Spring Spawning Bluegills

March 2, 2018

Let’s give some credit to the little guys. After all, it is usually these small, easy-to-catch and tasty fish that brought us to our love and respect of fishing today. I know I owe that much to the bluegill.

While sometimes we like to overlook common species like this for those larger fish we dream of getting a trophy picture with, there’s really not many other fish that can compare to the bluegill. Catchable at any time of the year, often producing many opportunities, only needing basic tackle while taking a wide variety of baits, not wary and forgiving of less-than-perfect techniques, fun fighters for their small size and exceptional to eat, this makes the bluegill a great way to introduce fishing to youth and beginners. You don’t even need a boat!

Spring Spawning Bluegills Jennifer Pudenz

Bluegills

Abundant in many ponds and lakes, bluegills do not like current. They are closely related to largemouth bass, so where you find one, there’s an excellent chance you’ll find the other. You’ll often find them around the shoreline and structure, such as sticks, stumps or vegetation.

Spawning

Just as the rut makes bucks more aggressive and active providing hunters with better chances to harvest, spawning presents the same behaviors and opportunities to the angler for bluegills. Spring and early summer are the best times to catch bluegills because they congregate in shallow water to spawn, become very aggressive and easier to catch. Spawning peaks when the water temperature is 75 degrees, but you can often determine spawning just by looking into the water from the shore. Bluegills built their nests in shallow water usually 2 to 6 feet deep close to shore, making huge beds of saucer-shaped depressions in sandy or muddy bottoms. You’ll often be able to actually see male bluegills hovering over the nests to guard them.

This is an exciting time. With aggressive males, you can often cast out into these beds, let your bait sink into the nests and slowly retrieve it to find you catch a bluegill nearly every cast! When you feel them bite or pick up the bait, set the hook!

Most of the fish caught from these nests will be males. Males build the nest and protect the eggs against intruders. Females can be caught in nearby deeper water off the spawning beds. Take note of the locations you produce catches for males and females because the areas will be good year to year.

Summer

Some bluegill will spawn a second time early in the summer. Check into this same spawning activity and areas around late May to early June. However, as the season progresses, males will abandon the nests to travel to deeper water and the small bluegill hatched will move away to feed. Summertime bluegills are usually found at depths ranging from 10 to 12 feet along natural structure, such as edges of weed beds, deep coves and humped or flat areas, as well as man-made structures of stake beds, brush shelters, tire reefs and boat docks.

Tackle

For the most success and most fun reeling in these tough fighters, use light line and tackle for bluegill fishing. Many prefer ultra-lite graphite spinning rods and small reels with 2- to 4-pound-test monofilament, though you can literally go as simple as a cane pole and a can of worms. Kids are able to catch bluegill with the small youth rod and reel combos as they learn about fishing.

Bluegills have such small mouths, so when choosing a hook, think of their mouths being about the size of the end of your pinky finger. Since their mouths are so small, you’ll also want a pair of fishing pliers handy in case you need to use them to remove a hook further passed their mouth.

For youth, a small bobber can be a great way for them to fish. Otherwise, a small 1/32-, 1/16- or possibly even a 1/8-oz. jighead with a bait is perfect. While a small piece of worm or a jig tail can work great, I prefer to use 2-1/2-inch Berkley Gulp! Alive! Minnows. I’ve had such great luck with these minnows for both bluegill and largemouth bass, while they are extremely handy to not have to deal with live bait and they last longer. The Berkley Gulp! Alive! Minnows are available in different colors (Emerald Shiner and Smelt are colors I often use) and come in a scented juice. If left on your hook after fishing, they dry out just like a real minnow. Impressive!

Related Products

Berkley Gulp! Alive! Minnows
Berkley Gulp! Alive! Minnows
6 Colors available
(41)
Berkley Gulp! Alive! Minnows provide more attractant and better action than other minnows on the market. They feature a realistic profile and split tail to entice and trigger strikes from panfish and trout. These minnows are packaged in Berkley's "Magic Gravy" that enables you to recharge your baits by putting them back into the jar. With a natural presentation in action, scent, and taste, the Gulp! Alive! Minnows easily replace the real thing for increased durability and longer lasting results....
$5.99 - $9.99
Pautzke Balls O' Fire Salmon Eggs
Pautzke Balls O' Fire Salmon Eggs
9 Styles available
(16)
Pautzke Balls O' Fire Salmon Eggs are the original salmon egg and after more than 75 years, still the best. Pautzke Balls O' Fire Salmon Eggs are the world's most recognized and best selling egg. Hands down, more trout have been caught on Pautzke's than any other egg on the planet. Applicable in any situation, eggs can be fished in moving water or sterile reservoirs. These are user friendly eggs, derived from king and chum salmon. Each bait comes in a jar.
$4.99 - $5.79
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ladies Spinning Combo
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ladies Sp...
2 Models available
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ladies Spinning Combos deliver in all aspects of performance and offer the best value and toughest combos on the market. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ladies Spinning Combos feature reels constructed of a glass filled nylon body and are equipped with 3 ball bearings plus a one-way clutch instant anti-reverse bearing. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ladies spinning reel is the first Shakespeare reel designed specifically for Ugly Stik. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ladies Spinning Com...
$49.99
$39.99
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Combo
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning ...
7 Models available
(1)
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Combos deliver in all aspects of performance and offer the best value and toughest combos on the market. These Ugly Stik GX2 combos feature reels constructed of a glass filled nylon body and are equipped with 2 or 3 ball bearings (depending in reel size) plus a one-way clutch instant anti-reverse bearing. This Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 spinning reel is the first Shakespeare reel designed specifically for Ugly Stik.
$49.99
$39.99
Thill Crappie Cork
Thill Crappie Cork
(2)
The Thill Crappie Corks feature a lateral line, allowing you to detect even the lightest of bites. Suggested lure weights are printed on the Thill Crappie Corks making selection easy. The Thill Crappie Corks feature a small diameter insert that grabs the bobber stop removing the need for a bead. The spring on the bottom stem also allows for fixed float rigging. With the proper amount of weight, the cork floats on the lateral line.
$1.99
Thill Mini Shy Bite Float
Thill Mini Shy Bite Float
(5)
The Thill Mini Shy Bite Float detects the slightest of bites. Matched with a small hook and split shot or a micro jig, this slender float is great for panfish and trout in still waters. We carry the Thill Mini Shy Bite Float in 2", 2 1/2" and 3 1/8" sizes. These floats come 2 per package and include float sleeves for line placement. The Mini Shy Bite features a hi-vis orange/yellow top for easy visibility on the water.
$1.99
Thill Splash Brite Premium Float
Thill Splash Brite Premium Float
(2)
Thill Splash Brite Premium Floats light up when they hit the water and shuts off when they comes out of the water. No buttons, no light sticks, no battery required. Just slip it on and fish. The Splash Brite is built to Thill's premium standards. These floats feature a sealed and contained design with a line friendly grommet and Hi-Vis tops. The Splash Brite offers little resistance and excellent sensitivity - making it a perfect daytime float as well.
$5.99
Comments