Species image: Illustration Credit: Curtis Atwater

What it looks like

  • small, very deep-bodied fish
  • back and sides are green to brown with faint, dark bars
  • belly is silver to yellow
  • black ear flap with no pale edge
  • black spot at rear end of dorsal fin
  • unnotched dorsal fin with 10 to 11 spines
  • 3 anal fin spines
  • small mouth – ends before the middle of the eye


  • length: 15-22.5 centimetres (6-9 inches)
  • weight: 200 grams (0.4 pounds)
  • Ontario record: 800 grams (1.8 pounds)

Similar fish

Where it’s found

Range of the Bluegill in Ontario

Species distribution map (modified from Mandrak and Crossman, 1992)


  • plentiful in many southern Ontario waters
  • use Fish ON-Line, an interactive mapping tool, to find specific lakes and rivers


Bluegill prefer:

  • warmer lakes and ponds
  • slow-moving, vegetated streams
  • clear waters with some weed growth

Angling tips

  • small fish form large, loose schools in shallow water near the shelter of weeds, docks, bridges or other cover
  • bigger fish tend to stay by themselves, occasionally collecting in small groups
  • feed all day
  • easy to catch from shore and provide excellent action for children
  • aggressive feeders, take bait readily and fight well on light tackle
  • light line and small hooks work best
  • try dangling live bait from a small bobber, fly-fishing, casting small lures, slow-trolling or drifting

Common baits

  • small plugs, spinners or jigs
  • live bait, like worms or insects
  • add natural bait to an artificial lure to make it more appealing