Bluegill are an important and abundant sport fish in the United States. They are also one of the most common species in Ohio and can be found in almost every body of water throughout the state.
They are most abundant in clear lakes and ponds that have some rooted aquatic vegetation. They usually hide around and inside old tree stumps and other underwater structures.
They can grow up to 12 inches long, though they are usually about half this size. They can have beautiful coloring, with deep blue and purple on the face and gill flap, dark olive-colored bands down their sides, and a fiery orange to yellow belly. It is the most common member of the Sunfish Family has a distinctive black spot behind the gills.
Like other sunfish, Bluegill have very deep and highly compressed bodies. The name “bluegill” comes from the iridescent blue and purple region on their cheeks and gill covers.
Bluegill eat just about any little animal that will fit into their small mouths, especially aquatic insects and land insects that fall into the water. They are important aquatic predators in the streams and ponds they occupy. In turn they provide food for larger fish.
Not only does it play a critical role in the freshwater environment it inhabits, this common creature also is an example of the beauty in nature that is all around us, yet very often overlooked.