Dark olive-green back and sides yellow or reddish below; dark vertical bars usually present on sides; chin and gill covers bright blue; black, flexible tip at rear of gill cover; seldom exceed 8 inches.
This fish is not commonly found in the western Iowa streams but in occasionally found in most eastern Iowa interior rivers. It is very abundant in the backwaters and sloughs of the Mississippi River.
Aquatic insects, small fish and crayfish.
3 lbs 2 oz; 12.88 in. - Farm Pond, Madison County, July 1986 - Phil Algreen, Earlham, Iowa
Use small hooks (#8) with a long shank when fishing with live bait for Bluegill.
Bluegill is the most abundant and widespread member of the sunfish family in Iowa. It is found in nearly all waters of the state but is far more abundant in lakes and ponds than is streams and rivers.
Bluegill reproduce over a wide time period, usually from late May to early August in Iowa, but peak spawning occurs in early June. Water temperatures during the spawning season are 70 to 80 degrees F. Males construct nests in water from 1 to 4 feet in depth along the shoreline, over diverse substrate materials, but sand and gravel are preferred. The nests are saucer-shaped depressions about 1 to 2 feet in diameter. From the shore, the colony of nests resembles "elephant tracks". The pugnacious males often build nests, almost touching adjoining nests. It is quite common to find as many as 50 nests in a 75-foot radius. Most nests are only 2 to 3 inches deep, and the male fish keep them fanned free of silt.
Growth of bluegill varies widely with population density. High population density retards growth while the opposite occurs with low density. Bluegill will reach 1 to 2 inches in length on the average in their first year of life. Most bluegill in Iowa attain lengths of 3.5, 4.5, and 6 inches in their second, third, and fourth year of life. Bluegills mature during the second year under suitable conditions, but slower growth will delay maturity to the third year. Bluegill attain a length of up to 12 inches and weigh up to 2 pounds, but most bluegill caught by anglers seldom exceed 8 inches. The Iowa record bluegill was 12 7/8 inches long, weighed 3 pounds, 2 ounces and was caught in a farm pond.