Fishing for the Mid-West Bluegill – 2016 Big Bluegills

It’s May 21 & 22, the Morel mushrooms are completing their cycle and it’s now time for pulling out the fly rod and catching those incredible tasting bluegills in shallow water.

Three weeks ago we were down in Florida catching the Big Daddy of the Bluegills, the Shellcracker and now we are up near Duluth Mn catching the Midwest Bluegill on the Fly Rod.

Bluegill Spawning Season For 2016 Has Started

My wife, youngest son and a new member to fishing joined me up near Duluth Minnesota this past weekend to see if we could find the bluegills in shallow water feeding or hopefully bedding (spawning).

With the Spring Season being so cold this year and seeing snow flurries last week I figure the spawning season would be pushed back a few weeks. So while my wife stayed at the cabin to get some work done, myself, the newcomer (Eric), and my youngest son went to see if we could find the gills.

In our search we first checked the shallow muck bays for the spawning beds, since these areas in the lake warm up first and any sand & gravel mix might have early spawning beds on them. However we found no spawning beds so we turned our focused on the shallow feeding areas were the big male Bluegills would most likely be staged up. In less than 30 min we found the large gills in a small bay feeding in less than three feet of water.

Where To Find The Bluegills During The Spawning Cycle

If you enjoy catching Bluegills then it’s time to get out of the deep water and off the drop-offs, focusing on the shallow feeding and bedding areas. These areas are found in water depths of 3 feet to a few inches near the shoreline. Start by checking out bays where the water temps rise faster, then in pockets between lily pads, and don’t pass up on those pencil reeds. If you do not find the spawning beds use your fly rod and work down the shoreline looking for feeding areas. Why, because by mid-May the Bluegills are staged just off the shallows waiting for the right temperatures to begin making those beds and they are hungry & aggressive. Here is what we found this past weekend (May 21 & 22).

The Bluegill Catch

By the time we got the dock and boat in the water on Saturday it was 1 pm, sun shining, and the temperature was near 80 degrees. We first cruised the shoreline in search of the Bluegill beds, but could not find any. Next I took the Fly Rod and worked the shoreline as my son controlled the boat, after approximately 30 mins we found the large Bluegills in one of the small bays, feeding. The spot we found was approximately ten feet wide, four feet from the shoreline, and extended only three feet out from there. The depth of water was three feet with a mucky-gravel bottom. The action was great and the Gills ran up to 9 inches.

Sunday the next morning, I was short on time as I had to catch a flight back to South Carolina for work. Knowing I would not get the two young men up early (6:30 am), I asked my wife who loves to Fly Fish if she wanted to go, absolutely! Knowing that Saturday was a nice warm day I took her back to the bays looking for any signs of spawning beds and the first spot we checked the Bluegills were working away. Now they were not the nine inch gills, but 7 inch gills taste just as good and the action was great. We got in a good two hours of Fly Fishing before we had to pack up and head for the airport.

The Spring Bluegill – Best Method & Bait To Use

There is no doubt that the best method for catching Bluegills and having fun is with a Fly Rod and a Dry Fly. You will also find in the early Spring the Bluegills will not take a bobber and worm like they do a fly/spider. I have had fishermen pull up right next to me and try catching what I was rapidly pulling in with a fly rod, offer them a dry fly to tie behind their bobber, which they typically refuse and watch them leave frustrated.

What made our fishing trip even more satisfying this weekend is that we were catching fish on the Fly Rods and dry flies (Spiders) that I have made. The spider colors we were using are; brown, purple, and green with either white rubber or rainbow flashabou legs. Check out my articles on making your own Dry Flies (Spiders) it’s easy, fun and a lot cheaper.