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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 07:42am - Nov 27,10
Posts: 54
Location: USA

Post Posted: 08:17pm - Dec 7,10 
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Just read an interesting article about what size fish to keep for eating, I don't remember all the type or sizes BUT the two I do remember were:
Bluegills under 9 inches.
Crappies under 13 inches.
I can't say I disagree with either of them, bigger crappie just don't eat as good as the 10 inchers and I couldn't kill a gill 9 inches or over, just a good look and a quick pic and back he goes. For me a 6-7 inch gill is perfect eaten size.

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Joined: 10:35am - Feb 11,03
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Post Posted: 09:16pm - Dec 7,10 
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Small bluegills unbreaded, quick fried and chilled, served on a bed of crushed ice with cocktail sauce.

Great appetizer.

The smaller size fish almost always taste better in my opinion.

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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 01:21pm - Aug 5,06
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Location: Lakewood, IL

Post Posted: 05:24am - Dec 8,10 
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That would be my opinion for wild/lake Panfish. Though I have a customer
that belongs to McGraw Hunt club and he pulls Blue Gills in the 9-10 inch
range. He has given me, several times, filets that are great eating. They look
like big Crappie fillets. The shoulders on these Gills are massive compared to
what we catch in Illinois lakes.

I wonder what they feed them and how they stock them. How long does it take
for them to get that big. He can take as many as he wants out of there. He takes
40 each outing and he goes every Saturday.

It is a very expensive club and I have not had the chance to get to them ponds.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 08:26am - Jul 1,06
Posts: 400

Post Posted: 12:21pm - Dec 8,10 
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I agree about tossing the big bucks back unless you are going to mount them. Smaller fish always taste better and best when eaten the same day cought.

Here is something my son in law tought me, cut a hole in the top of a milk jug, when you just get a few gill or whatever clean them and toss them in the milk jug. Put in just enough water to cover them and freeze it. When you get a couple more toss them in the jug and cover with water. When it is full, put it in the refridgerator one day before you want to fry them, you will have one big fish fry of tasty gill that are not freezer burned. Tupper ware or what ever works and you can do smaller portiions as well.

It's a great way to turn a few fish at a time into a feast.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 04:39pm - Feb 11,08
Posts: 154
Location: Sloburbia, Illinois

Post Posted: 11:05pm - Dec 9,10 
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Secondary tip- pickle those stunted gills! A pressure canner, bread and butter pikling salts mix, and some skinned 3-4 inch gills makes a fantastic winter treat on saltines with sliced onion. The vinager in the pickling mix will turn those rib bones into colligen (sp?), so all you need to do is get rid of the spine and skull. Not only will this help those over populated lakes out, but you get the chance to harvest some fish withoutthe guilt of taking the big 'uns out.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 07:42am - Nov 27,10
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Location: USA

Post Posted: 08:15am - Dec 10,10 
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Great posts...Mississippi; we used to pickle white bass fillets they were good too. Deadeye; I will be giving that I try, that is a great idea. Tom; I can't wait to get some small gills, that sounds goooood! Dajord; those gills at Mcgraws, might be a hybrid, of course I never had anything to do with it, but many, many, many moons ago I know of some juvenal deliquents that used to belly crawl under that razor wire fence and pull rainbow trout out of those ponds, I tried to show them the error of their ways, but they wouldn't listen.

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Joined: 12:03pm - May 9,06
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Location: Lake County

Post Posted: 09:43am - Dec 14,10 
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While I agree that most smaller fish of any species are better eating, the problem isn't with the quality of the fillet. This is mostly (solely?) a conservation issue. Most people understand slot limits and releasing trophies for gamefish, but don't associate the same with panfish. Bluegills are even a little trickier. Most people will agree to release the females of any species, since they are the spawners. For gills, the big males are every bit, if not more important. When a big male gill is removed from a spawning female, smaller "satellite" male gills will move in and spawn with the female. In this case, that large male's genes aren't passed on, since the smaller gills take over. Now, this is from memory taken from articles I read several years back, but you get the idea. We released several 10" gills last year, and kept our share of 8". On a fall transition day, I've been known to head over to Busse and keep a dozen 6" gills. Perfect fish sammiches!

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 09:45am - Oct 25,04
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Location: Plainfield

Post Posted: 12:55pm - Dec 14,10 
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Ya know that idea of pickling the small gills is great. I know of several ponds that are over run with those dinks. I gotta try that this year. If anyone has a more detailed method please post it.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 07:42am - Nov 27,10
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Location: USA

Post Posted: 05:07pm - Dec 14,10 
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Tinyfisher I agree 100 percent, I personally never keep a gill over 8 and if your eating 10 inch gills you shouldn't be fishing, for me the 6, 7 and 8's are perfect for fish frys, I very seldom will keep more than 6 or 7 at a time, thats 12 or 14 fillets and with some taters an beans I'm good, maybe a couple of Miller high lifes....

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 08:26am - Jul 1,06
Posts: 400

Post Posted: 05:25pm - Dec 14,10 
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Hey, LF you knew some trout stealers at McGraws too, they tried to tell me they cought them bows under the Rt 20 bridge behind the cop shop. I guess it's hard to keep a secret like a little creek stuffed with bows. If ya get cought out there though they don't fool around, your gonna see the back seat of a squad for sure.

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Joined: 03:41pm - Jan 5,10
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Location: Down yonder,up here ,over by dere

Post Posted: 08:05pm - Dec 14,10 
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Had bluegills for dinner tonight ,it doesn't get any better than those first ice gills!Another reason to release those big bulls,unlike other species of fish the male bluegill guards the nest.When a male becomes sexually active their growth rate slows dramatically,if those 7 inchers can't get to the nest to spawn because a 10 inch male is on the bed it'll continue to grow until he's the boss,remove that 10 incher and the 7 moves in, spawns and never grows to 8". A hand full of good anglers can harvest most of the bedding males from a good sized pond in just one spring,causing a stunted population for years to come. It really is that fragile.The gills were from Busse Woods,a lake that the boys and I used to catch hundreds of 7-1/2 to 8-1/2 inch fish every winter,now a 7 is a rare fish.I like the 15 fish limit on Cook County waters and hope it helps.

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