Bluegill Sunfish swimming

Bluegill Sunfish

One of the most popular sport fish in the U.S. the Bluegill Sunfish is very colorful with light to dark blue on bright purple. Their gill covers are often blue with a black spot on the rear of the “ear flap” and have faint vertical bars on the sides. In breeding season, the breast of males is red. The mouth is small and when closed, barely reaches the front of the eye. Their overall body is deep for its length and compressed from side to side.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Lepomis macrochirus
CLASSIFICATION
Fish
LIFE SPAN
5-10 Years
SIZE
4-16 ” | 1-3 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • Unprotected
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Game
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

Native range includes the freshwaters of eastern and central North America. Bluegill can be found in ponds and reservoirs throughout northwestern and southern Nevada.

Threats

  • Birds
  • Larger Fish

Natural History

Bluegill Sunfish caught in a lake

Bluegill are most active at dawn and stay tucked under cover throughout the day. Once night falls, they move to more shallow water. The male Bluegill builds its nest in a colony with many other males. Once the nest is established, and the eggs have been laid and fertilized, the male will aggressively defend it against any intruders. More than one female may lay eggs in the same nest.