The weather in West Michigan is warming so it's time to get the kids, the rods, and reels and catch some bluegill.

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What's a Bluegill?

Photo taken in Minnesota, United States
Cory Voecks/Getty Images/EyeEm

If you don't know what bluegill is and you live in Michigan you may want to get outdoors a little more.

Bluegill is one of the easiest fish to catch and to me, one of the best-eating fish on the planet. Bluegill is from the sunfish family and has a lot of other names like bream, brim, sunny, or copper nose.

You can find bluegill in most lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams in Michigan. The nice part about bluegill fishing is for the most part they are not that hard to find or catch.

How Big Do Bluegill Get?

Huge Sunfish.
George Peters/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Most of the time you catch a lot of small bluegills while fishing for them but it is a great way to introduce kids to fishing.

Bluegills can get all the way up to 12 inches long and weigh as much as 4.5 pounds. If you know a place that has them regularly that size, please let me know where it is.

How To Catch Bluegill

Ty Wallace/Getty Images/iStockphoto

You don't need much at all in the tackle department to catch bluegill. A simple hook baited with a worm, nightcrawler, or wax worm will do the trick. In the warmer weather, they will hang near weed beds to feed and hide from predators.

You can find bluegill often near docks, boats, and swimming rafts. Many Michigan parks with lakes have fishing docks to help you get closer to the fish.

A young girl holding the fish she caught
woogies1/Getty Images/iStockphoto

As you can see from the photo above, a child's toy fishing pole will work just fine. All you need is to tie a hook to your line, maybe add a split shot sinker to get your line down fast and you can fish off the bottom or use a bobber to tell you are getting bites.

fly fishing for bluegills with panfish popper fly
stammphoto/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Now if you get into some bigger gills it may help to have a full-size light action rod and reel with a 4 to 6-pound test line on them. The bluegill in the picture above was caught on a popper.

A popper resembles a bug or flies that hang around water. You use a clear bobber with a leader line behind it with the popper tied to it. I usually use a 36-inch leader line but you can adjust that for what works for you. Like the name says, you pop it along and reel the line in slow and watch for the splash behind your clear bobber so you know when to set the hook. This type of fishing is more for the advanced fisherman and it helps if the water is calm early in the morning or that last hour before dark.

Eating Bluegill

2lbgil/Getty Images/iStockphoto
2lbgil/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Yes, you can eat bluegill but be careful, you eat a mess of these and you may not want to eat any other kind of fish after.

There is no size limit on them in Michigan but just know you can only keep 25 per day. Depending on how you like to clean fish, it helps to keep bigger bluegill because you get more meat and it also allows the smaller ones to get bigger.

Bluegill never goes out of season in Michigan and you can find them all year long. I have found when they bed in the spring is when you catch the bigger ones. They can also be found in deeper water as the weather warms up in the heat of the summer.

Getty Images/Cavan Images RF
Getty Images/Cavan Images RF

I know there are more ways to catch bluegills, but if you are just starting out hopefully, this little bit of info helps get you and your kids out of the house and catching some fish.

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