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Bluegills are a popular sport fish in many parts of the United States, but some populationsdemonstrate a reduced size structure. Numerous attempts have been made by natural resourceagencies to improve bluegill size structure through management manipulations, but these attemptshave had variable success. Supplemental feeding has been used to improve growth of bluegills insmall impoundments. In May 2019, large bluegills were observed in a hatchery pond at the UnitedStates Fish and Wildlife Service, Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery. These bluegills may havebenefited from pelletized feed that was applied to the pond to provide additional forage for broodstock alligator gar and largemouth bass. The goal of this study is to evaluate the potential forsupplemental feeding to improve growth of bluegills in Oklahoma. Bluegill growth, in both lengthand weight metrics, was superior to growth of bluegills from five quality populations in Oklahoma.These results suggest that supplemental feeding can result in growth of bluegills to large sizes, butfurther research is needed to determine if supplemental feeding can produce similar growth affectsin larger, natural environments.
Applied Ecology & Conservation