by Minnesota DNR

Feeling that tug on the line, an angler sets the hook and reels in a small sunfish, then asks the perennial question: Should I keep it?

Sunfish, also known as bluegills and pumpkinseeds, are a go-to species for anglers looking for a meal and many anglers may be surprised to know they’re actually encouraged to keep small ones up to the limit set by the Department of Natural Resources. These fish are nutritious and safe to eat regularly, according to consumption guidelines from the Department of Health.

“We encourage anglers to keep sunfish under 7 inches and consider releasing the ones 9 inches or larger,” said Jon Hansen, fisheries management consultant.

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