Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
Coming up in a few weeks is the annual American Association of Veterinary Medicine conference in Chicago, IL. Lots of aquatics lectures are in the schedule, so we’ll have a series of updates post-conference. In honor of Illinois, this week’s fish is the state fish of Illinois, the bluegill. Bluegill are a freshwater fish in the sunfish family, cousins of the pumpkinseed and warmouth. It gets the name “blue” “gill” by having a bright blue color along its gill rakers. (Gill rakers are at the very forward part of a fish’s gill where all the smaller gill filaments attach). They live in shallow lakes and ponds all over the US west of the Rocky Mountains. My sister and I were camping at a small campground in Connecticut one summer and pulled a bunch of these out of their pond. If you are going fishing in freshwater sometime this summer, you are most likely to catch some of these fish. Make sure to check with your local fish & game office before heading out to catch some!