Lepomis macrochirus

Common Names: blue bream, copperbelly, copperhead bream, "titty" bream (very large fish).

Preferred habitat: Bluegill prefers small and large impoundments as well as sluggish rivers and streams.

Range: statewide, including all rivers, large impoundments and small impoundments.

Common size: 5-10 inches, 3 ounces to 1 pound.

Food Habits: Bluegill feed on a variety of aquatic and terrestrial insects as well as other small invertebrates.

Spawning: After water temperatures exceed 75° F, bluegill will spawn monthly, usually from late May to September. The male will construct a nest in shallow water over sand or mud bottoms. Bluegill will spawn in congregations with other bluegill creating a bedding colony of as many as 100 or more nests. The female will lay, depending on her size and condition, from 2,000 to 65,000 eggs, which are fertilized and guarded by the male. The eggs require one to two days to hatch after which the male will guard the small fish until they have dispersed. In addition to protecting the nest from intruders, the male also aerates the eggs with movements of his fins.

Miscellaneous: Over the years, bluegill sunfish have been responsible for introducing more young people to fishing, than any other fish. They are commonly called bream and can be caught with inexpensive gear using worms, crickets, and other insects as bait. Bluegill sunfish have been used extensively by state and federal farm pond stocking programs. Bluegill are usually stocked in combination with redear sunfish and largemouth bass. Because of the bluegill’s reproductive capacity, their populations quickly become stunted without adequate predation by largemouth bass. Summer long bluegill spawning provides a steady supply of appropriate sized food for young largemouth bass, which cannot grow larger than 3" without fish in their diet. Concentrations of large numbers of bedding bluegill produce an odor, which is detectable by experienced anglers.

World Record - 4 pounds, 12 ounces, caught in Ketona Lake, Alabama, in 1950.