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.

In Other News...

Benton Middle School Duke Talent Program

BENTON, Ky. (10/20/14) — Congratulations to the following seventh graders who qualified for the Duke Talent… Read More

Veterans Honored Nov. 8-11 at Land Between The Lakes

GOLDEN POND, Ky. (10/20/14) — Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area will join all federal agencies in… Read More

Most Read This Week

October 17, 2014 12083

UK Women's Soccer Welcomes Ole Miss, No. 5/4…

in General Sports For All Sites by UK Athletics
October 20, 2014 5763

Uncle Lee's in Greenville is Closing Its Doors…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by www.unclelees.com
October 17, 2014 3951

Single Vehicle Collision Results in One Injury

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper S. C. Recke
October 19, 2014 3853

Kentucky Energy Department Releases Virtual Solar…

in General News For All Sites by Dick Brown
October 16, 2014 3145

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 16, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 21, 2014 3073

UPDATE: Pedestrian Struck by Vehicle on Shamrock…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer C.P. Haynie
October 18, 2014 2811

Muhlenberg County Celebrates New Farmer’s Market

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 17, 2014 2795

Woman Arrested at Taco Bell for DUI

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 17, 2014 2717

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 17, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 2690

Man Charged for Assaulting Pregnant Wife

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department

Stories Trending Today

October 21, 2014 3073

UPDATE: Pedestrian Struck by Vehicle on Shamrock…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer C.P. Haynie
October 20, 2014 2031

Hopkins County Board of Education Recognizes…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
October 21, 2014 1958

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 21, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 21, 2014 1908

Man Charged for Switching Plates on Vehicle;…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 1612

Providence Police Reports Released

in Local (Webster) Top News by Chief Brent McDowell
October 22, 2014 1594

Failure to Signal Ends in Drug Arrest

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 21, 2014 1588

Arrival of Overpass Beams for I-69/Pennyrile Pkwy…

in General News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Keith Todd
October 21, 2014 1421

Alliance for a Drug-Free Owensboro-Daviess County…

in Owensboro News by Carla Shelton
October 21, 2014 1304

Meade County Set to Host Third Region Boys'…

in General Sports For All Sites by Steve LeMaster
October 21, 2014 1174

RWRA Sewer Repairs Starting Tomorrow

in Owensboro News by Abby Shelton

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
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