Ask most anglers what species of fish they started out learning on, and the answer will probably be bluegill. Most will eventually move on to larger and more challenging species, there is one thing for certain: bluegills will always remain a favorite among fishermen.
The best thing about bluegill fishing is that there will no doubt be plenty of action and you can easily fill your smoker with amazing filets. While a day of catfish or bass fishing might only produce a handful of bites, bluegill fishing can provide an action-packed day no matter your skill level.
Bluegill are easily identifiable by a number of traits, including:
- Dark blue ear flap that covers gill (hence the name)
- Dark olive-green on the back
- Yellow or Orange breasts and bellies
Choosing Bluegill Baits
Bluegill can be caught using any number of baits, lures, and even flies. Some of the best live baits for bluegill include worms, crickets, and grasshoppers that are fished below a small bobber. Because bluegill have really small mouths, a small hook should be used. Ultralight tackle, such as a 2 to 6-pound test line, should also be used.
When targeting bigger and older bluegill, you can also use live bait such as small minnows and leeches. Bigger fish also tend to hold deeper in the water, where they can find bigger specimens of food to feed on.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of using live bait, bluegill is also easily caught using a wide variety of lures and jigs. Things like a crankbait matched to the native baitfish can easily entice a strike from most bluegill. Crankbaits and buzz baits that make noise are also highly effective, as one of the bluegill’s favorite prey species the crayfish, make a lot of noise with their pincers and feet along the rocks.
Where to Find Bluegill
Besides using the right tackle and bait, another important factor in catching bluegill is knowing where to find them depending on the season. Bluegill will use different habitat during different times of the year.
When fishing on larger lakes, bluegill can usually be found from 2 to 8 feet deep in schools along flat banks. They love to nest and hang out on either mud or rock banks next to some cover, such as wood or large rocks.
One of the best things about bluegill fishing is that there are so many different places to catch them, and there is usually somewhere nearby you that can provide plenty of great action. Whether that is a neighborhood pond, a lake, or a creek that runs through town, there is plenty of places to find them.
Bluegill are not only a great species of fish to get started on, but a great species to catch when the action is slow. They eat very well, and if you want to have a great day out on the water, go find your nearest bluegill waters!