Ladies and Gentleman: I see lots of pictures of large (trophy?) gills. I hope and pray that they arent being kept. They should be treated just like a trophy Bass,Pike, etc.They do more good when returned to the pond, lake,stream..living to be caught and enjoyed another day. If you must keep for a meal consider the smaller ones which in turn leaves room to produce more "trophy" gills.
I suppose I will weigh in a little bit. All I could ever ask any fisherman of any species is to be a good stewart of what we have. The DNR doesn't have it all figured out yet. A good example here in Mn is they are finding that curtain slot limits and stocking practices cannot be a blanket requirement on all the lakes, it has to be treated on a lake by lake basis. There are to many lakes (or eco systems) for them to figure out the perfect scenerio for each species (that could change in time). So as responsible fisherman we should get to know our area lakes well enough to develop good harvesting practices for that lake. Then educate people as the opportunities arise. If we all practice what we preach, the results will soon start to show. Maybe in time we will have the best of both worlds, good harvestability with some tropheys thrown in.
I know two lakes is not far from my home ( less than one hour drive) is catch and release only! So far no trophy bluegills! Maybe somewhere in the lake but I don't know! I think something to do with shad! Lot of shad in both lakes might cause bluegills to grow slow and limit of food!
I remember somewhere article to talk about large manmade lakes in southern states have poor bluegill fishery because of lot of shad!
All I can think of is the best way is if you catch some nice 'gills over 8 inch then let it go! It get chance to grow bigger!
For George Husted.....
I looked at my big bluegill notebook. Houghton Lake in Roscommon Co in Michigan have many bluegills over one pound! 1 lb 11 oz in 1976 and 1.5 lbs in 1977!
If you spend your time and money building your own pond for bluegills, you are responsible for the management of those fish. You decide what to keep, what to feed them, weather to feed them, who will be allowed to fish and so on.
In many parts of the country the only way you can have access to good bluegill fishing is to invest the time, money and energy into building your own pond. I commend those folks especially the ones who study and learn what works best and pass this information on to the rest of us.
As soon as you go to a public lake you have no obligation nor duty to make any decisions about what anybody else does except to follow the law. The decisions you make for yourself notwithstanding.
In Michigan there are ample opportunities to catch trophy bluegills without that kind of extraordinary effort, but you still have to put in your time learning how to catch them.
There are folks who believe the fishing on any particular lake, river or stream could be much better if only the fishermen would release all the big fish without regard to all the other complexities that make up trophy waters. These people in my opinion are misguided.
Catch and Release in my opinion is not a good idea. When you have a catch and release or no kill area, none of the fish are utilized. Most lakes, streams or rivers that produce trophy sized fish can be managed effectively by allowing limited numbers of fish to be kept and still be a great trophy lake.
I also believe that bluegills between 8" and 10" make better brood stock. A bluegill over 10" in my opinion is past his prime. Throwing back large bluegills might be doing nothing for the fishery so is a wasted effort. I am all for conservation, but only when it makes sense. Many times people let their emotions guide them and make moral judgements thinking that they are doing something noble when in fact they are not.
Fishermen will flock to a lake when the word gets out that the bite is on. Fish stocks will be reduced and fish will be more difficult to catch which will induce less people to fish them and the lake will recover since there is more food for the remaining fish.
As fishermen we should be careful we are promoting the right thing and not just because it sounds good. Any kind of special regulation should only be applied after the fish professionals research the lake to find out if the regulation will help the fish or just give some fishermen a warm fuzzy feeling because they think they are doing the right thing. This is especially true for fishermen who want to apply their moral beliefs on the rest of us.
No kill and flies only regulations are the worst two regulations ever designed and are self serving. They are special rules for people who believe they are entitled to them. Within ever population there are some fish that are easily caught and some average fish and some fish that are very wary making them difficult to catch. Most of these special rules are promoted by people who want others to release the easy fish so they will have a better chance to catch them