Here, large male bluegill guard their spawning nests on an Iron County lake. (Ziegler photo)
IRON COUNTY— The central and western Upper Peninsula is most well known for trout and walleye fisheries although quality bluegill fisheries are quietly targeted especially by downstate and non-resident anglers.
As walleye fisheries have declined some U.P. anglers have had to find new fisheries and bluegills have picked up more local interest. Bluegill are fished year around with no closed season although some of the most efficient bluegill anglers target them on their beds and into the summer.
Michigan DNR Master Angler Award standards are above what some inland Upper Peninsula species can achieve. This is not the case for bluegill with master angler award sized bluegill entries (over one pound or 10 inches) well represented over the years in Iron and sounding counties in the state records. In the early 1990s, Lake Mary in Iron County had more master angler award bluegills entered for a couple years than any other single lake in the state. Since 1994, 28 Iron County lakes have produced Michigan Master Angler Award bluegills.
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