The Bluegill is a freshwater fish which can also be referred to as a bream, brim or copper nose. Being a member of the Sunfish family, these fish are native to the waters of North America and can be found from Quebec to northern Mexico. Bluegill are also the most common fish caught in Illinois, Arkansas, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Louisiana and Texas. These fish have an excellent taste and are very easy to catch, and can be caught using anything from flies to hotdogs for bait.
The most notable feature of the bluegill is a blue or black ear, which is actually an extension of the gill cover. The name comes from the bright blue edge which can be seen on the gill rakers and the fish can grow up to 16 inches in length. Bluegills have a bold nature and no fear of humans, which is one of the main reasons why they are so easy to catch. Mostly these fish will bite on brightly colored bait in shades of orange, yellow or red and the prime time to catch them is dawn and dusk.
Because of the size and method of cooking, sometimes bluegills are referred to as “panfish,” and they are notorious sneaky fish which typically steal bait off the fisherman’s hook. A bluegill hits hard on the hook, so you will know if you have caught one, and these fish are prevalent in the many waters of Missouri. Below is a tasty recipe for bluegill which is sure to be a crowd pleaser:
Cajun Bluegill Recipe
- 1 lb. bluegill fillet
- 1/3 c. yellow corn meal
- 1 ½ c. all purpose flour
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 egg
- ½ c. milk
- Corn oil for frying pan
- Combine cornmeal, 1 cup flour and all spices into a small bowl and combine well. Beat egg and milk together in a separate bowl. Remove the skin for the bluegill fillets and wash with ice cold water. Dry filets with a paper towel.
- Put ½ c. of flour into a plastic baggie and add bluegill fillets and shake to evenly coat the fish with mixture. Dip the fish one by one into the egg mixture and then into the bowl of cornmeal, flour and spice mixture.
- In a large cast iron frying pan, add corn oil until ½ inch deep and heat to approximately 375˚. Place fillets into oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, approximately 45-90 seconds each side depending on thickness. Place on paper towels to drain off excess oil and enjoy. Recipe serves two people.
Bluegill can be served with collard greens, macaroni and cheese, cornbread and hush puppies or any other type of side dish preferred. Enjoy!