Illinois State Fish
Bluegill (common name)
Lepomis macrochirus (scientific name)
Bluegills are a very common type of sunfish found in ponds and lakes throughout eastern and central North America. They are olive to yellow in color with a blue or purplish sheen and vertical stripes. They have a distinctive dark blue or black flap behind the gills (hence the fish’s common name), and a prominent dark blotch close to the tail. The bluegill was selected by the schoolchildren of Illinois to be the official state fish in 1986. Young anglers like the fish because it is colorful, relatively easy to catch, and puts up a good fight.
Length: Up to 10 in (25 cm)
Weight: Up to 5 lbs (2.15 kg)
Up to 11 years
Quiet, somewhat weedy lakes, ponds, bays, and slow-moving streams.
Range: Eastern and central North America, including the lower Great Lakes and the Mississippi River
Water type: Freshwater
Water temp: 32–80°F (0-27°C)
Conservation Status: Secure
Bluegills eat larvae, insects, plankton, snails, other fish, fish eggs (including their own), and sometimes aquatic plants.
Spawning frequency: June-July
Mating behavior: Distinct Pairing
Egg laying: Bluegills build saucer-shaped depressions in areas with sand, gravel, or mud bottoms 2–6 feet (60–180 cm) deep and very close to shore. Female bluegills spawn up to three times a year, releasing 2,000 to 80,000 eggs each time. Males assume a very bold blue and orange coloration on their flanks when they are guarding their nests, although some males assume the female’s coloration and sneak past guarding males. These "sneaker" males will enter nests and fertilize the eggs.
Sun perch, bream, brim, blue sunfish, copperbelly, roach
Click to enlarge an image
Raw Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press