What Do Bluegill Eat

Bluegills are known for the voracious appetite despite being relatively small fish. But what do bluegill eat? Understanding bluegill’s natural diet all year long and where their prey is located can help increase your chances of getting more catch. Besides being fun to catch bluegills are also very delicious. They have more flavor, and their flesh is firmer. That explains why many anglers prefer fishing for them. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the bluegills diet.

Fathead minnows

Bluegill love fathead minnows it is one of their favorite meals. If you want to catch trophy bluegill, then you won’t go wrong is you use fathead minnows as your bait. The good thing about fathead minnows is that they are found in just about every waterway in the United States. Minnows are not only a delicacy for bluegills but also for other trophy fish such as small bass, catfish, yellow perch, crappie, chain pickerel, and bullheads. So, if you use Fathead minnows as bait, then you are guaranteed that you won’t go home empty-handed.


You have probably seen videos of a bluegill fish jumping out from water catch grasshopper that has landed at the wrong place. Grasshopper is also part of the bluegill diet, especially during late spring and summer, where they are found in abundant. Grasshoppers work very well as bait, but keeping them alive is the greatest challenge. Bluegills are highly intelligent and often snub bait when they notice that the grasshopper is not alive. So if you want to catch bluegill using grasshoppers as bait, then you need to keep them alive. Grasshoppers are also great baits for small bass and yellow perch.


Shads are prime food targets for many freshwater fish species, including bluegill. Bluegills like shad and makeup and a huge chunk of their diet. Threadfin shad, Gizzard shad, and small American shad all make up a good portion of bluegill diet. Bluegills have a small mouth, meaning that they can only feed on shad that are still young. Shad are excellent bait for bluegill but are not readily available. So, if you want to use shad as bait, then you need to fish one from the local river, lake or reservoir. It is also important to note that keeping them alive for long as the bait is not easy. Luckily, it is one of the most loved foods by bluegill and won’t waste time going at them as soon as they notice their presence. This means that chances of your bait dying before it is spotted and captured by bluebill is minimal. Shad is also an excellent bait for crappie.


Zooplanktons are the primary food source for young bluegill. All bluegills begin by feeding on zooplankton along the water column. However, bluegills still continue to feed on zooplankton during adulthood, especially during winter, when prey is in short supply. It is quite challenging to use zooplankton as bait because they are nearly microscopic. However, you can see zooplanktons when they are in large groups. Zooplankton mostly attracts small bluegill hence only ideal for people who want to attract small bluegills.

Freshwater shrimp

Freshwater shrimp and available in abundance in lakes and reservoirs. They mostly hide in the bank during the day and only venture out to feed at night. Bluegills love freshwater shrimp, but they don’t eat them as much as they want because it is quite tricky to catch them. Bluegills feed during the day while Freshwater shrimp feeds during the night. They only catch them during the transition periods of dawn to nightfall,


Most fish species prey on shiners, including bluegills. They are ideal baits, especially if you want a trophy catch. Bluegills rely heavily on shiners as their primary source of food during fall and summer. Other trophy fish also love shiners, including bass, yellow perch, catfish, bullheads, and crappie. Shiners bait is ideal when fishing bluegills along with other fish species.

Aquatic insects

Aquatic insects make a vast portion of the bluegill diet. They consume a lot of aquatic insects, including insect laver, water bugs, and even mosquito larvae. Bluegills consume aquatic insects mostly during spring and summer months when they are available in plenty. Aquatic insects can make good bait for fishing bluegill, along with other fish species, including bass and catfish.

When it the best time to fish bluegill?

The best time to fish bluegill is early in the morning, midafternoon, and midday. This is the time when bluegills are actively feeding and will quickly get lured by your bait. Fishing at night is not recommended because they are mostly inactive during the night. They are also vulnerable to predators like bass and walleye that thrive at night.

Final Words

In conclusion, bluegills have a wide diet that keeps them well fed throughout the year. The item mentioned above makes up a considerable chunk of their food. Using any of them as bait will almost guarantee you that you will catch bluegills

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