Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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We have put some redear and coppernose bluegill in our private ponds. Our intent was to raise them both for us, and to sell to a local restaurant commercially. We live in TX, and our neighbor told us that was illegal due to them being sport fish. I could find nothing about this online. Anyone know about this? Anyone know how to get them to grow to an eatable size? Seems like they are only used for bait. We do have a few catfish in the ponds, hopefully enough to keep the numbers down. Is there any need for me to tell you this is all new to us?

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I'm an aquaculturist in Nebraska, Sharon, and I am allowed to raise any fish that I am permitted for. I have to get them approved on an annual basis, and give complete information in regards to where I buy them, or how I collected them. I'm not sure about the Texas regulations, but I would try to get on www.pondboss.com and ask the question there.

We are extremely happy to have you here, and we are interested in what you find out. For some reason, I'm fairly confident that if you go through the right channels that you would be able to raise bluegill and sell them. Check online for the Texas Department of Wildlife and Parks to see if they have an aquaculture section.
Sharon,
Bluegill are not considered sportfish in Texas. Confirm with your game warden. Check into the Texas Aquaculture Association and visit with some of the foodfish producers in the state. The TAA has a website where you can find out about the foodfish producers.
Bob Lusk
Thank you Bruce and Bob. I have followed instructions. Found out Bluegill are not a sport fish, and there is no reason I can't raise and sell them. Only need a license, permit, records, etc. Guess it will be a few years before they are big enough to eat.
Not that I'm going to try this, I lost enough money raising cattle in the past but, it raises so many questions that I'm curious about.
How big is eatin' size on a bluegill?
What are bluegill fillets worth per pound?
What's the feed conversion rate on a bluegill?
Unless you found a chef or two that would take them on whole on ice , fresh and you let them clean and prepair them the way they wanted, your cost filleting them and selling by the pound, would outweight any profit until you got $25/lb. I'm guessing.
Thanks for the suggestion. I have heard differing opinions about how long it takes to get them to eatable size. 1-4 years. Do you have an expert opinion? I feed them every day.
Hey Sharon, I was wondering if you had given any thought to the idea of stocking one of your ponds with a strain of the Georgia Giants or other more mature fish and allowing folks to fish for them on a cash by weight basis. This may generate some instant income while your stock of commercial fish takes hold. Here in Georgia, we have private catfish ponds where the owners charge X-Number of dollars per pound of the fish caught. A lot of folks go for this, instead of sitting on a bank and possibly waiting for one cat to strike. Just a thought. Nick.
Well that's a thought if my idea doesn't work. I don't much like having to be "trapped" at home just in case someone wants to fish though. Also, I assume once they know where the pond in there will be lots of poaching. Thanks for the idea.
I would love to have the problem of trying to figure out what to do with a pond full of Bream! I am keeping my out for a good buy on some land with a pond.

I had a friend while growing up who worked his Dads catfish pond every weekend and all of the money made over his childhood payed for his college education at Auburn. There is a market for "easy fishing!"
Hey Sharon I did some research for you and you need a permit to sell certain non-gamefish in Texas. All other non-gamefish you can't sell including bluegills. If you have more questions call 5123898037 or go to this website http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_v3400....
Thanks, I think I have this info in a pamplet from TX. Can't download that website to see if it has any more info, it just keeps scanning for the site. I won't need a permit till at least next spring, when hopefully, they will be big enough to eat. They have already doubled in size in 1 month. I am worried about the bluegill tendency to over produce and not grow. I have half a dozen catfish in the pond, hopefully, that will keep the numbers down. The pond is only 1/4 acre. If anyone thinks I should get more catfish, now would be the time for me to do that.
I can't speak for Texas. Most states have strict regulations about selling sportfish for food. Seems the main concern is that ole bubba will catch a mess of nice bluegill and need a little beer money so will go sell a mess. Before you know it, every Tom, Dick and Bubba is out fishing the local creek or lake to make a buck. Before long there ain't much left of public fishing. See where I am heading? Hard to tell farm raised from native. Catfish are generally not considered a sportfish by many states so it doesn't matter where they came from.

Check with your DNR, they may allow it under close regulation. Don't sell any until you do so. Its also difficult to grow bluegill to large size on a commercial scale.

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