Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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Has anyone else seen a bed yet?  I know a lot of you guys are still getting snow and have ice on the water but for those of you in the deeper south- any sightings?  

Pretty sure I found one on 3/9 but I've never seen them bed this early.  Supposed to be 38 here tonight but we've had days touching 80 in the last week.  Need to check water temp for reference but haven't yet.  I'm sure someone out there knows if spawning is a photo response, moon phase response, or water temp response- or some combination.

Please help me understand.  

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Keep in mind that the spawn encompasses several distinct phases. It Isnt just a single mass orgy that comes and goes in a few days. Water temp and to a lesser degree, increasing day length, is the accepted catalyst which initiates the spawn cycle.
Moon phase is generally understood to drive the ACT of spawning itself.

With that said, there is a ton of variability. Small ponds and shallow, south-facing back bay's heat up quicker, for example, and spawning may get started sooner in these. But cold spells and fronts reverse that.
What must interest you is the AVERAGE WATER TEMP.

- 55-65 degree averages will mark the pre-spawn period of heightened activity. This is most likely what you are seeing.
- 67-72 degrees will spark the actual nesting phase.
- Low-Mid 70's around a full moon ought to result in the first spawnings.

I suggest that what you saw was pre-spawn activity: heavy feeding in and around the same shallows that will probably become nest sites later on. Mark them on a map and get you a thermometer so you can start tracking the temps.

McScruff, that makes a lot of sense.  Thank you for the insight.  These fish were definitely in a feeding frenzy and caught all of them in a spot the size of a 3 foot circle.  I have only been bream fishing 4 or 5 times in the last 10 years; until this week and the first two days have given me the FEVER!!  Growing up I went every weekend, then life happened.  Man, it is good to get back into it.  

Thanks again for the info! 

No problem.
I would suggest you investigate the locale around that feeding spot.
Odds are good there is a flat abutting deeper water nearby, where bedding is likely to occur.
Studies indicate bluegill do not travel large distances over the course of their lives. It is impossible to know for certain HOW far, but something between 100 and 700 yards seems to be the norm.
Get to know that area and it may produce thoughout the year.

I know the area well and you are exactly right.  It is a 7 acre pond that I drained and rebuilt in 2012, stocked in 2013, and started fishing 4 days ago.  The area I was fishing was next to a fallen tree in 2' water and it is 50' to water that is 12'.  I was a little late getting the bream stocked (Feb) and added the bass in May.  With a dry fall in 2012, it took longer than expected to get the water up enough to stock the pond. It is totally fed by rain runoff.  I've been feeding purina aqua max since day one but have never seen a fish other than carp or mosquito fish eating at the feeder.  Its at the deepest part of the pond with little cover other than the dock.  Working on a few fish attractant ideas to put out in front of the feeder- thinking that will encourage use by our fat little butter bean friends.  

A concept you may wish to consider is this:

You feed the POND ITSELF, as much as the actual fish in it.

Sure, some will eat directly of the food; the carp are a great example. But you are also nourishing the entire food chain with those pellets. Bluegill forage upon the smallest creatures in the pond - pellets are not their usual selection. They do come around to pellets in time, from what I know.
But, When those tiny critters are supplied and enhanced, bluegill growth must follow.

The next step will be to cull the smaller ones...

The pond was limed last fall, just waiting for the temp to get up enough to add fertilizer.  Thanks for the advice.

Yep. I wasn't aware this was your own pond until the previous post. Sounds like you've got it covered.

you might be seeing last years beds.they will most likely use this same area this year so keep checking.water temp where i live is key,can find spwners from may til august in no illinois but june is usually the main event.most times around the full moon.

For the last two weekends, the surface temperature of my pond in deep South Alabama has been 60 or 61 degrees at noon.

I was not really looking for them but I saw no new beds Saturday.

Ive seen two spots that look cleared - but with the cold spell were having, they're vacant.

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