Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
Bluegills were originally found in western New York and in Lake Champlain, but owing to stocking they are now widely distributed in the state, with the exception of some cold lakes and streams in the Adirondacks. Bluegills frequent calm, weedy waters, with docks, logs, and lily pad beds all providing shelter for these fish. Large bluegills stay in deeper water during the day and move to nearshore areas in morning and evening to feed. They are frequently stocked in farm ponds and other small ponds as forage fish.
Bluegills feed on many forms of natural foods, especially small crustaceans, insects, and plant material. They average 8 inches in length; a few may reach or exceed 10 inches, but these are exceptional. They are spunky, though not spectacular fighters when hooked. Their flesh is delicious, making them one of the most sought-after panfish in New York.
Distribution of bluegill in NY state. Dark dots represent where actual samples of bluegill were taken. White dots represent historic distributions.
An image of the bluegill sunfish is also available for download.