Scott Mackenthun of the Minnesota DNR shows you how to identify between male and female bluegills and then explains why it is an important to know the difference.

Identifying Bluegills: Male vs. Female

There are a few ways to make the distinction between male and female bluegills.

One of the ways you can tell the difference between a male and female is to look at the black ear tabs. On male bluegills the ear tabs will be much longer and compared to the female.

Another difference is in the color of the fish. Generally males are going to be much darker and then females. Males will also have a much more pronounced forehead, whereas a female fish will have a a sloping forehead.

We certainly want to encourage folks to harvest the smaller fish and let the larger fish go and then at a finer scale if you can we really want anglers to distinguish between the males and females.

The goal is to kept those larger males in the body of water, because we want those big males building and protecting the nests.

If you have the chance to select between the two and you are going to keep some larger fish for the pan try to go home with those females.