Panfish Fishing

Panfish size?

5/27/16 @ 11:23 AM
User since 1/20/09

With the new regulations on some WI lakes, does anyone feel there should be a size limit? I have my personal sizes at 7.5" for bluegills in the winter and 8" in the summer. I ask because I have seen people with buckets of bluegills around 5" then brag about how they caught their limit without any mention of the size. As for crappie and perch, I usually aim for 9" or bigger. I also know it's everyone's right to keep what they think but I personally prefer quality over quantity.

Displaying 1 to 15 of 48 posts
5/28/23 @ 3:56 PM
User since 4/2/02
I don’t usually pan fish. But we got into some really big bluegills on a small lake the other day. Released them. These fish are very vulnerable right now. I would think a small lake could easily be affected this time of year with panfish harvest and a low keep limit could help. It was very easy to catch some really big panfish the other day for us-because of structure on this almost structure less lake.
It really took very little talent. They could see us, but they were feeding so heavily, we could take our pick. Literally. Just  my two cents here. Not really a pan fisherman. 
1/25/23 @ 8:14 PM
User since 1/19/07

Studies have shown that releasing the biggest gills is what produces the biggest gills overall and is best for the fishery. I say let people keep all the 5"ers they want and more power to them. I release the biggest ones I catch (usually >8" or so)

1/18/23 @ 7:31 PM
User since 1/10/21

MN has regs that on certain lakes you may not keep more than 5 fish. !0-11"" bluegills are not uncommon on those lakes. Many fisherman avoid those lakes, but those are the ones that I prefer. They have a 5 fish limit for crappies on some as well. One in particular that I fish in summer coughs up 9-10" bluegills and 10-12" crappies in one spot. If I wanted to, I could take the 5+5, but I don't. 

One lake in my area here has a reduced bag limit of 10 bluegills. That still isn't low enough to keep the fish hogs away. Wish they would drop it to 5 fish. That would help the lake to become a true trophy lake. 

9/14/22 @ 9:25 AM
ol sarge
ol sarge
User since 3/8/04

Caught these guys from a hole right off the highway. I get a lot of strange looks, but they are not fished for at all.

Panfish size? photo by ol sarge
Panfish size? photo by ol sarge
Panfish size? photo by ol sarge
8/29/22 @ 9:12 PM
User since 3/17/06

Some nice sunfish from a wade-to lake. Released.  My bud brought a digital scale,  the big punkinseed was a bit more than 1/4 lb below state record, despite being a male. Caught on 8 inch worm, crazy it would hit that

Panfish size? photo by jaybeeturtle
Panfish size? photo by jaybeeturtle
7/26/22 @ 2:01 PM
.Long Barrels
User since 12/9/14

FJW,  looks like a spot I have.  I can see by the pics they are an identical type fish.  even if you do keep them they are gross and just littered with black parasites and white grubs.  I have caught many in the 10-10.5 range.  Amazing little lake, but it could get raped fast if word got out.  I never tell a sole about the lake,  I keep it to me and the family.  Catch and release only.  I see people come there and catch the shallow spawners every year,  but after that,  not a person fishes panfish.

I can see by your pics they are probably littered with black parasites as well,  esp when they have them on the fins and outside of the skin.

7/25/22 @ 8:26 PM
User since 8/29/06

Gills from 6.5" - 7.5" are whole fryers. Anything over gets filleted. Those crispy tails are quite delicious.

7/25/22 @ 3:12 PM
Capt Rick
PRO MEMBER User since 5/27/11

Ok i see so many saying a bigger size limit, But yet jump all over a person keeping a limit of smaller fish. So are the same people going to be mad and complain if the size limit is say 71/2 inches and they keep a limit every time out. Yes there is no pleasing everyone at the same time. I keep gills about 7 to 71/2 inches and have thrown back bigger. And I don't fish for them during the spawn. Same with any fishing I do, leave them alone during spawning time, that's not fishing that is catching and molesting them. I quit fishing bass tourney's because of them being held during spawning time. Ripping fish of beds is not being a big person in my book. 

Yes all that is my choice and what you choose is your choice as well. If the license allows you to fish and keep them then complain to the DNR and have the rules changed. If the body of water has plenty of fish or stunted fish there may be a reason that you are allowed so may fish, hmm the science and all the testing the DNR does may have a lot to do with fish limits. And before you jump on limits and so forth, get the Data from the DNR and there research so you make your self look like you reached puberty when you want to change limits or laws.

6/25/22 @ 7:39 AM
PRO MEMBER User since 1/22/21

That’s a damn nice gill Fjw!!!! Will be an awesome mount!! 

6/19/22 @ 9:15 PM
User since 9/22/11

There's a lake I fish on a regular basis,  I no longer keep any of the gills I catch in this lake. It's unreal the size of these fish in this small deep lake. My friends want me to take them but I will not take anyone. I take one person to this place it will be all over.my personal best was a 12 incher last summer, yes I kept it , its at the taxidermy shop. 

Panfish size? photo by fjw
Panfish size? photo by fjw
Panfish size? photo by fjw
5/10/22 @ 9:58 PM
User since 9/13/13

After reading many comments over the years I can see most of us have the same concerns, only different solutions. My main concern with more and more regulations is who is available to enforce them. Most of our wardens are kept quite busy with with other problems. I haven`t seen a warden on a lake or dock in years. At my age I`m very happy to just be able to be on the water, and try not to worry about what other people might or might not be doing.  Life is to short, try to make the most of it.

5/10/22 @ 1:51 PM
PRO MEMBER User since 11/5/17

I agree with your post. I should have added that lake size does matter.    I consider any land bound lake under 500 acres small.     CARPIO 

5/10/22 @ 1:17 PM
User since 1/8/18

I really think one of the biggest factors to consider when keeping panfish is the size of the lake.  

Look at Lake Emily for example.  If I remember correct, the winter of 2014-2015, that lake produced like I never seen before.  Limits of crappie/gills (25 a person at the time) within a few hours and the crappies would average 10+" and the gills around 8.5-9.5".

This was my go to lake for years and during the winter, seeing 15 other guys out on the ice was a busy day.  That winter of 2014-2015, word got out about the fishing and the lake looked like a city on the weekend.  It literally took one winter to wipe out a 268 acre lake.

I fished this lake a lot since then with not much to show for as far as panfish go. Haven't caught a crappie out there since that winter.  Haven't caught a gill out there worth keeping since that winter.

Last year they finally put a 10 fish limit for panfish and FINALLY put a slot on the pike which the lake needed really bad.  I still read posts from that thread and was disappointed to see some of the gills people were keeping this past winter but it is what it is.

The bottom line is that it is up to us, as fisherman, to be responsible with our harvest choices.  Just because something is legal, doesn't mean it's something you should do. I will never keep more than 10 panfish in a single outing, but that's just me and I know everyone is different.  I think if everyone would just become a little more considerate of our resources, we would start seeing better results.  Just my 2 cents.


5/10/22 @ 8:17 AM
PRO MEMBER User since 11/5/17

I don’t know where you guys fish nor do I care.  I only know that I’ve lived on Tichigan for 37 years and fished an AVERAGE of around 140 days a year!   I know this is so because I chart EVERY DAY of fishing.   Sometimes I only fish for an hour but I do get out.    NOW.    As long as I’ve fished the gill population has Not changed!!!   In fact the size has increased since bass size limits increased and CPR is common.    8-  8 1/4” gills are common and there are enough 9” ers.around.     Crappies are declining somewhat as is the length but not enough to complain about.    Another example is DELEVAN.  look how hard it gets pounded!  This has been going on for 25? Years and  still produces quality size and numbers of pannies.        CARPIO 

5/10/22 @ 7:33 AM
drummer boy
drummer boy
User since 3/14/08

LB I agree, 

Displaying 1 to 15 of 48 posts

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