A big part of being an outdoors person is conservation. We appreciate the beauty and nature more than most, and sometimes that means being extra responsible in your outdoor activitites. In this case, the Minnesota DNR is advising anglers to throw back larger bluegills (sunfish), to help prevent stunting the species' population.

Larger blue gills protect the eggs in the nesting colonies. When they are caught, smaller male bluegills move in. Without the competition of the bigger fish, the smaller males spawn younger and smaller, creating a ripple effect of smaller blue gills and less population.  Nature sure is weird, isn't it?

So the Minnesota DNR is advising fishermen and women to keep the smaller blue gills to eat, and let the bigger ones do their job. It's better for everyone in the long run.

Other interesting facts about sunfish:

  • 16 million are harvested in Minnesota every summer
  • released fish have a high chance of survival and will return to their nest to guard it after being released
  • Spawning sunfish are easier to catch because they are aggressive when protecting the nest. So it's easier to catch the big ones, but you should really release them