So we seined one of our hatchery ponds today for hand-painted bluegill. These days when people ask me which subspecies of bluegill they should stock if their goal is trophy bluegill, I tell them hand-painted. Here’s why:
We didn’t weigh the top fish, but the bottom one weighed 2.1 pounds. It came from a roughly 2/3-acre pond that has no predators, being a production pond, and which at any given point in time generally has somewhere between 15,000 and 30,000 bluegill in it. Bluegill don’t get as big in waters where they’re crowded; no fish does. And yet every time now that we seine one of our hand-painted ponds we’re getting two to four or more fish between 1.5 and 2 pounds, in addition to dozens in the 1 to 1.5-pound range.
Just think what these fish would do in your pond with a good predator population.