Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

Keepers,Eaters,Fryers...How big do you go and why.

I was just reading a topic about this on another Report forum and it picqued my interest.Along with the propsed Big Gill alliance, Mr Rorer was talking about. Anyhow here in SE Wi, we have a limited number of options, to where you can catch some true giant gills, for our area here in the north. I can think of 2 that are about an hour, to an hour and a half from me.One, I won't go to due to money and just the insane craziness on the lake, the other I try to fish about once a week if I can.This lake produces really nice gills from the tato chips, to the big guys.

Normally, I try not to keep anything over 8 inches.I make exceptions, for my girl though, as she likes to add to the fry when she gets the chance to go.Many lakes in my area, have the average 5-7in gills which I try to go with most of the time. As a 25 limit there is more than enough for a meal or 2 for both of us.

I know in the south, you have a greater growing season so there is more possible chance to regenrate those big uns, than we do up here.Not passing any judgement on what anyone keeps though, you buy a license you have the right to keep what you want.

Example I read a report about some people keeping a 5 gallon bucketful of 4 to 5inch gills.Could be true, could be false may eventually help the fishery out in that particular lake, but highly illegal,Don't even know what they would do with that many fish though.Just random thoughts. Curious to see how selection plays out in different parts of the Gill globe and any reasons why.

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Comment by Lord of the Fly , Rods on July 24, 2009 at 4:50am
Bill, I had several eaters photos up here on a blog, not long ago under Mr De Mill , I'm ready for my close up., as for taste we use Tony Chacheries seasoning down here , it's a type of cajun seasoning that makes everything taste great.
Comment by Patrick "Bullworm" Olson on July 24, 2009 at 12:50am
I'm right in there with Bill! 8-8.5 inchers eat well. Smaller than that and they tough to fillet for me. The number fish I keep is a different story though. I keep what we will eat for a meal that night or the next day. There is only 2 of us so 4 nice gills is all it will take to fill the bellies! I have always done that type of thing. I don't like freezing fish, got to have 'em fresh. I think also that the bigger gills 10 inchers and up change their diets somewhat. I believe big bulls start eating more minnows and small crawfish and that is why I think they taste a little different. Thanks for the good read Rob!
Comment by Rob Garner on July 23, 2009 at 11:41pm
Great comments guys I was more than a little curious about the southern parts of the country and the west for that matter too.Some of it played out jsut as I thought.I would never try to make someone feel bad for what they catch and eat,thats why we all buy a license so we can enjoy and eat what we consider to be big enuf to eat.I wish we were blessed with more big gill hotspots here. Being I am not a rich man either I have not been to an out of town spot to fish for any quality sized gills either and there are a couple that I would like to try.
Comment by Bill "Musky" Modica on July 23, 2009 at 10:15pm
8.5 is my max keeper....any bigger and they begin to lack that tasty goodness. Lotfr.....could you please post some pics?....I'd love to see some of your eaters.
Comment by Lord of the Fly , Rods on July 23, 2009 at 9:36pm
Hi Rob ,here in the south we are blessed with bluegill, our limit is 50 and dont have any size restriction except we dont keep anything less than 6 inches unless we need bait for our trotlines.In smaller ponds with public access bluegill can be stunted because people catch too many bass which eat bluegill fry therefor there may be a lot of bluegill but they will be small. solution, put some flathead catfish in these small ponds to reduce the gill population,those that remain will get bigger. It takes 10 pounds of bluegill to grow one pound of bass. To grow big bream you have to leave the bass and catfish alone to do their job, reducing bluegill fry numbers. As for natural areas where there is only mother nature , she does a great job of providing me with 10, 11,and12 plus gills and yes I do eat them , I am the top of the food chain, and no one is going to make me feel bad about it . I eat bluegill,I eat big bluegill.
Comment by Nick Holt on July 23, 2009 at 5:11pm
I would like to add my 2 cents in this conversation. When I stay here in town and fish for gills and crappie, I always run into stunted fish. 5 to 7 inch gills are about the norm in city lakes. Same for crappie. These are watershed lakes and the city of Columbus will not keep the silt under control, therefore, the deepest part of an old favorite is no more than4 to 6 feet at full pool. During the cooler months when the fish are more active and the water is more oxygenated by fall ans winter rains, we catch a lot of the smaller gills and crappie. Unless I go to my friends lake, 7 to 9 inch gills are more the norm. I'm not a rich man, and I have to conserve gas to get to and from work and around town. I'm used to taking the smaller fish and am happy that I caught a nice mess. I was told by an irate game warden last year while I was fishing at this stunted lake that he wanted me to keep every gill and crappie I caught. Don't throw them back into the lake. He told me to either eat them, give them away, or throw them into the woods. It's not doing the lake any good. There are a lot of bank fisherpersons at this lake, and I've encouraged them to keep all sizes. These folks look at me like I'm crazy, and trow back a lot of 4 and 5 inchers thinking that a lunker gill or crappie will hit. Again, I would love to be able to go to a lunker lake, and know I eventually will. Right now I and a lot of others will have to be happy with what we catch. Anyway they're still fun on light tackle and taste as sweet as ever. Take care all. Nick.
Comment by Tommy Winton on July 23, 2009 at 9:26am
Yeah i used to live in Michigan and you have to find a private lakes just to see 8 inch plus bluegills most of the time. I was thinking that what if you take the lakes up north that are capable of holding big gills and once did before but are fished out and introduce them to the coppernose bluegill. I know it a southern fish but they are a fast growing bluegill. In addition to that when we go bluegill fishing and catching little bluegills in an OVERPOPULATED lake only keep them for catfish bait for yourself or buddy. Any little thing to save the big gill population is my thought. Whats your thoughts on that.
Comment by Rob Garner on July 23, 2009 at 8:16am
Sounds reasonable,Nice pic of that beast too. I never really could taste the difference between the size of fish,to many cigs and beer maybe. It's kinda what I figured for the south region.Probabaly by far many more big gills in general,as once their gone here it's pretty hard to get them back.Thanks for info Tom
Comment by Tommy Winton on July 23, 2009 at 5:01am
Well i live in Florida and the growing seasons for bluegills and shellcrackers is year round pretty much so there is more big gills down south. But that doesnt mean you keep every big gill you catch. Il catch good numbers of big gills but keep only about three to five 8 inch plus bluegills when i go for pics and i like to fillet them sometimes. I think thats reasonable amount to keep. I like the taste of the 5-7 inch bluegills better than the larger ones.

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