Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

The Bluegill Diaries.....Loch, Stock, and big as a barrel........ Someday!

This blog will be an attempt on my part to document my family's attempt to grow consistent numbers of big Bluegill, which in this case will mean fish that weigh one pound or over. The key words here being "consistent numbers". Think of the times you have seen a photo of a smiling angler holding up a single, colossal Bluegill. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, after all it was his or her skill as an angler that lead to that memorable catch, and they should be justifiably proud of the achievement.

Our efforts however, are directed towards growing a quantity of larger fish, and if need be we are willing to sacrifice the ultimate size potential of a few specimens, so that a greater number of our fish may achieve a smaller, but still well above average size. I suspect that the techniques and methods needed to produce a quantity of bigger-than-normal Bluegill are applicable in many private ponds and lakes across the country, requiring only a modest monetary investment,  diligence, and some hands-on input from the pondowner.

Simply stated, our ideal scenario is one in which we can catch 20 Bluegill, and at least 14 of those fish will weigh between a pound, and a pound and a quarter. The remaining 6 fish should not weigh less than 14 ozs. This should be fairly easy to achieve, and in fact we are very close now. The next logical question concerns whether or not this ratio can be maintained, and still allow for a modest harvest. This is an area my family and I will be exploring in the near future.

So, to begin, an introduction to my family's ponds!

 

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Comment by Tony Livingston on February 25, 2013 at 10:26am

You're right Jason, I haven't done a very good job keeping up with my blog. I need to get back after it......

Comment by Jason Preslar on February 25, 2013 at 10:07am
Impressive blog all around!!! No posts lately?? Because of winter?? Great job!!
Comment by Tony Livingston on November 11, 2012 at 6:08pm

No problem Vince, I'm glad you liked it.

Comment by Vince Fusco on November 11, 2012 at 5:16pm

Some of the ponds I use to fish in northern Missouri, and some I fish here in Georgia have fish with the black parasites in them. I was told as well, once cooked they were harmless. I have never caught any with the yellow parasite in them though. These ponds were regularly visited by Blue Herons. I never knew till I read this post, where they came from. Thanks for the very informative post,Tony. I am sure you have clarified this for many anglers who were worried about eating gills with these harmless parasites in them.

Comment by Jeffrey D. Abney on November 11, 2012 at 3:36pm

Where's my lazyboy....sounds like you had a full day Tony....Looks good though....

Comment by Tony Livingston on November 11, 2012 at 3:24pm

Spent the day working on our dams. We have five ponds which yield a combined length of 810', and they average 30' from the top to the bottom. Clearing off the backside is important in order to prevent tree growth, which can contribute to a leaking dam, and possibly a breach.....not good.

I have used a variety of equipment in order to clear them, but have settled on a straight-shaft string trimmer equipped with a steel brush blade as being the best compromise between maneuverability, safety, and effectiveness. I was able to finish three dams today, along with scouting an area for future ginseng planting, and clearing some trails in the woods.

Definitely the non-glamour, hard work aspect of pond ownership. That's part of it though, everything carries a price. Two more dams to go, THEN I have to decide if I'm going to do the one on the big lake.... It's another 300' all on its own...

Before:

 

After:

Done by hand:

Comment by Tony Livingston on September 23, 2012 at 5:16pm

Spent the day working around the ponds, mowing, trimming, grading etc. Didn't leave any time for fishing, but sometimes that's the way it goes. It was a beautiful day here in Indiana, high temps were in the low 60's, the trees are beginning to turn colors, the sky was a brilliant blue.....just a great day to be outside. The fish have really slowed down on their feeding behaviour, water temps were 68 degrees on the surface and I didn't see any fish shallow.....not even the Bass were active, typical of a high pressure weather pattern.

We have our first chance of frost tonight. Low temp is forecast to be 31 degrees.....pretty early for those temps, but that just means that cold water Bluegillin' is just around the corner.....YEE-HAW!!!

Comment by Jim Gronaw on April 30, 2012 at 8:25pm

Wow, Tony...the hybrid striper thing is cool! I have had the great joy to catch high numbers of 3 pound class hybrid stripers on 2 pound test line. I will tell you...if you ever want to learn how to play and have patience in playing fish then this is a great teaching aid. All of those fish were from small bodies of water...great fun!

Comment by dick tabbert on April 21, 2012 at 7:04pm

You will enjoy the hybrid striped bass but don't plan on seeing them at the feeder. All you will see is a splash and they are so fast you can hardly see them but what a fish to catch on ultra light and that fly rod. They are fun. I was concerned when I put mine in cause they were so small but they are so fast nothing can catch them. Enjoy boys and let your dad catch one once and awhile.

Comment by Tony Livingston on April 21, 2012 at 6:41pm

Today was a departure from the norm, pond-wise at least. We've decided to stock some Hybrid Striped Bass into the catfish pond, so after a quick trip to and from the hatchery, we found ourselves on the bank, bag-o-fish in hand.

The boys got their first taste of handling HSB, and quickly found out that: A: They are a strong fish, hard to hold onto, and B: They can stick you pretty good!

We spent some time acclimating them to the pond, then turned them out. I'm pleased to report that all 20 swam away under a full head of steam. Hopefully all will be well over the next few days.

These fish are feed trained at the hatchery, so they should consume pellets right along with the catfish. We're hoping to grow them out, as a bonus fish for the table along with the sheer fun of catching them. They are superb fighters!

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