In praise of bluegills: A pair of ‘gills share Fish of the Week honors

By Dale Bowman
Laura Hiestand with a big Green Lake bluegill. | Provided by guide Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris texted a photo of Laura Hiestand, of Lombard, with a big bluegill from Big Green Lake in Wisconsin. It was thick bodied and 9 1/4 inches long, according to Norris (

That gives a chance to celebrate bluegill, one of my top three fish along with river smallmouth bass and native brook trout from mountains streams.

In early August, Brian Athern caught his personal best bluegill.

“[It came] on my old favorite the Beetle Spin,” he emailed. “It was from a subdivision pond in Will County. Just under 12 inches.”

That’s a lifetime fish in my world.

Brian Athern’s PB bluegill.

FOTW, the celebration of big fish and their stories (the stories matter, as this one shows) around Chicago fishing, runs Wednesdays in the paper Sun-Times. The online posting here at goes up at varied days of the week, depending on what is going on the wide world of the outdoors.

To make submissions, email ( or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).

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