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“Blinded Me with Science”–Bluegill Growth Rates

The May issue of Nebraskaland magazine has a short article on bluegill growth rates.  You will want to check it out.

Right now you can see the full issue HERE.

Or, here are the two pages:

BluegillGrowthRates

BluegillGrowthRates2

Over-harvest of panfish, bluegills and crappies, is a real problem on a lot of waters.  No, those populations are not harvested to the point where there are not enough fish to reproduce and maintain the population.  They are over-harvested to the point where they do NOT reach their growth potential.  Unfortunately, the fastest-growing bluegills and crappies are the ones anglers harvest first.

Sunfish species can and are sexually mature at very young ages and small sizes.  That is why healthy predator populations, usually largemouth bass, are so critical to produce quality panfish fisheries in pits, ponds and small reservoirs.  Anglers do not harvest panfish when they are that small, and population thinning needs to occur when those fish are small and young!

SmallMaturePanfish

That is true for crappies, and even more true for bluegills with their unique spawning biology (Bed Time for ‘Gill)

To add to that, if you don’t want to listen to me, check out this story by another pointy-headed fisheries biologist, Bluegill Management Strategies.

We are on the verge of bluegill spawning season right now.  They are already on their beds in some parts of the state.  You should be releasing those big bulls, they are the fastest growers!

bluegillmaleNEBland
Nebraskaland photo.

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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