Talk to most anglers in Indiana
and it quickly becomes obvious that bluegill fishing is near and dear to most
As one of the areas most sought after panfish, the
bluegill has fishermen making regular weekend trips to places such as the strip
pits near Linton, West Boggs Lake, Dogwood Lake,
and Patoka in search of their sweet filets.
The same goes for bluegill anglers everywhere -- people love to catch AND
The bluegill, for some reason, is usually thought of as an easy fish to
catch, due in large parts to its abundance. There are times, however, when slab
'gills are anything but easy, thus sometimes duping anglers looking for a mess
of fish. While there numbers are plentiful in many area lakes and reservoirs,
and they can spawn multiple times a summer, there are still times when some
techniques will far outperform others -- and times when certain techniques can
yield a strike-out.
I remember one fishing trip in particular years ago when a change in
technique made all the difference. A friend and I were fishing a small farm
pond and we hadn't boated a fish in a couple of hours,
and we only had a few bites at all. The lack of action had made me lazy and I
simply kept watching my bobber. My friend decided to start jigging his bobber,
continuously lightly popping it back towards the boat. Almost immediately he
began getting strikes. It didn't take long before I began employing his
technique. As long as we kept the bait in constant motion by popping it back
towards the boat, we consistently caught fish, but if we let the bait sit, the
action would quickly halt.
It is also common for most of us to instinctively fish shallow when
searching for bluegills. It is easy to feel that way when you see the males
circling the nests near the shoreline, but during the pre- and post-spawn
periods, the large females may be found in deeper water, from say 6- to 10 or
even in 12 feet of water. During the pre-spawn, it may be wise to release
the majority of the females so they can lay their eggs. Before the spawn even
starts (before the males even start fanning nests), try
deeper areas of water where the fish may be staging until the water temperature
gets just right for nest building.
Sometimes baits and lures can also make a difference. I have seen times when
certain jigs or spinners outperformed others, or even when certain live baits
put more fish in the basket than others. For this reason, consider switching it
up a little if the action is slow.
Time of day can also be critical. While bluegills can be active all day
long, peak times are usually midmorning and early evenings. I have noticed that
once it gets dark, the bluegill bite stops.
Also, if you have been on fish when the action comes to a sudden stop, it is
likely that a predator such as a catfish or a largemouth bass has moved into
the area. Be patient, in my experience the action will return in half an hour
or so. If it doesn't, then try somewhere else for awhile.
Remember, even with what most people see as the least finicky fish,
bluegills will tell you what they want if you pay attention.
different presentations, retrieves, depths, and areas will yield more fish.
Sure, often times simply tossing a worm or cricket in the right places will
yield enough 'gills to keep you happy, but when the fish are fickle, mix things
up until the fish let you know what will work that day.
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