Do you love big bluegill?
Ok y'all, this will be a quick hit opener on the stats I have on quality bluegill waters in my region, as I am still reviewing the numbers as this blog will progress. But for now, here are some interesting statistics I have accumilated over the past 12 years concerning bluegills in my regional, or 'home' waters.
Of the 112 lakes/ponds that I have fished over the past 12 years, the number of lakes that have produced 8 inch or better sized bluegill ( my personal minimum for 'quality' gills) is 62, or 55% of those waters. This includes all private and public waters.
Of all the 112 different lakes/ponds, 32 of them have produced 10-inch or larger bluegills...28%
Those waters that have produced bluegills of 11 inches or better amount to 15 different water bodies...13%
Waters that have yielded 12 inch or better fish amount to three.
Of these waters, 98 of the 112 are under 50 acres in size and most of those are 1 to 10 acre range... 87%, while the remainder are over 50 acres. Largest is 3,900 acre Deep Creek Lake and the smallest is 1/4 acre. Interesting to note is that the 1/4 acre puddle has produced 12 inch red ears, 10 inch gills and a green sunfish at 10.5 inches- a personal best for me.
Although 63% of all private lakes I fish have produced 8 inch or better gills, only 18 of those lakes have coughed up 'trophy' class gills of 10 inches or better. These numbers are based on records kept from 52 private venues. Private lakes with 11 inch fish total 9 different lakes, or 17%, of the overall total for these rare trophies.
Believe it or not 15 out of 60 public lakes I fish have rewarded me with 10 inch or better bluegills...a 25% rating...higher than I had anticipated. Only 8 of those waters, or 13%, have produced fish of 11 inches or greater.
I actually am still working on some of these stats, as I have found a few new fisheries this year that are giving up high-end fish. Additionally, these figures are for bluegills, red ears and hybrids, but the overwhelming majority of the figures are associated with bluegill catches.
More to come...interesting stuff!
These results and study just reinforce my belief that quality panfish waters are rare, and need to be taken care of, especially when they are small, fragile waters that cannot hold up under heavy fishing pressure. Catch and release of big fish is an important tool to sustain top bluegill and panfish fisheries.