Lepomis macrochirus macrochirus
There are several varieties of bluegill available for fish and pond stocking. However, the most common are the northern bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus macrochirus) and the coppernose bluegill (L. macrochirus purpurescens). We recommend and stock coppernose bluegill. Their native habitat is similar to that of the Florida bass, occupying most of central and southern Florida as well as areas in southern Georgia. Male coppernose bluegill may be easily identified as adults by the distinct copper bands across the front of their heads and vertical bars along their sides. When put on an intensive supplemental feeding program, coppernose bluegill commonly grow faster and larger than native bluegill in small impoundments. This is partly due to their aggressive feeding behavior. Coppernose bluegill will routinely exceed one pound in size when managed with a regular feeding program.
Bluegill comprise the main-stay of the forage base in most ponds throughout the country. This is due in large part to their reproductive potential. Bluegill are colonial nest builders and are capable of spawning multiple times throughout the year. Females may produce 10,000-50,000 eggs per spawn. Bluegill primarily consume zooplankton, insects, and other invertebrates. Therefore, maintaining a fertile pond environment is necessary to maximize the reproduction and early growth of bluegill. Additionally, feeding bluegill a pelleted food will promote faster growth and a larger maximum size.
Bluegill fingerlings should be stocked into new or renovated ponds at a rate of 1,000-2,000 per acre from October through March. Fall or early winter stockings are recommended to allow for maximum bluegill growth and reproduction before the bass are introduced in June. In established ponds that have become "bass-crowded", intermediate-sized bluegill are often introduced at the rate of 500-2,000 per acre to directly feed stunted bass and enhance the reproductive capacity of the bluegill population.