IS A OVER ABUNDANCE OF LITTLE ONES; UP TO THE 6 INCH ONES;; ITS THE LARGER ONES THATS HARD TO FIND!!
I don't routinely kill any fish myself. My 84-year old mother loves fish and I cook her some fillets 2 or 3 times a year. When she was a little girl she was raised on wild game and fish. I believe the state of PA is proposing slot limits on crappie and bluegill. I gotta check on that to make sure.
I let the BOW I'm fishing tell me what I should keep. Once I establish what the top size tier of bluegills are, I work backwards from that, always releasing the largest size class, and often the next largest as well. Never keep more than a dozen at a time, that seems to be plenty for the four of us.
I eat a lot of gills but only take 10-15 at a time, the bigger ones I keep ...Lake La Sue Ann ( Ohio's best Bluegill lake), lets you keep gills over 9 inches when the harvest is too high because they say they are at the end of their life cycle, so I keep the big ones let the 7-8 inchers go to grow, keepers are 8inches and up for me...and they are way easier to fillet.
I prefer 7.5 to 9 inch fish, releasing those that are bigger. Overharvest of larger sunfish species has decimated many lakes in my region. to the point where people are settling for smaller and smaller 'top-end' fish as the years go by. I have spent the past 20 years begging and pleading with anglers to release large fish to sustain quality panfish fisheries, but the misconception that the 'smaller ones will replace the bigger ones' almost never works. Last year we caught 5, 433 bluegills from several different lakes and kept about 100 for the entire year...that's less than 2% of the total.
most of my local lakes have a 9" legal size on crappie and a 30 fish limit ! most of the lake gills run 7" and a 8 1/2 being a true trophy in my area not saying there is not some tame ponds that have bigger gills or other lakes out of my 40 mile area i fish
Keep all of em 6" + ------ Stop at about 45 ------ Get 3 meals ----- Fry em whole (potato chip tails) the way wife & I like em. Some of the smaller ones less than 6" -----> tie a knot at end of 1/4" line and stuff in bluegills mouth and hang over side of boat to feed to the alligators following boat as we are fishing.
I clean alot of smaller fish as well Wag.......in Louisiana we use to net little 1" gills in road side ditches to fry whole........2 to 3 hundred at a time.......what a delicacy!
I release all big bulls. Keep 8-12 seven to eight inchers caught thru the ice a couple times per winter