What Is A Coppernose Bluegill – Complete Breakdown

By Get Fishing •  Published: 01/12/23 •  5 min read

Anglers familiar with the Bluegill have probably heard them referred to as Coppernoses before. However, you may not be aware that this is actually a subspecies of the Bluegill species and not just a nickname. Check out this post to learn more about the Coppernose bluegill and how it differs from its parent species. 

What is a coppernose bluegill

What is a Coppernose Bluegill? 

Although Bluegill are able to hybridize by breeding with other species, the Coppernose Bluegill is actually a subspecies – a population of fish that live in a specific area and vary in characteristics from the main species. Coppernose Bluegills have a distinct look that differentiates them from their parent species. 

Why is it Called a Coppernose Bluegill?

The name “Coppernose” comes directly from the coloration of this fish, which makes it stand out against the very common Bluegill species. The copper color appears in a vertical band that crosses this fish’s face, and is more prominent in the males of the species. 

What Type of Fish is a Coppernose Bluegill?

Because it’s a subspecies of the Bluegill, the Coppernose is a Sunfish as well as a panfish. Sunfish are known for their hard rayed fins, but can still range drastically in terms of size and shape. Panfish are a category of fish that literally fit pans perfectly. They’ve earned their name due to being easy to fry up in a common pan. 

Like all other Sunfish, the Coppernose Bluegill is a freshwater fish native to North America. 

What Does a Coppernose Bluegill Look Like?

fisherman holding a coppernose bluegill

Unlike the Bluegill, Coppernose fish can be brown, copper, orange and green in color with red-orange or yellow bellies. Their bodies lack the purple-blue of their parent species. However, they have that characteristic copper stripe running down the head of the fish as well as dark vertical bars across the body.

This is considered a fish with a deep, somewhat rounded body; truly pan shaped!

Coppernose Bluegill Habitat

Coppernose are considered a great addition to ponds for anglers who are looking to stock theirs, and they’ll choose ponds as their natural habitats as well but can also be found in lakes and streams. They prefer warmer waters with vegetation and fallen logs or structures nearby. 

Where Can I Find Coppernose Bluegill? 

Coppernose are native in Florida and southeast Georgia, however they’ve been stocked in private ponds throughout North America. These fish thrive in warmer waters and are often found where Largemouth Bass live as well. 

What Do Coppernose Bluegill Eat? 

Like the parent species of Bluegill, Coppernose are opportunistic feeders. They’ll eat whenever prey presents itself. Because of the size of their mouths (small), Coppernose go after smaller prey. They’ll go after insects, worms, crayfish, snails and other fish that are smaller than them. 

How to Catch a Coppernose Bluegill? 

Because of the habitat that Coppernose prefer, finding the right gear will go a long way. Check out ultralight fishing options to give your bait that realistic action when moving through the water. Ultralight jigs are a must-have and will mimic prey perfectly. Consider micro drop shots as well as jigs that will free themselves easily from highly vegetated areas.

Keep in mind that like Bluegill, Coppernose will be most active at dawn and dusk.  

How Big Do Coppernose Bluegill Get?

The average size of a Coppernose Bluegill is anywhere from 6-10 inches. If living in a healthy environment, they can reach 2 lbs with consistent feeding. 

How Fast Do Coppernose Bluegill Grow?

If Coppernose Bluegill can feed consistently, they’ll grow quickly. Over years 1-3 of their life, Coppernose grow quickly; quickest in the first 90 days after hatching. Mature fish (3-8 years old) slow down in growth. 

What is the World Record Coppernose Bluegill Fish?

There is not currently a world record for the Coppernose Bluegill, but fishermen with their own stocked ponds have noted that the Coppernose quickly outgrows other species. These fish reach over 2 lbs quickly and have quite a bit of meat on them. 

For comparison, the world record for Bluegill is held by a fish weighing 4 lb 12 oz. 

What is the Lifespan of a Coppernose Bluegill? 

The average Coppernose lives 5-8 years in the wild. They can begin spawning at one year of age, or sometimes sooner depending on the environment. 

Are Coppernose Bluegill Good to Eat?

Yes, Coppernose Bluegill are good to eat. The parent species, Bluegill, is known for being one of the most delicious fish in the Sunfish family. They lack the “fishy” taste often associated with freshwater species. . 

Do Coppernose Bluegill Reproduce?

Coppernose Bluegill can spawn and reproduce on their own. Spawning usually happens throughout the summer, with water temperature over 60 degrees F (preferably in the 70-78 range). On average, females produce 12,000 eggs per spawning season. 

Spawning season is one of the most popular times to fish for Bluegill. 

Shellcracker vs Coppernose Bluegill

Redear Shellcrackers are often confused with Bluegill or Coppernose Bluegill due to their coloration and physical similarity. However, Shellcrackers are actually larger and have the characteristic red-orange opercular flap that makes them easily identifiable. It also gives them their common name, the Redear. 


Coppernose Bluegill, a subspecies of the Bluegill, is a fish growing quickly in popularity. If you find yourself in the south east or with a stocked pond available, check out this cool fish in person! See if you can pick up on some of their identifying features. We don’t yet know the limitations to this species, which makes them an exciting catch.

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