Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) was designated as the official state fish of Illinois in 1986 (selected by the school children of the state). A member of the sunfish family, bluegill are found throughout Illinois. Bluegills can be recognized by their stripy olive to yellow colors and the distinctive black spot behind its gills.
These fish are most abundant in clear lakes with lush aquatic vegetation, but bluegills can also be found in a variety of other habitats such as ponds and swamps. A carnivorous fish, bluegills eat primarily aquatic insects and larvae, supplemented by smaller fish, crayfish, snails, and algae. Bluegills grow to about nine inches in length and weigh about twelve ounces.