Greetings from Blessed Bayou. We hope everyone is doing well after the intense winter weather we had during the month of February. With Spring just around the corner, it is imperative to ensure that your lake is set up to take full advantage of the most productive season in freshwater fisheries within the state of Texas. As I detailed in last month’s newsletter, late winter/early fall is a great time to add forage species to your lake. In this newsletter, I decided that we would give the most important forage species its own newsletter, in order to stress its importance.
The coppernose bluegill(Lepomis macrochirus purpurescens) is what we here at Blessed Bayou refer to as the backbone of largemouth bass management. To pack on pounds, largemouth bass require a high quantity of food consistently throughout the year. Bluegill are iteroparous, meaning they reproduce multiple times in their life. In fact, they reproduce multiple times per year: they start spawning as soon as the water temperature rises above around 60 degrees and don’t stop until it drops below 60 again. Females also spawn a ridiculous quantity of eggs, with females releasing around 60,000 eggs per spawn! In addition, coppernose bluegill have much more staying power, so to speak, in your lake. What I mean by this refers to two things. Their strong instinct to hug tightly to cover, and their fortunate appearance that is less eye catching than certain other forage species, such as golden shiners. The staying power of bluegill paired with the sheer number of fish that they can churn out means that bluegill are often able to establish successfully (i.e. consistent population with balanced age structure) within a lake and be a reliable food source for largemouth bass.
Have a feeding program established in your lake for feed trained largemouth bass or catfish? Good news! Bluegill also will readily consume fish pellets, giving them even more potential to grow and reproduce vigorously. Curious about why we use coppernose bluegill, rather than a native subspecies of bluegill such as Lepomis macrochirus speciosus? Our coppernose bluegill are hardier, grow faster, and accept pelleted food easier than native bluegill. These factors mean that these bluegill can reproduce more, establish better, and are more likely to reach sizes that make them a fun fight in their own right within a lake predominantly dedicated to largemouth bass.
Whether you are looking to stock your pond for the first time with bluegill, or simply trying to beef your numbers up to maximize the growth potential of your bass in this coming year, adding bluegill to your lake during the month of March is highly advisable, as this way, you will be able to take full advantage of the iteroparity of the bluegill. While not all companies engaging in fish stocking are able to provide sexually mature bluegill, we are able to offer bluegill of sufficient size to breed shortly after they are placed into your lake, ensuring that you have the best possible chance to strengthen the backbone of your largemouth bass fishery.