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Help Bluegill "keepers"...

J

JoeW

Guest
OK- all that talk yesterday about smoking and cooking up Bluegills got me hungry, and there's a Bass/Bluegill pond near here in definite need of some Bluegill thinning! They run in size from 6 or 7 inches (not many!) down to the size of a quarter (most!). I don't usually keep fish, but I have kept "lunker" Bluegills and Perch- I know they're good! I scale them, take the head off, then "eviscerate" them (LOL! Cool word for gutting them!). I cook 'em, then lift the backbone and ribs out before eating. Man, I'm hungry for some fish I haven't bot at the grocery store!

shrug BUT- what I gotta ask, is how SMALL still makes them worthwhile to keep and cook up? At what point aren't they worthwhile for the pan? Let me know in inches, please, not fractions of an ounce! LOL!

I wouldn't be keeping the little ones, but they ARE really stunted and I figure if me and some other fishermen thin them out a little, it'll be healthier for the pond. Thanks. Best---- JoeW
 

Espyville Outdoors

Gold Member
Joe-

The rule of thumb that we use for keeping 'gills is no smaller than your hand, body-wise...not including the tail. But I have seen guys keep VERY small fish...which doesn't make any sense to me!!!

Hope that helps...

Chris
 
L

Larry

Guest
Joe,
If you have the patience(and filleting skills) they can be as small as 4 or 5 inches and still yield worthwhile fillets. I fillet ones that small all the time...there is nothing better on the plate than bluegill...in my kitchen anyways!My two cents And with that Panhandler I told you about...those tiny fish are a piece of cake to process.:D
 
J

JoeW

Guest
Joe-

The rule of thumb that we use for keeping 'gills is no smaller than your hand, body-wise...not including the tail. But I have seen guys keep VERY small fish...which doesn't make any sense to me!!!

Hope that helps...

Chris
Hi Chris- Yea, let me clarify and I agree with you that I don't keep the little ones either, as a matter of fact, I don't usually keep the BIG ones either! But this pond is really overcrowded with the little ones to the point where I just don't think they get a chance to grow up. So I figured: I want to eat fish + there's a bunch of little Bluegills handy = should I take home a bucketful? I'm thinking like Mo, though, that about 4" long is about the smallest I think would be worthwhile for the table, but 4" IS a big one for that pond! Ah me-- that pond used to be a pretty good Bass pond, but last several years the little gills have just crowded them out?

I am reminded of a trip with my wife and two young daughters. Rented a cabin for a week at Long Lake in NY and the girls were all excited to catch us all a fish dinner! Well, the only fish that were cooperating that day were the Perch--- little bitty 5-6 inchers! Kids were really disappointed when I kept throwing them back, so we eventually started keeping them. Well, you know how long it takes to fillet 24 little perch! To get a "handful" of fillets? LOL! Kid's loved it and felt so proud! Wifey and I let the kids eat most of them--- then later bolstered our dinner with hot dogs!

Just wish there was something to be done to that pond to get it healthy again! Best---- JoeW
 
L

Larry

Guest
Just wish there was something to be done to that pond to get it healthy again! Best---- JoeW
Drop a few big flathead catfish in it...they will level the playing field!:D
 
J

JoeW

Guest
Drop a few big flathead catfish in it...they will level the playing field!:D
Hah! Hadn't thought of that! Nice "biological" control method! Will flatheads grow in a pond? All the one's I've caught were in big rivers. The smaller ponds around here have bullheads, but I don't think any other cats.

Now- next thought is how to get a couple dozen of them INTO that pond! LOL! Ain't gonna happen by my hand! Best---- JoeWshrug
 
L

Larry

Guest
Will flatheads grow in a pond?
They do just fine feasting on bluegill in ponds around here...but I forgot...you're in a little more northern climate than me Joe. Hey...how's about pike?...could you put some of those in the pond?
 
J

JoeW

Guest
They do just fine feasting on bluegill in ponds around here...but I forgot...you're in a little more northern climate than me Joe. Hey...how's about pike?...could you put some of those in the pond?

There are flatheads around here, but I've only seen them in bigger rivers and creeks. I've seen some as long as a man's leg, but my best is about 10 pounds. Most lakes/ponds around here have bullheads--- nice one's too! But then again- I've never fished those smaller ponds for BIG cats- mebbe there are some in there?

I would really like to put some Northerns into that pond (and several others!). But #1: I'D have to catch them of a "tansportable" size, and #2 these are small ponds, maybe a quarter mile long by a couple hundred yds across. Don't know how many Northerns a pond like that would support. And #3: come to think of it, the DNR frowns upon such random stocking I think!

Ya know- reminded me- there IS one smaller pond near here-- it has bluegills, Bass, AND Pickeral! And ya know what- it's in GOOD balance! All fish are "nice" size- nothing huge (although I DID take a 5-lb Bass there- twice in the same summer, after losing him twice before! Lived in a log pile near shore!) I bet those Pick help the Bass keep the Bluegills under control!

You're an environmental genius! You out to be advisor to the Ohio DNR!

Hey- I'm getting some good info here, but I think I'm going to abandon my bucket full of tiny Bluegill idea. The ones in that pond I'm thinking about ARE just a mite smaller than what would make it worthwhile. Thanks all. Best---- JoeWshrug
 

cwd

Member
Joe, I keep any gills as large as my hand or larger.
Now for the small ones. Dave Barnett posted about canning fish.
He said small gills are great for canning.

Now if this pond is over run by stunted fish, you need to remove all of the small fish you can.
Throuing back all of the large fish.
This way the larger fish can reproduce a better qulity off spring.
by removing the smaller fish, you cut out the compatision for food. The larger do not have to compete with the smaller fish. you will also need to remove the smaller bass.
this way the larger bass will be able to help control the gill population.
as Moe said you can also introduce some cat fish into the pond.
It will take a couple of years, but sooner or latter you will be pulling nice big gills out.
I talking about gills in the 1 1/2 to 2 pound range.non hibread fish.
then you will be like me and hooked on the gills.
any fish 4 inches or larger will make a good meal if you have a mess of them. any thing 6 inches or bigger would be good for the smoker.
Like you I just scale cut the head off and clean them. Good Luck. and start chaseing them gills.LOL
 

dugger

Bronze Member
Use some to bait some throw lines and you will catch a fatty catfish then you dont gotta mess wid da itty bittys!!!!!!!
 

joe

New member
MY My two cents Remove v small 'gills use for bait. Slightly larger, don't fillet, just clean fry and eat. Also this middle size is good for fish boil. Clean them, while doing that make a broth with beer, onion, carrot, celery, lots of garlic, and fresh herbs. Simmer, not boil fish in stock carefully so as not to overcook. Basicly you are poaching whole fish. Serve in a bowl with crusty bread. You can add red new 'taters and sweetcorn before the fish too. Yummy!^!
 
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