Bringing Back Big Sunfish: A Conversation with DNR Fisheries Biologist, Dave Weitzel

Jun 27, 2019

DNR Fisheries Biologist Dave Weitzel with a nice Bluegill

Sunfish are plentiful in Minnesota lakes and streams.  They are often the first fish kids enjoy catching because they are eager biters and full of fight.  Many of us caught our first sunnies right off the dock with a worm on a bare hook.

Minnesota anglers harvest around sixteen million sunfish each year - more than walleyes, northern pike, crappies, and bass.

The number of sunfish in MN waters is going up, but the size has been declining for decades.   To reverse this trend DNR fish biologists like Dave Weitzel are encouraging anglers to release sunfish eight inches and bigger, and keep smaller fish.  In this conversation with Dave, we learn what factors have caused the decline in big sunfish and how we might help bring them back.

Read more about it in "The Sunfish Myth", an article in the May-June edition of the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer.