Panfish Fishing

Panfish size?

5/27/16 @ 10:23 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 51 posts
9/23/23 @ 8:59 AM
User since 1/7/02
What size fish to keep for eating has been discussed on many forum topics here on Lake-Link. There is the argument that a fish is too small and not worthy of keeping as well as releasing the larger fish for spawning purposes. If you want to get picky about what to keep it has to be on a basis of the particular body of water you are fishing. Some lakes produce large numbers of fish with most being average size and some produce smaller numbers of fish that get to what is considered bigger size. Maybe more important than size is the numbers of fish kept. I see no issue with harvesting what you want, within the regulations, and then utilizing them for a meal as long as they don’t go to waste. Anglers fish for different reasons, some just for sport, relaxation or to get a meal or two. To each their own and worry more about yourself than what others do. 
9/23/23 @ 12:40 AM
User since 7/7/15
If you can't get decent fillets from the fish why keep them? I am not picking the meat from between the bones on pan fish! I can afford to buy groceries. Talk to someone that has got a fish bone stuck in their throat and you will understand why.
Panfish size? photo by jemstone90
Panfish size? photo by jemstone90
Panfish size? photo by jemstone90
9/22/23 @ 6:36 PM
User since 12/25/09
Fished wing dams today, sad to see guys filling their coolers with 5 and 6 inchers. Lots of small gills but they don't have much of a chance to reach decent size with all the I got my limit mind set I see on the river expecially in the winter here on the big muddy.
5/28/23 @ 2:56 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 @ 7:14 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 @ 6:31 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 @ 8:25 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 @ 8:12 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 @ 1:01 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 @ 7:26 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 @ 2:12 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 @ 6:39 AM
PRO MEMBER User since 1/22/21

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

6/19/22 @ 8:15 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
Displaying 1 to 15 of 51 posts

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