Originally Posted by Ninja
Damn Mitch. I remember catching a quite few that size at a certain lake here a few years back. But, I haven't seen many like that since.
Yeah, they definitely aren't the norm! That lake is one I don't get to often but it will spoil a panfisherman. Catching 7" Sunfish and 10" Crappies just isn't the same after that haha. I watched a video yesterday on the the diminishing Sunfish size here in the Midwest and they obviously pointed the finger at anglers and over-harvest.
Bluegills were seen as a never ending resource and since it's a meat fishery, anglers were striving to keep the largest fish for consumption. As those 10" Gills get depleted the standards start dropping to 9" and then 8" and then progressively less. Now that those big Males are gone the younger males in the population start to mature earlier and they put a lot more of their energy into reproduction rather than growth and then fill the void that was previously filled with big fish.