Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

WK Outdoors – Best Time of Year for Bluegill and Redear Sunfish Around the Bend

wk outdoors sunfish 300WESTERN Ky. (4/26/13) – Early May in Kentucky is not only a good time to set out tomato plants in backyard gardens, but it's the start of the best fishing of the year for bluegill and redear sunfish.
 
When water temperatures approach 70 degrees, these two native sunfish species move into the shallows of ponds, small lakes and large reservoirs in preparation for spawning.
 
"If I was to pick a time here it would be the second week in May," said Paul Rister, western district fishery biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, who manages fish populations in Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.
 
Both lakes support excellent populations of the sunfish species. "When they are spawning, generally the redear sunfish will be out from the banks in a little deeper water than the bluegills," said Rister.
 
Anglers should try to time their fishing trips to coincide with rising or stable lake levels. "By the time bluegills and redears go on the bed, both lakes are usually stable at summer pool," said Rister. The ideal fishing area is a shallow embayment that has flooded vegetation on the mudflats, close to gravel shores.
 
Rister said meal worms and crickets are the preferred live baits for redear sunfish, while red worms and crickets are tops for bluegills.
 
The recommended strategy for both species is suspending the bait under a float. "Redears want the bait close to the bottom, with as little weight (split shot) on the line as possible," said Rister.
 
Bluegill strike bait suspended a little shallower than redears, along weed lines. Light wire, long-shank hooks in size # 8 or #10 are recommended for both species.
 
These sunfish spawn in colonies, their saucer-shaped nests clustered together. Spawning can continue into June, if water conditions are ideal.
 
The redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus) is commonly called the "shellcracker" because it likes to feed on mussels, snails and insects on the bottom. A special plate of teeth in the back of the fish's throat enables them to crush shells. The preferred habitat for redear sunfish is clear water where rooted aquatic vegetation often grows.
 
On Aug. 27, 2004, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to give the redear sunfish sport fish status, and protected populations from overharvest by creating a statewide 20-fish daily creel limit.
 
Other Kentucky waters that support quality populations of redear sunfish include Beaver Lake in Anderson County, Elmer Davis Lake in Owen County, McNeeley Lake in Jefferson County and Pan Bowl Lake in Breathitt County.
 
The bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) is arguably the most popular panfish in Kentucky. An abundant species that's present in all the state's river drainages, bluegill are easy to catch and their white flesh is sweet and firm. Bluegill thrive in ponds and small lakes across Kentucky.
 
Statewide, there's no daily creel limit on bluegills, but Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) lakes have restrictions on the number of bluegills and redears that can be kept.
 
Redear sunfish and bluegill are willing strikers all day long, perfect for introducing a child or adult novice to fishing.
 
The license year expired Feb. 28, 2013. You'll need to buy a new fishing license, available in the sporting goods section of department stores and tackle shops, to fish now. Licenses and permits may also be purchased online from the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife homepage at fw.ky.gov or by calling 1-877-598-2401. The entire Spring Fishing Frenzy series will be posted at this same website for future access to these articles.
 
Art Lander Jr. has been writing about the outdoors since the 1970s. He is a staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine.

WK Outdoors
Information provided by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Photo provided by Seth Stewart
Visit the WK Outdoors website at www.wkoutdoors.com

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

button coupons
button classifieds

In Other News...

Madisonville Insurance Executive Elected Vice Chairman of Baptist Health System Board

MADISONVILLE, KY. (12/18/14) — Allen Rudd, president of Rudd Insurance Inc. of Madisonville, will begin a two-year term… Read More

West Broadway Club Allows Students Opportunity to Embrace Music

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (12/19/14) — West Broadway Music Club, under the direction of Ruth Hardy, performed Christmas carols… Read More

Most Read This Week

December 16, 2014 9884

Coal Miner Fatally Injured in Underground Mining…

in Top News For All Sites by Dick Brown
December 14, 2014 8695

Muhlenberg Pays Homage to U.S. Armed Forces

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
December 17, 2014 6875

Elderly Couple Found Shot to Death in Muhlenberg

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 17, 2014 6498

Three Men Charged with Burglary

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 15, 2014 4889

Hopkins County Woman Charged Second Time in Two…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
December 15, 2014 4344

Woman Leads Police on High-Speed Chase in Stolen…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police
December 18, 2014 3628

Cat Scratching over Dog Ownership Escalates

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
December 15, 2014 3359

Vehicle Careens down 150 Foot Embankment with…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 16, 2014 3229

Highway Crews Pre-Treating Roadways for Potential…

in Hopkins News by Keith Todd
December 16, 2014 3200

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Dec. 16, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department

Stories Trending Today

December 18, 2014 3628

Cat Scratching over Dog Ownership Escalates

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
December 19, 2014 2789

Dawson Springs Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Detective Sean McCance
December 19, 2014 2454

Woman Flown to St. Mary's after Two-Car Collision

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 19, 2014 2326

Vehicle Explodes into Flames on Pride Avenue

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gwen Smith
December 19, 2014 1788

Armstrong Mine to Layoff 39 by End of Day

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
December 18, 2014 1744

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Sheila Hopper
December 18, 2014 1702

UK Track and Field Announces Initial Eight…

in General Sports For All Sites by UK Athletics
December 18, 2014 1657

DeArmond Looks Back as Retirement Nears

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 18, 2014 1630

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Dec. 18, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
December 18, 2014 1444

Madisonville Insurance Executive Elected Vice…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Kristy Quinn

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss